By Izzy Kannegieser
Being a member of the ski team here at Midd has been one of my best experiences in college so far, and it means so much to me beyond just alpine skiing. The team has been my family at Middlebury since day one, and I can say honestly I’ve never been a part of a closer, more tightly knit group of people. I still remember meeting some of the kids on the team during our summer training camp last year in Mt. Hood. I was an incoming freshman and really nervous to be meeting the team for the first time, and so of course I was expecting it to be really awkward. I was so surprised when people on the team I had never even met before were giving me big hugs and welcoming me to Middlebury, like we were great friends and they’d known me for years. Pretty early on I realized that being apart of this team meant way more than just skiing fast, it also meant being supportive of and committed to my teammates.
Training on the hill is intense but fun. The guys and girls almost always train together, and we’ll usually take one or two warm-up runs before taking five or six runs in the course. We’re all very hardworking and motivated, which really ups the intensity during training and keeps everyone focused and pushing hard to make every run count. We’re also super supportive of one another and aren’t afraid to give each other advice on the hill or during a video session. The level of commitment from our coaches Stever and Abby is pretty unreal- they’re out there with us everyday: setting our courses, fixing gates, taking video, giving us feedback both on the hill and in video sessions. The doors to their offices are always open, and sometimes I’ll just go in to hang out or talk about something completely non-skiing related, or if I’m stressed about something they’ll listen and help me out. They’re great on the hill as coaches but honestly I think they’re just as awesome off the hill as people I can trust with anything.
As a team we do so much more than just train at the Snow Bowl. Besides working out weekday afternoons in the offseason together, we also eat lots of meals together, dominate the intermural soccer and hockey circuits on campus, partake in some pretty intense paintball games, play a little too much volleyball, have sweet bonfires and cookouts, and occasionally struggle through the late-night study sesh in the library together. My teammates are also some of my closest friends at Middlebury; they are people that I can count on and I know will have my back when I need them, and I feel lucky every day that I get to be apart of something so special.