As part of a local effort to promote alpine skiing at the university level, Carleton formed its first competitive alpine ski team.
The team is made up of five students as part of a joint program with students from the University of Ottawa and the Université du Québec in Gatineau.
“As a new team we want to be able to put ourselves in a position to push for the championship, for the banner in about three to four years,” said Nick Paynter, first-year communications student and alpine skier.
Hannah Schmidt, team captain, helped start the team this year along with coach Gabriel Bouffard, .
“I wanted to continue skiing through school and other than going to the states on a scholarship there wasn’t really anything in Ottawa,” Schmidt said, who has been skiing for seven years.
“I think most of the team has skied before . . . and like me they wanted to continue skiing while they were in school, and it provided a good opportunity.”
Carleton Athletics and the Carleton University Students’ Association partnered together to sponsor competitive clubs each school year and recognized alpine skiing for the first time this year.
According to Jennifer Brenning, Director of Athletics, competitive sports clubs receive a grant ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 each year depending on the group.
“It provides a real social aspect for our students on campus to meet other students that are competing in sports they are interested in,” Brenning said.
Alpine skiing has applied in previous years, but this year was the first time where met the criteria surrounding student leadership, budget, participation, and risk management.
“I think it is very important. It provides more competitive sport opportunities for our students,” Brenning said. “It fosters participation and healthy living.”
Schmidt said they have been doing a lot of fundraising on top of any money they receive, including a wine and cheese fundraiser in the fall, adding it can be a lot of money out of their own pockets.
Schmidt said her goal is to be able to help grow the team and to personally “be able to maintain skiing and school together.”
The first university races occurred Jan. 16 and 17 with teams from Carleton, Concordia, Laval, McGill, and Montréal.
Schmidt finished fourth in her race on Jan. 16. and third on Jan. 17.
Schmidt has seen the podium before at different races going into the university season, coming in second in her first race of the season in early December.