2017 Ski Team Heads to First USCSA Race

The UBC Ski Team is headed for their first competition weekend of the USCSA  season tomorrow, bound for Tamarack, Idaho for two GS races. They’ll be up against the College of Idaho and University of Washington, among others, in this first of 4 Conference match-ups, during which they compete to qualify for Regional Championships and, from there, USCSA National Championships in Bend, Oregon March 5-11th, 2017.

For the full season schedule, click here.

Watch the team Facebook page for results from this weekend and throughout the winter, or bookmark this link to the official USCSA site for results and the full story.

Stay on top of it and sign up to receive the Team’s newsletter by clicking this link.

Go Skibirds!

Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

New Team Newsletter Launches

The UBC Thunderbird Ski Club is updating their website and the alumni blog and want to better engage the ski team community.
If you would like to receive monthly email newsletters about the ski team please take one minute to click on this link to subscribe. Due to privacy issues, we DO need your consent for us to send you updates, and you’ll have the opportunity to choose what type of information you would like to receive (Donor and Fundraising Initiatives, Alumni Updates, Prospective Athlete information and Monthly Team updates and events).
This year’s team looks forward to keeping you updated on the season’s races and results.  Thank you again for your continued support!
Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

Meet the Team | Justin Kelly

Alberta's Justin Kelly Joins UBC Squad

Alberta’s Justin Kelly Joins UBC Squad

Fresh off a gap year of racing at Nor-ams and Canadian Nationals, Justin Kelly is one of UBC Alpine Ski’s newest team members. Hailing from Alberta, Justin raced at the FIS level for 5 years, during which he was awarded Alberta Alpine’s “Cary Mullen Character Award,” which he considers to be one of his proudest ski racing accomplishments to date.

Now part of UBC’s Faculty of Engineering, he will continue to race at a high level in the USCSA league while also earning a degree from one of Canada’s top universities.

Click to read more about Justin’s ski racing history and interests off the hill, and continue to follow this blog for more posts on UBC Ski Team athletes as they prepare for the upcoming winter season.

Please consider making a donation to fund the continued growth of the UBC Alpine Ski Team and enabling athletes like Justin to continue racing and representing UBC Athletics on an international stage. Donate to support this athlete HERE.

Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

Fernie Bids Farewell to Ski Area Pioneer, Heiko Socher

Heiko Socher

Heiko Socher

Though he will be remembered as the visionary behind Snow Valley Ski Area in Fernie by most, Heiko Socher also left an impression among skiers on the coast during his years in Forestry at the University of British Columbia. Then a member of the ski team and fellow adventurer with the Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC) on many a backcountry trip–most notably the May 1955 ski traverse from Rubble Creek to Garibaldi Lake to Diamond Head Chalet to Squamish on cross country skis with likes of Pat Duffy and others from the ‘50’s UBC roster–his passion for skiing and tenacious personality won’t soon be forgotten by those who knew him.

He carried on as a supporter of the UBC ski team throughout his life, and supported his son Ralf through his pursuit of ski racing through to the National Ski Team.

Socher dedicated most of his years to the development of what has become one of Canada’s favourite ski areas, Fernie Alpine Resort, and continued to create hiking trails throughout the valley even after his retirement in the late ‘90’s. He was also a generous community man and, for his philanthropy, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.

After a remarkable life, Heiko Socher passed away earlier this month at 86. He leaves behind his wife Linda and children Ralf and Elke (Bruce) and two grandchildren.

Read more about Heiko’s life and pioneering spirit, courtesy of S-Media | Snow Sport Culture

And another tribute posted on the East Kootenay e-News

Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

UBC SkiBirds Plan for Upcoming Race Season

The 2015-16 season for the UBC Alpine Ski Team has been one to remember. The team  faced many ups and downs as they made the transition from Varsity status to a new management structure through the Thunderbirds Sport Clubs.  In the beginning of the season, they faced many challenges as a result of reduced financial support from UBC; however, due to the outpour of generous support and the dedication of Head Coach, Kayla Johnson, the team was able to finish the season stronger than ever!

