While most of us are sound asleep in our cozy beds, members of the Castleton ski team are wide awake, preparing for a heavy day of training.Team members leave the college at about 7:30 a.m. on most days, riding 40 minutes either to Okemo in Ludlow or to West Mountain in Queensbury, N.Y. and preparing for the frigid early morning air atop the mountain.
Then, team members spend half an hour drilling holes and placing gates to make a course, ski the course six or seven times each, undo the course, and return home for classes.
For most of us, this sounds like torture. These skiers, though, know that this routine leads to success.
Many of us might believe that ski racers don’t have to work hard to be successful. Not the case, according to Heather Patterson.
“We work our butts off in the freezing cold weather, no matter what,” said Patterson, a sophomore. “We are out there working hard, carrying heavy bundles of gates and fencing, all to make sure the races go smoothly.”
Trust Heather. She knows about success.
Heather was a member of the undefeated 2007 ski team. This year, her women’s team is currently in second place in its new division only behind rival Boston University.
After winning the men’s and women’s McBrine Division championships in 2006 and 2007, the Spartans decided to change it up and move to the slightly more competitive Thompson Division.
While the Thompson Division has given the Spartans more of a battle than the McBrine Division did, the Spartan men are nonetheless ranked in first place and the Spartan ladies are second.
In eight ECSC Thompson Division races, the men’s team has won every race but one, when they finished second. The women’s team has won three races and placed no worse than third in the others.
Both the men and the women clinched a birth in the USCSA Eastern Regional Championships with their efforts last weekend.
Standout skiers include sophomore Brenna Nolan, sophomore Gregory Towle, and freshman William Colt.
“[The team] definitely has met my expectations,” said head coach, Chris Eder. “I wouldn’t say that they’ve exceeded them because I knew that we were going to be pretty good.”
Although Eder’s team dominated the McBrine Division, he knew not to expect the same results this year because of the stiffer competition from the likes of Boston University and Northeastern University.
When asked to predict the future for the Spartan ski team this year, Eder didn’t hold back at all.
“The post season is definitely in the future,” he said.