Mines Club Ski team took third at Winter Park last weekend, coming in behind University of Utah and CU Boulder. Mac Bailey, their top finisher, took fifth in the slalom race on Saturday, Jan 14, and fourth in the giant slalom. For those unfamiliar with alpine skiing terms, Captain Brian Coleman has an explanation.
“Slalom is just single poles and smaller turns. With giant slalom, you have larger turns, you go a little faster, and that’s when you have the gates with the flags,” Coleman said. “In slalom you go about thirty, thirty-five miles an hour top speed. In giant slalom you get up to fifty, fifty-five miles per hour depending on the course and the conditions and just how you’re skiing that day.”
The finish is especially impressive when you consider how difficult the sport is to practice.
“In order to train your own course, you have to reserve space on the mountain, which in the first place costs money, and you also need to set a course so you need to either have a coach that does it for you or do it yourself,” Coleman explained.
“We do training at Winter Park so we try and do two to three weekends of training before our first race to try and get used to skiing through a course and making race turns, as opposed to free ski turns.”
The team spends a lot of time together traveling to competitions and practices, but Daniel Scarbrough mentioned it is not a hardship.
“[My favorite thing is] all the people. This is my first season and I’ve only skied a year and they’re all super supportive and they’ve helped me learn things,” Scarbrough explained.
“We have a pretty good variety of abilities and experience. Some of our top racers have been racing since middle school or earlier. We also have people who have never skied before but they’ve done free skiing their whole lives. With those people we try to introduce them to the different techniques and different types of turns you do in ski racing,” Coleman added.
In addition to their own teammates, ski team members make a lot of friends from other schools.
“It’s a really great social experience getting to meet people at the races because not only do you get to meet people on our team, you get to meet people on other teams from other colleges and you really get to build up a good group of people that you share common interests with,” Coleman said. “You know everyone at those races loves skiing and loves the sport in general. It’s really great to meet all those people.”
Another great part about the team? Getting to visit places all over Colorado. The team travels to Winter Park, Ski Cooper, Telluride, and Powderhorn.
“We get to see really beautiful places, especially Telluride,” Coleman shared. “It definitely gives a really nice break from school work here at Mines and lets you relax and enjoy yourself over the weekend.”
“Coming back from Telluride last year we got stuck at Eisenhower. It makes for an adventure sometimes,” Coleman added.
Looking forward, if the team keeps racing well, they could have a chance to compete at nationals. The team qualified two years ago and was one spot away from qualifying last year.
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