As a completely student-run team,  many leadership opportunities have been presented, both on and off the hill, for our athletes.  Once again, the SkiBirds were fast on the slopes and some top highlights from our season include:

  • Pre-Season Training Camp hosted by Big White Resort
  • Maria Bjork 3rd, Jordan Fitzgerald 6th, Mount. Bachelor, Oregon
  • Jordan Fitzgerald 6SL, Regionals
  • Sandy Gerlich 5th GS, Mount Bachelor, Oregon
  • Women’s 3rd Place Team Overall finish at Regionals
  • Mens 3rd Place Team Overall finish at Regionals
  • Both Male and Female Teams qualified for Nationals in Lake Placid, NY

Despite early challenges, the SkiBirds had an amazing year and hope to carry this momentum into next season. Thanks to Executive Head Coach Kayla Johnston and to Lindsay Frame for their dedication and hard work invested into the team’s success. They are passing on the torch to our new executives for the 2016-17 season:


CAMERON HALE – Assistant Coach

JENNIFER BOUGHNER – VP Fundraising/ Media and Communications


A huge thank you to all alumni for their generous contributions this year that allowed the season to be possible. The team relies heavily on this financial support and with help carrying on the legacy of the UBC Ski Team. Thanks to those who came out to support the team at the Alumni Reunion at UBC this past April. The event was a huge success and plans are underway to host annual reunions to keep the alumni community strong! Stay tuned for more details about our next event to be held in late September.

The executive team is already hard at work planning out a great season for next year. A number of excited recruits will be joining the SkiBirds from Ontario, Alberta and Minneapolis, and returning athletes are looking forward to our next season and working hard to make it all the way to Nationals once again. The primary fundraising goal over the next year is to purchase a team van to help with travel to USCSA Races. Fundraising dollars will also contributed towards funding USCSA  race entry fees, travel costs, uniforms, and insurance fees. Any support makes a profound difference and aids in the continued success of UBC’s Alpine Ski Team. Furthermore, it builds opportunities for ski racers to pursue their passion in sport, achieve academic excellence, and develop into well-rounded, confident, competent individuals.

Please consider donating HERE to help fund the UBC Alpine Ski Team  and continue the legacy of university ski racing in Canada.

Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

Ski Birds Battle Their Way to 2016 USCSA Nationals Despite Challenges

Cameron Hale Skis to 14th Place Finish

Cameron Hale Skis to 14th Place Finish

The Ski Birds travelled to Red Lodge, Montana over reading week to compete in the USCSA Western Regional Championships. Despite warm weather and spotty snow coverage, the races were pulled off without any issues and UBC sped its way to a spot at the upcoming USCSA National Championships.

The first day hosted the Women’s GS where, despite a DNF from top seeded UBC skier Jordan Fitzgerald, the girls managed to pull off an impressive 4th place team finish, trailing Rocky Mountain College, College of Idaho and University of Colorado respectively. The team was led by 3 freshmen including Maria Bjork (hometown Falun, Sweden) in 10th place;  Lauren Hale (Toronto) 18th; and Jennifer Boughner (Toronto) 31st.  After the first day, UBC’s women held the final spot to qualify for USCSA Nationals by 9 seconds over the University of Washington.

Day two was the Men’s GS and UBC was in a tough position before even setting foot on the hill, with only 3 racers entered at the series, the minimum needed to qualify for team rankings. This meant no margin for error, with any mistakes or a DNF meaning almost certainly the end of the season. Despite this, the men were able to conservatively ski to a 5th place team finish led by Cameron Hale (Toronto) in 14th, Bryan Cadman (Vancouver) in 30th and Ryan Chiricosta (Toronto) in 33rd. After the GS, the UBC men held the final qualifying spot for nationals, also by 9 seconds.

