During Michigan’s winter months, while some people choose to stay indoors, a group of BHS students chooses to spend their time outside making the most out of the snowy season. Starting as of Jan. 7, the BHS Boys and Girls’ Ski have been in full swing.
This year there are 30 male and female high school students participating in the Ski Team. The Boys Varsity Captains include Ian Swanson, Luke Vaden, and Andrew Myers. The Girls Varsity Captains include Maddie Carrico, Tori Vaughan, and Ellie Swanson. Coaches include Assistant Coaches Phil Lundy, Jeremy Carrico, Jeff Street and Smitty.
With Michigan’s unpredictable weather, it is not uncommon on the morning of practice or ski competitions for them to be canceled.
“There is definitely a difference between manmade and natural snow,” said Assistant Coach Phil Lundy. Lundy has been coaching the ski team for fifteen years. He said that manmade snow when it is first created is sticky and tends to be hard for skiers to completely control their path down the course. However, it is better than canceling the race completely.
There are multiple components of how a race runs.
Each person skis individually down the first course, one on the girl’s team and one on the boy’s team. When finished, they switch courses and take a second run. The total time for each racer is added together to get a total and that total determines finishing order for boys or girls.
The normal racing is festival-style where all teams run against each other for total points. For example, the top four finishing BHS Varsity racer’s scores are added together for the BHS team score. The scores are sequential 1 to 70, or as many racers there are.
Varsity and JV racers have their own sets of festival races each competition day. The top six are considered Varsity and placed in that race division. The ski team must have 4 scoring racers to have a valid score. Team scores determine the finishing order of the school.
There is also a secondary race where one team (school) races against each other. This rotates weekly.
Having a valid score not losing a ski, passing a gate incorrectly or missing a gate completely. This is called a DNF or Did Not Finish. Racers are able to continue racing after falling if they still complete the course, most often by hiking back to complete a correct turn around a gate.
The end goal for each team is to compete at KLAAs, SEMSL Championships, and MHSAA Finals.
Senior Kat Reichkendler joined the Ski Team this year and is excited for the season ahead. “It was very nerve-racking because everyone seemed so good and everyone was so confident in themselves,” said Reichkendler. She, along with the other members, is hoping to reach states at the end of the season.
Many members have put a lot of time and dedication into the sport. Senior Captain Ian Swanson said he had been skiing since he could stand. In addition, Jacob Cook has been a part of a ski team since fifth grade. Both commented that being on the ski team was an enjoyable experience and a chance to be with friends.
Before joining, it is important to recognize ski equipment expenses.
Some components of a skier’s tool kit are a helmet, shin guards, arm guards, speed suits, ski boots, skis (one to two pairs), racing boots, a season pass to Mt. Brighton and the price to join the school’s team ($200). Senior Jackie Schulte, a previous ski team member, said the reasons she chose to quit were because of the costs adding up.
For some items, they need to be updated every year or two years. In addition, students are not provided a bus to transport them between Mt. Brighton or other areas.
Head Coach Jeff Street said team members may look to purchase used gear through Facebook or other sites to have something more cost-effective, but some items are better to be bought brand new.
The first race of the season was Thursday, Jan. 9 with another race on Tuesday, Jan. 14. With differing conditions, the teams used different courses. As the season passes, better conditions, like more snow, will help the team in the practices and competitions.
Practice and competitions occur on Mt. Brighton, with practice on Mondays and Wednesdays and races on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Meets start at 4:55 pm and last about three hours.
While juggling schoolwork and other components, BHS Ski Team members continue to be dedicated to racing the slopes.
Cook said, “It’s like a second home.”