FanPost

What is the UB Ski Team ?

USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps it is best to begin with what it is not.

It is not Schussmeisters.
"Schussmeisters Ski Club is a student run not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing inexpensive skiing to the University at Buffalo community, as well as all college students in the Buffalo community."

It is not part of the NCAA.
Although this is a national association, when it comes to ski racing, it’s participating universities have split their competitions into two regions. EISA, the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, has 15 representatives including Dartmouth, Plymouth State and Vermont. On the other side of the country the RMISA, the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association, is made up of 9 members including Colorado and Utah. At the end of the season, the best from these two regions clash during National Championships. Unlike sports such as football and basketball where students have hundreds of options for finding athletic scholarships, a ski racer only has two dozen such opportunities. Does this mean that there are fewer skiers than there are basketball, or football, players? Maybe, but just because a handful of scholarships are filled, it does not mean that the competitive spirit fades away. So then, what are the remaining students to do, when they want to challenge themselves at the collegiate level?

This is where the USCSA, the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association, comes into play. The USCSA assures that student athletes of all levels and abilities have access to a quality and exciting venue of competition. Any college in the United States can participate. If a college does not already have a team, the federation can assist in getting one started. In a departure from the typical individual or world cup scoring format in skiing, team performance is emphasized within the USCSA. Teams field five racers with the top three performances of an event being combined for the overall team score. Over 150 colleges from coast to coast race in alpine events each year. In case you hadn’t guessed yet, UB is a member of the USCSA.

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via www.uscsa.com

Competition takes place across three progressive tiers. Conference qualifying events determine the participants at the six USCSA Regional Championships. The Regionals are the last step on the road to the annual U. S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboard Championships, the showcase event in college ski and snowboard competition. The location for these National Championships alternate yearly between resorts on the East coast and West coast. This year, from March 9th through the 15th, they will take place in Lake Placid, New York. Nationals are nice, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

What does a typical regular season look like?
Being a non-revenue club means that there isn’t always much interest in the team. When mid-September rolls around, returning upper class-men begin to take stock of their size. How aggressively do they need to recruit new racers? Fliers are undoubtedly tacked up around campus. In some years it can be difficult to field the 3 spots required for a team time, much less the allowed 5 entries for a given team. All is not lost though, since a Dummy Time (based on a percentage of the overall field’s times) is given to any of the team’s unfilled three positions.

The USCSA’s requirements aren’t the only consideration though, when it comes to team size. It is a club after all, so the University does not provide a coach. Fear not, in the past, Holiday Valley has provided coaches for hire. For a rate, they have offered the use of gates, a trail and the guidance of one of their coaches. So you see, more racers not only provides the team better odds of doing well in a race, it also means a lower average individual cost to participate. Throughout October and November, the club has been known to hold car washes and bake sales, attempting to cover a small portion of their training costs.

During a given year, training has meant staying in Buffalo during the semester break to run gates with the ‘coach’ for a couple weeks. And, since competitions are held on the weekends of January and February, it also might mean driving down to Holiday Valley a couple evenings each week for some night skiing.

Now that you’re on the team, and all trained up, what do the races feels like? Over the years, most of them have been held in the hills just south of Syracuse. The Student Association has been gracious enough to allow the club the use of a van for transportation to events. Then it’s up to the team to drive themselves, and find a hotel relatively near the mountain, and the competition.

Slalom is held on one day of the weekend, and Giant Slalom on the other. Each day, the first run is held in the late morning after all racers have had a chance to inspect the course. And, while the competitors are eating lunch, the course is re-set for the afternoon’s second run. At the end of the day, the individual’s, and team’s, times are added up for their overall placement.

Each week a different team plays ‘host’ for that event. This means that they set the courses, provide the timekeeping, as well as volunteer gatekeepers who spread out throughout the length of the course in order to verify that the competitors go through correctly. On occasion it also means that they hold a house party on Saturday night. Since this is a sport pitting each individual against the mountain, and time (and not another person), it means it is much easier to socialize with the enemy. When compared with football and basketball, I feel that this is what makes ski racing so unique… although a team sport, it is still primarily an individual sport.