The last day saw cold and clear overnight conditions mixing with warm snow on race day for the Slalom, forming undoubtedly the hardest surface the team had skied all season. The tough conditions showed early, with Maria Bjork, UBC’s top slalom skier, falling only 15 racers into the first run, leaving the girls shorthanded at a race that saw 22 DNF’s altogether. With the University of Washington closing the gap for Nationals after the first run, the girls were able to prevail, finishing 5 seconds ahead of their rivals and securing 4th place and the final berth to the USCSA Nationals. This success was owed largely to a season’s best 6th place finish from Sun Valley native, Jordan Fitzgerald, who finished just ahead of last year’s National Championship medallist, Fredrika Hjelm. Teammate Lauren Hale’s 18th place finish, combined with Eva Streitz’s (Minneapolis) 29th, were enough to claim the final qualifying spot.

The Men’s race also saw the same difficult conditions, with 30 men unable to finish between the two runs. The first run saw close calls by all three UBC competitors and despite all three being able to finish and record solid times, they saw their 9 second lead vanish. In a virtual tie with the Colorado School of Mines for the final Nationals spot heading into the second run, the pressure was on. With this knowledge fuelling the fire, the men put in a full charge despite the treacherous conditions. After fast and clean runs by both Bryan and Cameron, the men had a small advantage and the season’s fate was left to the final racer, freshman Ryan Chiricosta. Despite multiple hip slides and close calls, which left his teammates almost unable to watch the final pitch of his run, Ryan was able to record a time and earn the UBC men the final berth to the National Championships.

Watch the Ski Birds represent UBC and Canada at the USCSA National Championships in Lake Placid, New York live at http://broadcast.uscsa.com/ from March 8th to 12th.

To review the race results from USCSA Regionals, Nationals, or any amateur race results, follow www.live-timing.com

Big Smiles after Earning Spot at USCSA Nationals

Big Smiles after Earning Spot at USCSA Nationals

Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

Gold for Bjork Leads the Ski-Birds in First USCSA Appearance of 2016


UBC Newcomer Maria Bjoerk Skis to Slalom Victory

The Ski Birds started off their USCSA season at Mt Bachelor, Oregon on January 23rd, led by new recruit Maria Bjoerk. Her performances in the slalom events helped the women’s team earn second in the team standings both days behind College of Idaho. On Saturday, Bjoerk, Jordan Fitzgerald, Lauren Hale, Jennifer Boughner, Anna Lazzereschi and Eva Streitz (3rd, 6th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 21st) all finished strong with Lazzereschi moving up an impressive 25 spots after drawing bib 40.

On the Men’s side, Dimitri Djuricic and Cameron Hale finished in 13th and 14th respectively leading the team to a 3rd place overall ranking. Bryan Cadman bounced back after a slow morning with a wickedly fast second run, landing himself in 20th, with rookie Ryan Chiricosta rounding out the team results with a 23rd place finish.

With ‘first race jitters’ behind them, the team came back with a vengeance on Sunday. Bjoerk set the pace on the Women’s side by claiming the gold with a combined time of 1:36:88, ahead of College of Idaho rivals who’d kept ahead of her Saturday, Anna Granhed (1:37:60) and Elyse Burandt (1:38:34). Seasoned T-bird Sandy Gerlich was back in the game after a disappointing straddle and hike on Saturday. She wound up 5th with teammate Fitzgerald closing in with another 6th place and Boughner moving up to 10th. L. Hale and Lazzereschi took 13th and 16th respectively with Streitz coming from behind to move all the way up into 18th.

The Men’s team found their rhythm on Sunday too with C. Hale fighting through the toughest Northwest collegiate competition he has ever seen to earn himself a 7th place with Djuricic not far behind in 13th. Cadman and Chiricosta both moved up into 18th and 20th respectively to earn the team another 3rd place overall.

After an impressive first race, the team is now back home and gearing up for the last 2 Northwest Conference races before traveling to Red Lodge, Montana for the Regional Championships. There they will battle for a spot at the coveted USCSA National Championships which will take place this March in Lake Placid, New York.

