Solid arguments have been made to help answer the question of whether to attend an East Coast or West Coast school with a NCAA team ( http://www.fasterskier.com/racing.php?id=1210 ), but there are of course other factors to consider. Such as, what happens when a school you have your eyes on doesn’t have an NCAA team? Are you out of luck? Relegated to get your skinny-ski fix by going on weekend trips with gator and fishscale sporting members of the college outing club? Are you doomed to have to leave the excitement, fun, and challenge of racing with a school team forever? Never fear, USCSA is here! The United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association is like the sister of NCAA competition, allowing students from currently 250 schools nationwide to continue to, or even begin Nordic ski racing.
the Cornell team that went to the 2004 Nationals at Sugarloaf, ME
The diversity of talent and team dynamics creates a unique competition environment every weekend. This does not mean that the competition is lacking, there are plenty of dedicated skiers who have trained all yearlong spurting between breaths, â€œgasp, nice job, gaspâ€ to the skiers wobbling through his or her first 10k race. Just as some teams operate as clubs and others as varsity teams, some athletes have proven they have the strength and talent to rank impressively in NCAA races.
I appreciate USCSA so much that I applied to be the female Nordic student-athlete representative. In this position I attended the board of directors meeting and saw first hand how much the organization emphasizes the student athlete needs and concerns in every decision. The student-athlete representatives’ votes were equal to that of the executive board members, and 99% of the USCSA positions are held by volunteers interested in insuring opportunities for collegiate Alpine, Nordic and Snowboarding competition.
If any school you are considering doesn’t have an NCAA team, don’t despair, and don’t rule it out. You can go to www.uscsa.com to find a list of schools that have USCSA teams, as well as instructions on how you can start a team at your school. So wherever you are, or wherever you end up, don’t give up on racing in college.