The Castleton women’s and men’s alpine ski teams are in desperate need of people to sleep with a spoon under their pillow and turn their PJ’s inside out. Lack of snow is currently keeping the team off the mountain, and eagerly awaiting that fresh powder all skiers crave.
Veteran coach of 13 years, Chris Eder has set the goals high for these two nationally ranked teams. Holding the team’s competitive edge that they’ve maintained over the past few seasons is the biggest goal according to Eder
Both teams successfully made it to the USCSA championship, with the men’s team taking the podium two years running.
“In the past we wanted to just make it there, and now we want to go there and make an impact,” Eder said confidently.
Life long skiers and captains of the Women’s team, Lisa Davis, and Simona Croccolo share the same goal for the season. To earn a top three position in every regular season race.
“I think we have a really strong team this year, I’m so excited!” Davis said.
Brown University, Babson College, and Clarkson University pose the most threat to the girls, and may get in the way of the women having the successful season they anticipate.
Captain of the men’s team and well-seasoned alpine skier, Matt Couture said his personal goals for the season are to win the division and skier of the year, after claiming both those titles last season.
As for the men’s team as a whole, Couture wants to see his boys step back up on the podium at nationals, much like they’ve done in the past.
With help from senior racers Tyler Smith and Gordon Mason, stepping onto the podium yet again shouldn’t be difficult. Both Smith and Mason are very valuable members of the men’s team and are also USCSA national champions.
Much like the women, Babson, and Clarkson, along with UConn, and UMass are the men’s strong competition.
Unlike Castleton, other Division I schools in the conference are allowed to grant athletic scholarships to their athletes, making it difficult to draw in top racers. However, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem for both teams.
“I am very passionate about skiing, I’ve been racing since I was 6, at this point it’s more part of my life than anything else,” Couture said.
Unlike most coaches, Eder enjoys the competition those other teams bring to the slopes.
“That’s the good thing about our conference, it would be super boring if we were going in and winning every race,” Eder expressed.
In USCSA standards, Castleton competes in the toughest division in the country.
Dale Solotruck, now into his 8th year at Castleton, works alongside Eder with the team. The two work very well together, balancing each other out by bringing different coaching aspects to the team.
“When it comes down to coaching, Dale deserves a lot of credit,” explained Eder.
Formerly the assistant coach, Solotruck now goes by co-coach. Eder strongly felt Solotruck went above and beyond the standards of an assistant coach, along with the fact that they are equals.
“I couldn’t ask for a better co-coach,” gleamed Eder.
With so much talent on the team, difficult decisions have to be made.
“It’s tough because with our sport, we can only race 10 men and 10 women unfortunately. We have way more than 10 men and 10 women on the team, I’m constantly thinking of a way to get everyone involved,” Eder said.