For full results, go to http://www.uscsa.com/conferences-events/uscsa-results/


Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

Alumni Reunion Planned for April


There’s a reunion in the making, so mark your calendars and plan your route to the UBC Ski Team Social on Saturday, April 2nd!

Come meet the 2016 UBC Ski Team and catch up with teammates from years gone by.
Have some fun at the games tables too-no experience necessary,it’ll be a really fun Casino-style event with ‘play money’ that everyone will enjoy! And a live auction with amazing merchandise and experiences will round out the evening. Donations to the auction, even a bottle of wine, would be most appreciated and can be directed to: lindsayframe@alumni.ubc.ca

Where: The Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre (on campus, free parking in the neighbourhood at that time)
Time: 7pm – 11pm

Granville Island catering will be providing us with savoury appetizers including:
• Chicken sate with rum pepper paint
• Sauteed Prawn with a sweet chili lime sauce
• Onion Parmesan tarts
• Ham and cheese toasties with a dijon dipper
• Tuna poke in a corn tortilla cup
• Chicken cilantro bites with a soy scallion dip
• Artisan pizza vegetarian with roasted tomatoes and herbs
Wine and beer will be available (cash bar.)

Any pictures from ‘back in the day’ you’d like to contribute to a slide show? Or perhaps a shot taken more recently, enjoying the slopes? With permission, we’d love to add those to the website & photo archive as well. Send to Sandy at: s_gerlich@yahoo.com  Video featuring highlights from this season will also be shared.

Early bird tickets prices are only $25 and available online here: BUY TICKETS Please note: You will land at a UBC Athletics & Recreation registration page and need to select Sports Club from the left hand ‘Browse Courses,’ under which you’ll select TSC-Aline Ski Alumni Event, then Show Courses and then Info, then ADD. You will likely be prompted to create a new client account as well. Not super seamless, but you don’t have to leave the house! If you have difficulty, contact Fundraising Chair Lindsay Frame to make alternate arrangements: lindsayframe@alumni.ubc.ca

Buy now and save, as prices will increase as we approach the event date. Bring your spouse, bring some friends, and plan for a fun night out. And if you can’t make the date, consider still supporting the event by purchasing a couple of tickets for current team athletes!

Which will be the best represented decade?? Buy your tickets now and spread the word.
Share this event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1170253179683390/

In the meantime, there is racing to follow!
The team just got back from 3 days of Slalom training at Big White, and training will begin at Grouse this Thursday. Team time trials took place at Big White and the following team rosters established (in no particular order):
Women’s Team: Sandy Gerlich , Maria Bjoerk, Jordan Fitzgerald, Lauren Hale, Jennifer Boughner, Eva Streitz, Anna Lazzereschi and Kayla Johnston
Men’s Team: Cameron Hale, Dimitri Djuricic, Bryan Cadman and Ryan Chiricosta

The top 5 ranked women after the Conference races will move forward to Regional and National finals.

The first competition of the season is this weekend, but the Skibbirds will make their debut at the 2nd Conference race the weekend of January 23/24 at Mt, Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. GO TEAM!!

Watch the Facebook page or our blog to stay up-to-date on team results, or follow it as it happens at www.live-timing.com

That’s it for this report. We really hope you can attend the reunion on the 2nd of April. Buy your tickets early and save money!

UBC Ski Team Alumni
Follow us on https://www.instagram.com/ubcalpineskiteam/
Join the UBC Ski Team Facebook page

Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

UBC Ski Team Prepares for Season

For the UBC Ski Team, the anticipation of the race season is building as athletes meet for dryland training and count down the weeks until their return to snow.

A dryland tradition, the infamous Wreck Beach stairs are the site of the Skibirds' annual strength training exercises and represent the tough climb they have ahead of them.

A dryland tradition, the infamous Wreck Beach stairs are site of the Skibirds’ annual strength training exercises, and representative of the tough climb they have ahead of them this season.