Here is a map showing who UB competes against, and where those races are held.

Okay, that's enough background information, you've made it this far. The real question is; "How have the current racers been doing?". The information in the following tables was extracted from the USCSA site. This is as far back as their online service goes. For now anyway. The 'History' section has simply said 'coming soon' for a couple years now, so we may never get a full history in digital format.

2012

USCSA Mideast Conference UB's Team Result Individual -- 1 -- Individual -- 2 -- Individual -- 3 --
Ithaca Invitational, Labrador Mountain
January 21, 2012 - Women - GS 8 Erika Bradley (2) Dummy Time Dummy Time
January 22, 2012 - Women - SL 8 Erika Bradley (2) Dummy Time Dummy Time
U of R Invitational, Bristol Mountain
January 28, 2012 - Women - GS 4 Erika Bradley (12) Monique Mitchell (15) Sarah Baron (16)
January 28, 2012 - Men - GS 7 William Dutcher (15) Chris Driscoll (26) Daniel Die (28)
January 29, 2012 - Men - SL 7 William Dutcher (12) Chris Driscoll (17) Dummy Time
Alfred University Invitational, Swain
February 4, 2012 - Women - GS 4 Erika Bradley (13) Monique Mitchell (14) Sarah Baron (19)
February 4, 2012 - Men - GS 5 William Dutcher (13) Chris Driscoll (25) Joshua Wohlfeld (35)
February 5, 2012 - Women - SL 6 Monique Mitchell (12) Sarah Baron (14) Alexandra Opiel (23)
February 5, 2012 - Men - SL 9 William Dutcher (12) Zack Starke (31) Dummy Time
Cornell Invitational, Greek Peak
February 11, 2012 - Women - GS 3 Monique Mitchell (4) Erika Bradley (6) Sarah Baron (14)
February 11, 2012 - Men - GS 4 William Dutcher (4) Chris Driscoll (14) Daniel Die (20)
February 12, 2012 - Women - SL 4 Erika Bradley (5) Sarah Baron (10) Alexandra Opiel (17)
February 12, 2012 - Men - SL 4 William Dutcher (2) Chris Driscoll (12) Zack Starke (19)

2013

USCSA Mideast Conference UB's Team Result Individual -- 1 -- Individual -- 2 -- Individual -- 3 --
Ithaca Invitational, Labrador Mountain
January 19, 2013 - Women - GS 3 Erika Bradley (4) Kerri Anne McDonough (5) Monique Mitchell (11)
January 19, 2013 - Men - GS 6 Joshua Wohlfeld (17) Daniel Bachman (18) Nick Kreuter (21)
January 20, 2013 - Women - SL 3 Erika Bradley (6) Kerri Anne McDonough (9) Monique Mitchell (10)
January 20, 2013 - Men - SL 6 Nick Kreuter (4) Jason Kunzmann (22) Daniel Die (24)
U of R Invitational, Bristol Mountain
January 26, 2013 - Women - GS 5 Erika Bradley (6) Monique Mitchell (11) Kerri Anne McDonough (16)
January 26, 2013 - Men - GS 7 Jason Kunzmann (24) Joshua Wohlfeld (29) Daniel Bachman (31)
January 27, 2013 - Women - SL 8 Erika Bradley (7) Kerri Anne McDonough (9) Dummy Time
January 27, 2013 - Men - SL 7 Nick Kreuter (4) Zack Starke (26) Dummy Time
Alfred University Invitational, Swain
February 3, 2013 - Women - SL 9 Sarah Baron (16) Dummy Time Dummy Time
February 3, 2013 - Men - SL 6 Jason Kunzmann (26) Joshua Wohlfeld (28) Daniel Bachman (30)
February 2, 2013 - Women - GS 9 Sarah Baron (23) Dummy Time Dummy Time
February 2, 2013 - Men - GS 6 Jason Kunzmann (20) Joshua Wohlfeld (27) Dummy Time
Cornell Invitational, Greek Peak
February 9, 2013 - Women - GS 2 Erika Bradley (7) Monique Mitchell (8) Kerri Anne McDonough (13)
February 9, 2013 - Men - GS 5 Nick Kreuter (9) Daniel Bachman (20) Joshua Wohlfeld (23)
February 10, 2013 - Women - SL 6 Erika Bradley (2) Sarah Baron (15) Dummy Time
February 10, 2013 - Men - SL 4 Nick Kreuter (5) Jason Kunzmann (18) Daniel Die (19)
Syracuse Invitational, Toggenburg Mtn
February 16, 2013 - Women - GS 4 Monique Mitchell (10) Erika Bradley (12) Kerri Anne McDonough (19)
February 16, 2013 - Men - GS 5 Nick Kreuter (3) Jason Kunzmann (18) Zack Starke (24)
February 17, 2013 - Women - SL 4 Erika Bradley (9) Kerri Anne McDonough (11) Monique Mitchell (17)
February 17, 2013 - Men - SL 6 Nick Kreuter (3) Jason Kunzmann (17) Daniel Bachman (25)

