Throughout the summer, DartmouthSports.com will be focusing on members of the Class of 2018 who are currently in their “Sophomore Summers.”
So what does a skier do during the summer to train for the competitive season?
Ideal summer on-snow training for ski racers involves a lot of travel, as snow is only found on glaciers or snowfields in the northern hemisphere’s summer, or mountains in the southern hemisphere’s winter. National Teams spend at least eight weeks on snow between the end of the competition season and the beginning of the following year (October/November). This summer, for the second consecutive off-season, I traveled as part of the US Ski Team’s National University Team, a program designed to help American collegiate racers to advance to the highest level post-graduation. I was slightly limited to start the summer due to an April shoulder surgery (anterior and posterior labrum and capsule repair), so I began my on-snow summer training in July in Zermatt, Switzerland for a two-week drills camp (as my surgeon requested a slow and safe return to snow). Then, starting in August, we had a five-week camp at various venues in New Zealand training slalom and giant slalom.
Off snow, training includes various strength, plyometric, core, and muscle endurance work as well as aerobic and lactate threshold work on a bike. In addition, shoulder strengthening and stretching was necessary every day in order to recover as soon as possible.
I would imagine you are used to the New England summers, coming from Topsfield, Massachusetts. What did you do in the area while between training sessions?
In the early summer and between training camps, I spent my time focusing on shoulder rehab and fitness both at home and sometimes up at school. I enjoy New England summers, and they are great for biking and spending time on the water.
You put together an impressive sophomore season on the slopes. Is there anything you could point to as to how you elevated your performances last winter?
As a team, we had a lot of guys that were skiing fast and pushed each other to bring up the level of the whole group. Our coach, Peter Dodge, kept us grounded and encouraged us to stay focused and ski within our abilities down the stretch and into NCAA Championships.
Do you have a preference between the slalom and giant slalom, or perhaps you feel you are stronger in one than the other?
When I raced with the US Ski before attending Dartmouth, I focused mostly on the speed disciplines (downhill and super-g) and giant slalom. I didn’t have my most consistent season in giant slalom last year, but I will focus on getting that back leading into the season. I entered Dartmouth with neither recent experience nor good rankings in slalom, but a heavy volume of slalom training in the last years led to a small breakthrough. I look to keep improving and gaining more experience leading into the 2016-17 season. I enjoy both disciplines, and my favorite could probably vary depending on the day.
Do you have any pre-race routines (some may call them superstitions) that you simply cannot deviate from?
I like to get a good feeling freeskiing before a race and run through the course at least four or five times in my head before I kick out of the gate.
Why Dartmouth instead of another strong academic school with a nationally competitive ski team?
Dartmouth has a rich history of ski racing going back to the early 1900s and I received great reviews about the program from former racers. I always desired a strong academic program to go along with the ski team. The D plan enables training volume during Winterim and racing during spring break. Dartmouth is consistently towards the top of the country at NCAA Championships and is probably at the top academic school of those that are competitive. Last year, we were the top school from the East at NCAA championships.
Name one warm-weather activity you enjoy, perhaps even more than skiing.
I have always enjoyed playing many sports in the offseason, including baseball, football, and basketball.
Hot chocolate or coffee?
I am not a coffee guy yet, we’ll see if that continues.
What, if any, skiing aspirations do you have beyond Dartmouth?
I hope to continue to work hard to improve throughout my collegiate career and hopefully ascend to higher levels of the US Ski Team and someday the Olympics.