However, this season will also mark their first under the new ‘competitive club’ structure after 80+ years as a varsity team, and there are still a lot of details to be confirmed during this transition.

2015/16 Goals: The team’s goal for the 2015/16 season is to field a full squad, continue racing in the USCSA league and to qualify for National Championships. Despite the loss of Varsity status and more than half of the funding previously received from the Department of Athletics, the ski team aims to achieve the same level of success as they did under the Varsity banner.

While regaining Varsity status will continue to be a goal of the team, the focus through this season, and during the transition time in which UBC seeks a new President and Director of Athletics, will be to perform to the highest level as possible, demonstrating that the team is as deserving as ever to have their Varsity status reinstated.

On the competition front, the race calendar will have the team travel to (3) races in the NorthWest Conference before heading to Regional Championships in Montana to qualify for Nationals in Lake Placid, New York.  Returning student-athlete-coach Kayla Johnston hopes to be able to travel with full men’s and women’s teams through the Conference finals before determining UBC’s top 10 for Regionals and beyond. 

The team welcomes back returning athletes Sandy Gerlich–gold-medal winner at last year’s Nationals in the dual slalom–Cameron Hale, and Lindsay Frame. These athletes have also agreed to take on roles within the team administration, partnered with ski team alumni in the same role. Sandy becomes VP Communications/ Social Media, Cameron Hale will act as Assistant Coach alongside Kayla Johnston, and Lindsay Frame takes on VP Fundraising and Social. Linsday is also heading up the team’s online petition called, “Reinstate UBC Alpine Ski Team to Varsity Status.” If you’ve yet to come across this petition, have a look now here and read what others are saying…and, of course, be sure to add your signature. 

There are also several new student-athletes to UBC, and recruitment is underway to attract more ski racers and get them pre-season training with the team.

3 of these new athletes have solid ski racing backgrounds and are well poised to become part of this year’s squad. They are:

Maria Bjork, SWE

Maria Bjork, SWE

Maria Björk | Taking off the last couple of seasons due to injury didn’t necessarily slow down Maria Björk who looks forward to returning to snow and gates this season. Hailing from Bjursås IK Alpine, Sweden, she began racing at just age 5 and progressed to becoming a true slalom skier. While she doesn’t really have any recent results, her FIS slalom points were under 50 when she took 15th place in a FIS SL at Sunday River in 2012. That season, she also won a number of USCSA races, and her past experience racing in the league will be a real asset.

At UBC to study Business, she was drawn by the fact UBC is internationally recognized as a great school and perfectly located, “since I love the outdoor lifestyle.” Her goal for the season is to ski fast and have fun, ultimately making a successful come-back to the gates and qualifying to Nationals.

Lauren Hale | From Toronto, Ontario, Lauren Hale started out racing in Collingwood for Blue Mountain and the Toronto Ski Club before attending the National Ski Academy, also in Collingwood.  Racing competitively for 8 years, her favourite discipline is GS, and she has a 22nd place finish at the National Junior GS at Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec to show for it!

Currently studying at UBC in the Faculty of Arts, she chose UBC because of the excellent academics, the beautiful campus, and the easy access to Whistler (a true skier at heart!)

Her goal for the season is to help the woman’s team qualify for Nationals in Lake Placid, and she’s excited to ski some hills she’s never been to before and enjoy competing in the USCSA.


Ontario's Jordan Fitzgerald

Ontario’s Jordan Fitzgerald

Jordan Fitzgerald | Since moving to Sun Valley, Idaho at the age of 7, Jordan Fitzgerald has been ski racing, an alum of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Initially a fan of speed events, her focus has shifted more to GS as she’s transitioned toward skiing in college. With a few results last winter hitting around the 50 point mark, Jordan could potentially be a solid add to the UBC roster.

Currently in Arts without specialization, she first really considered UBC because she wanted to stay on the west coast, and wanted something different (from Idaho) but similar in the things she valued most, namely UBC’s academic options, ski club/team, and lifestyle in Vancouver. 