2014

USCSA Mideast Conference - 2014 UB's Team Result Individual -- 1 -- Individual -- 2 -- Individual -- 3 --
Ithaca Invitational, Labrador Mountain
January 18, 2014 - Women - GS 6 Erika Bradley (1) Dummy Time Dummy Time
January 18, 2014 - Men - GS 8 Preston Palmer (13) Zack Starke (24) Dummy Time
January 19, 2014 - Women - SL 6 Erika Bradley (3) Dummy Time Dummy Time
January 19, 2014 - Men - SL 6 Preston Palmer (8) Joel Levin (18) Zack Starke (24)
U of R Invitational, Bristol Mountain
January 25, 2014 - Women - GS 6 Erika Bradley (6) Sarah Baron (21) Andrea Ciolko (30)
January 25, 2014 - Men - GS 7 Preston Palmer (17) Joel Levin (23) Daniel Uhl (28)
January 26, 2014 - Women - SL 7 Erika Bradley (3) Sarah Baron (26) Dummy Time
January 26, 2014 - Men - SL 6 Preston Palmer (3) Dummy Time Dummy Time
Alfred University Invitational, Swain
February 1, 2014 - Women - GS 2 Erika Bradley (4) Monique Mitchell (7) Sarah Baron (14)
February 2, 2014 - Women - SL 2 Erika Bradley (4) Monique Mitchell (8) Sarah Baron (14)
St Bonaventure, Holiday Valley
February 8, 2014 - Women - SL 8 Monique Mitchell (4) Andrea Ciolko (23) Dummy Time
February 8, 2014 - Men - SL 5 Preston Palmer (8) Kreuter Nick (10) Joel Levin (24)
February 9, 2014 - Women - GS 8 Monique Mitchell (5) Andrea Ciolko (32) Dummy Time
February 9, 2014 - Men - GS 4 Kreuter Nick (5) Preston Palmer (10) Daniel Bachman (29)
Binghamton Invitational, Labrador
February 15, 2014 - Women - GS 2 Erika Bradley (1) Monique Mitchell (3) Sarah Baron (13)
February 16, 2014 - Women - SL 2 Erika Bradley (2) Monique Mitchell (4) Sarah Baron (12)

This year, the year of Mack and McCrea, it seems there may be another name that UB sports fans might want to know.

Since 2012, the Women's team has never won, but they have finished in the top three in 8 out of 27 races. And the Men's team has never finished in the top three during the past three years. During the same time, the Women have sent an individual to the podium 9 times. And, the Men have sent an individual to the podium 4 times.

In an era without a team championship, Erika Bradley has achieved great things. Even when combining both Men's and Women's results, she alone holds 62% of their podium finishes. In addition, she recorded the only two UB victories of this era, earlier this year!

Congratulations to all of UB's student athletes, and good luck in the future!

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