2017 marked a hard-fought and successful season for the men’s and women’s alpine ski teams. On the men’s side, Michael Cooper ‘19 became the first Bates male alpine ski racer to receive an NCAA Championship invitation. Sierra Ryder ‘18 ranked 23rd on the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) carnival circuit and just barely missed an invitation to NCAAs.

Although seniors such as Kelsey Chenoweth ‘17, who qualified for NCAAs, graduated last year, Copper and Ryder, along with women’s members Hannah Johnson ‘18 and Brielle Antonelli ‘18, all captains of this year’s team, are very excited about the young talent that has joined their 2018 roster.

“As the only captain on the men’s team, I think the main goal for me is simply to encourage and push my teammates to ski faster this year,” says Cooper. “Even in the short few months we’ve had on snow, there’s already huge improvements from all of the first-years. I think every single guy on our team has the potential to achieve a lot this season and I’m looking forward to watching them do it.”

On the woman’s side, Johnson comments, “My goal as captain is to create an environment that is both competitive and inclusive at the same time. The ski team is sometimes referred to as almost a ‘cult’ on campus, but I believe that the fact that we are able to spend so much time together fosters cohesiveness and a sense of community.”

The Colby Carnival at Sugarloaf on January 20 and 21 will be the start of a new era for Bates’ alpine ski team as 8 first-years add depth and volume to the teams’ rosters.

“This season, I foresee great things for both the men and women skiers. Fellow Senior Hannah Johnson and I are eager to climb the results lists in Slalom and GS, and we have some other great skiers to watch out for as well including Hannah West ‘21, Griffin Mueller ‘20, and Sommer Glasgow ‘21,” Ryder says. “On the men’s side, we have returning junior Michael Cooper who has done well this season already, and we also have Tagert Mueller ‘20 who I think will have a really good season as well. In the preseason races, both teams have been doing so well, and it has been really fun as a senior to be a part of the strongest team I think we have ever had in my time on both gender sides.”

There are a total of 11 men skiers, 5 of whom are first years, whose names are: Sasha Cadariu, Joe Gillis, Matthew Hanus, Maximilian Schneider, and Calvin Wilson. The women’s team consists of 10 skiers, 3 of whom are first-years. The first-year skiers include: Sommer Glasgow, Amelia Kaplan, and Hannah West.

“My expectations for the team are high this season. We have a great combination of returners and first years skiers that should make for a competitive team during the upcoming university races. I am looking forward to the upcoming carnival races, and I hope to able to contribute in any way possible,” says Gillis, one of the five male first-years.

“I have been watching our team evolve into a stronger team every year, and I am confident that it will keep building,” Ryder adds.

Bates’ DI alpine ski teams have a very intensive schedule and race against schools such as Dartmouth, Middlebury, UNH, Colby, and Williams, among others. Practices vary for each person depending on their class schedule. Classes are usually scheduled either all in the morning or all in the afternoon so that the skiers can go up to Sunday River to train for what ends up being approximately a 5-hour session. When competitions start, the team departs campus Thursday morning or afternoon, travel to the various carnivals, race Friday/Saturday, and then return back to campus Saturday evening.

Ryder skis every morning at Sunday River and returns for classes in the afternoon. “Our vans leave promptly at 7:30 AM in time to be on the chair at 9:00 AM. We ski until 11:15 AM or so. We are so lucky to have an awesome training venue, because we get really good training lanes and great conditions the majority of the time,” Ryder says.

Given the intensity and dedication required of this schedule, it is not a surprise that NCAA’s are on the radar of every captain and team member. The carnival season ends with NCAA East Regionals February 23-24 at the Middlebury Carnival. The NCAA Championship will take place March 7-10 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

“NCAA’s is undoubtedly the biggest event of the racing season, and I know it is the goal of many of us on the team. I would say that my personal goals for the team are to be even more competitive on the circuit than years past,” Johnson says. “This year, we have a lot of depth to our team, and since individual and team scores both count on the carnival circuit, there is no doubt in my mind that we, as a team, can be right there at the top with some of the best schools in EISA.”

“We support one another and encourage each other to keep training hard,” Cooper explains. “This team dynamic makes me incredibly excited for the college season to start, and I’m really looking forward to what our team can accomplish!”