Skiing can produce copious amounts of wear and tear on one’s body, especially for members of the University of Utah ski team since they are often competing on the road. The Utes’ season starts at the beginning of January and goes until March when the NCAA Skiing Championships take place. The squad’s journey for races includes trips to Alaska, Montana, New Mexico and Colorado.
The team differs from other winter collegiate sports because it relies on weather conditions to compete, whereas basketball and gymnastics are confined to the indoors. Skiing often requires traveling across the country just to find the right snow to train in. An unusual Utah winter this season has forced Utah to travel to places like Montana for better conditions.
An average week of training for the Utes consists of practicing five days a week for at least two hours, and that’s on top of attending class, studying and traveling. While it seems like it could take a toll, the team actually enjoys this sort of hectic schedule.
Senior alpine skier Ann-Kathrin Breuning loves having the opportunity to travel with her teammates. With how often the team commutes to the moutains for practice, she believes the team has created a family-like bond. Breuning has positively adjusted to the rigorous travel schedule by doing school work on her computer or by reading a book.
“I’ve always been good with keeping up with my grades,” Breuning said. “Being away, you have to do a lot more by yourself. When on the road, I study a lot which is really nice to pass the time.”
It’s not often the Utes have an opportunity to get time to themselves to decompress. After each series of competition, they only have one day off to rest, and then it’s back to training.
It can be a challenge to adjust to a new environment if an athlete is living away from home. Even more so if they are from another country. Freshman alpine skier Huston Philp has easily been able to find a balance between his travel and academic schedule in his first year at the U.
“I’m from Canada and the collegiate series, in general, is pretty welcoming I find,” Philip said. “There’s a good team environment and I really enjoy it. All the coaches and staff have done a really good job of cooperating and making us feel like we’re all one unit.”
For Philp, the support of the coaching staff has helped him feel comfortable with the mental and physical aspects of traveling and keeping his body healthy throughout the season.
“Our physical trainers set plans for us, whether it’s diet or workout related, making sure that we’re on track,” Philp said. “During the season, we get treatments and maintain our physical shape. The coaches are really supportive and encouraging in talking to our teachers, so that plays a huge role in how we do in school.”