Jordan’s over-all goal for the season is to definitely qualify for Nationals, hopefully as a team but if not, as an individual. She’s also keen to further improve her skiing across the board and discover what the region has to offer a skier, not to mention visit the hills south of the border! 

Official team trials will take place in the new year to determine the travel teams for men and women. Athletes can look forward to the renewed partnership with the Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club, which will provide the team with hill space, gate training and coaching on the club’s new race centre terrain, plus lift access. Says Kayla Johnston: “We are so grateful for the contribution the Tyee club is able to provide us for access to elite level training, and they appreciate the mentorship our more experienced athletes can provide the junior racers as they train alongside. It’s a true community partnership that is so valuable to every athlete involved.”

In terms of team finances under the new team structure, Johnston will be working with some alumni members on securing funding for team operations through both internal and external means. 

Team travel expenses–including transportation, fuel & accommodation– are estimated at approximately $6K through the (3) Conference events alone, after which Regionals and Nationals would need to be funded. 

Immediate funding priorities are as follows:

1.     Pay for league fees with both the USCSA and the NWCSC. These total $2300 and are due by November 24th.

2.     Ensure athletes are insured for competition and travel in the US (in progress, estimated between $60-200 pp X 12 athletes)

3.     Fundraise to ensure the team is able to travel with full teams to enough events they can qualify to Regionals and beyond.

The athletes will be seeing their sights on strong performances at the following events: 

Conference Race 1: Mt Hood Meadows (Jan 17-18)

Conference Race 2: Mt Bachelor (Jan 23-24)

Conference Race 3: 49 Degrees North (Jan 30-31)

Regionals: Red Lodge Montana (Feb 18-20)

Nationals: Lake Placid NY (Mar 7-12)

Total budget for the season through Nationals is estimated at ~$26K, or $30K given the exchange rate by the time that’s factored against our expenses. The current reality is that the team will be hard pressed to fund competition through the Conference races.

Planned fundraising, including events, birdbacker dollars, and some carryover funding from the end of last year, will contribute some of the required finances, but the team will still come up short once they qualify for Regionals. It has yet to be confirmed whether additional UBC funding would be available should the team qualify for Nationals, as was the case as a Varsity team. The team is hopeful that the support they’ve received from alumni donations in the past will continue during this crucial season.

If you want to make difference to the UBC Ski Team this year by contributing your support, please submit your 2015 tax-deductible donation HERE. One-time or monthly donations can be set-up through this link.

Donate by Cheque: Download  Alpine Skiing Edges of Excellence Pledge Form

Quick Links: Goals New Recruits Race Calendar

Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment

USCSA Nationals Gold Medal Win Bittersweet for UBC Skier

Regionals 2015

L to R: UBC’s Cameron Hale, Lindsay Frame, Dimitri Djuricic, Sandra Gerlich and Jackson Hamersley


It was a trying winter for many in the NorthWest, as a lack of snow and abundance of warm temperatures wreaked havoc with ski resorts, but perhaps most so for UBC Alpine Ski Team athletes shooting to make their mark in the collegiate standings this season.

Despite a juggling of event venues as a result of the poor conditions, the Skibirds handily qualified among the NorthWest Conference schools for the Regional Championships which were held in McCall, Idaho at Brundage Mountain on February 20-21, 2015. Sandra Gerlich, a 2nd-year Kinesiology student, led the Women’s team alongside Lindsay Frame. Unfortunately, fellow teammates Samantha Bisnaire, who suffered a knee injury at the previous races, and Alex Ensing were unable to travel to Regionals and, as a result, UBC did not have a full team on the ladies side and had to include an averaged ‘dummy’ time to make up the 3 finishes to count in team rankings. Calculated along with Sandra and Lindsay’s 16th and 37th place finishes, the team finished in 12th for the GS. Competition was led by Rocky Mountain College (Billings, MT) athlete Frida Svedberg, over a second and a half ahead of College of Idaho’s second place finisher Caroline Sanden Gustafsson after two runs. RMC’s Camille Virelaude and Fredrika Hjelm claimed 3rd and 4th spots respectively, securing top team ranking in the event.

