While many do not prefer the weather enveloping the igloo that is Lawrence University, the Lawrence Ski Team is taking full advantage of the cold and snow. The team provides a unique opportunity to learn and practice cross-country skiing.
“Skiing is not the cheapest sport,” says team captain Liam Hoy. “We have equipment for everyone, as well as two captains, who are qualified and willing to teach new people how to ski.” The team’s main objective is to compete in the Birkebeiner, a race involving courses of up to 55 kilometers.
When snow is available, the team trains by traveling to various locations around Lawrence, including Reid Golf Course, Riverview Gardens and High Cliff state park. On Saturdays, the team will make excursions to other parts of Wisconsin for different terrain and real trails. The skiers also took advantage of this term’s reading period to travel to Minocqua in Northern Wisconsin to train.
Team members practice both classic skiing, which involves striding in almost running like manner, and skate skiing, which involves pushing off the edge of the ski.
Due to the volatile Midwest winters, the ski team will often find itself without the right amount of snow to actually ski on. Instead, the team will take these opportunities to work on physical fitness and fundamentals. Distance runs improve endurance and plyometric exercises help with agility and balance.
The climax of the Lawrence Ski Team’s season will arrive this weekend at the Birkebeiner. The Birkie takes place in Hayward, Wisconsin and describes itself as the largest ski race in North America. Competitors will be competing in the 55-kilometer classic race, others in the 50-kilometer skate race. Also available is the Kortelopet, a half race in which many Lawrentians will be competing.
The ski team is only in its second year. However, Hoy has high hopes for the blossoming club sport. “For next year I would like to do races against other schools,” Hoy says. “There are a lot of schools up north around Minnesota that we can compete against.”