Northwestern ski team faces winter weather problems

Kelly Hwu

While January’s warm weather was welcomed by many students, the Northwestern University Ski Team has been forced to cancel practices as a result of unusual weather affecting the Midwest this winter. Since Winter Quarter began, Evanston has gotten very little snow compared to previous years.

The team, which includes 67 skiers and snowboarders, had to cancel both practices scheduled to be held at Wilmot Mountain this week because the Wisconsin ski resort was not getting snow due to warm temperatures.

Matthew Dolph, president of the NU Ski Team, said the unseasonably warm weather has had negative effects on the team’s ability to prepare.

“At the moment, it’s tough,” the Weinberg senior said. “We never really thought about what to do because this has never happened.”

Ski Team’s season spans five weeks starting the third week of the Winter Quarter and involves competitions in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. However, the team was unable to use University buses to travel to itsfirst competition of the season because of the Jan. 19 snowstorm that brought seven inches of snow to Evanston. Dolph said the team instead had to use private transportation to send 12 members to the competition.

The team has missed multiple practices because of weather conflicts. Dolph said they had to continue with their normal routine, but will probably end the season later than usual to make up for missed training.

During the season, the team practices on the mountains, but in the off-seasons, it hasdry land practices to work on technique and strength training. Weinberg sophomore Katherine Barnes said the team uses gym practices when players cannot get experience in the mountains.

Barnes, a skier on the team, said the lack of mountain practices has taken a toll on the team.

“I think because it hasn’t snowed as much, newcomers are especially affected,” she said.

Weinberg freshman and snowboarder Erica Haybron joined the team this school year. She said freshmen are missing opportunities but will utilize any practice opportunities even more given the circumstances.

Recreational snowboarders have also been affected by the abnormal winter weather this year.

Medill junior Zachary Wichter is not on NU’s ski team, but he has been snowboarding for 13 years.

“I went to Gore Mountain this winter and there was a little bit of a snowstorm, but it was mostly man-made snow,” Wichter said.

Wichter, originally from New York, said he has grown accustomed to unpredictable weather.

“The East Coast conditions are really inconsistent,” he said. “But I grew up snowboarding in these conditions so I’m used to it.”

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