On the Men’s side, the Rocky Mountain College team also dominated, claiming all three podium spots. Led by Nils Hogbom, nearly 2 seconds in the lead with a time of 1:42.14, and followed by Thomas Vandel (2nd) and Harlan Collins (3rd), RMC was the top team in the GS, followed by the University of Denver and University of Colorado. UBC men attacked the course, trying to secure a spot at the National Championships. In the end, Cameron Hale finished in 16th position, and teammates Dimitri Djuricic, who survived a dramatic hip slide in his second run, and Jackson Hamersley finished 26th and 46th respectively.

Day #2 was no less exciting in the Slalom event. Again led by men’s and women’s teams from Rocky Mountain College, podium spots went to Hogbom, Collins and Vandel again, the latter couple swapping 2nd and 3rd from the day before. Likewise were the results on the ladies side when RMC’s Camille Virelaude and Fredrika Hjelm traded podium spots behind gold medal winner, for the 2nd day in a row, Frida Svedberg, who left the competition way behind her 4+ second lead. 4th place finisher was also from RMC—Susan Bek—but her finish wasn’t even counted because only the top 3 results are included. In 6th place was UBC’s Sandra Gerlich whose time, combined with Lindsay Frame’s and another ‘dummy’ time, still earned them an 11th spot ranking. UBC’s Cameron Hale was the only finisher from the men’s team, in 20th.

Results from Regionals:  W_GS_Regionals-Team     M_GS_Regionals-Team    W_SL_Regionals-Team  M_SL_Regionals-Team

By the end of the competition, it was clear that, while extremely close for Hale, no UBC men were going to qualify for National Championships this season. However, Sandra Gerlich earned an individual spot to the event in Mt. Bachelor, Oregon March 3-7. And because the UBC Women’s team was incomplete, a team spot essentially opened up and the University of Washington was able to qualify for Nationals. They generously extended the offer to ‘adopt’ Sandra, including her within their travel and training itinerary, which not only saved expenses, but also made it more enjoyable and efficient for our sole Skibird!

At Nationals, where the weather FINALLY agreed to cooperate and the sun shone on the ‘hero snow’ conditions, it was the Western Regional Division champs Rocky Mountain College that continued to dominate; in fact, in the Women’s GS, the top 9 places were divided by only 2 schools: RMC and Sierra Nevada College (Incline Village, (Tahoe) Nevada). Frida Svedberg, originally from Sweden and currently with only 25 FIS points in GS, won both GS and slalom events at the National Championships. UBC’s Sandra Gerlich placed 15th in each of the SL and GS races and then pulled off an outstanding gold medal finish in the Parallel Slalom race, beating the field through a round-robin-type elimination process.

See all the results from the 2015 USCSA National Championships here

“Winning that gold was a rewarding way to wrap up such a crazy season,” said Gerlich after returning home, but victory was somewhat bittersweet. While she’s keen to continue with the team in her 3rd year at UBC starting next September, the future is somewhat unclear given the recent loss of the team’s Varsity status, gold or no gold. (Read ‘Cut Down: The Alpine Ski Team’s Fight…’) She, like other team members and ski team alumni, questions how the new ‘competitive club’ model UBC has proposed will be structured and organized, and how the loss of the Varsity status will affect the team’s ability to access resources like physiotherapy and gym training space. “No longer being a Varsity team, “ she continued, “makes me worried we (as a ‘club’) won’t be granted allowable absences from school to pursue the sport and compete [in the USCSA league]. But I am hopeful that won’t be the case!” With many details yet to be ironed out in this newest tier of UBC Athletics, only time will tell what the future holds for Gerlich and the SkiBirds.






Posted in News and Announcements | Leave a comment