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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Nordic skiing: Carleton’s lost sport?

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Snow is falling, temperatures are dropping, and students are unrecognizable in bundles of clothing; winter term is upon us. Yet while many students fondly remember summer and abhor the return of the Minnesotan tundra, there are some here that are quietly basking in this wondrous winter glory.

Though no longer a varsity sport, and definitely not a sport that most students would want to stand in the cold to watch, Nordic Skiing continues to be popular at Carleton. Back in 2001, Carleton was one of the first Minnesota schools to cease funding Nordic skiing as a varsity sport. Other Minnesota schools gradually followed, and the MIAC dropped their sponsorship of Nordic Skiing altogether after Macalester dropped their varsity team in 2005.

Remaining varsity collegiate teams switched to a skiing conference across most of the Midwest, yet colleges have continued to cut Nordic from their varsity roster, with Gustavus the most recent.

Yet despite the cut, Nordic skiing has continued as a sport at Carleton. Although they lost their coach, the team reorganized and is now run by four dedicated student captains. The club may not be as intensive as it was as a varsity team, but that may be for the better.

“I think by dropping the varsity status and the ultra-competitive attitude associated with it, our club was able to include a greater level of Carleton’s ski community,” said Jonah Hudson-Erdman ’18, one of this season’s captains. “There is definitely still competition on the team for those who want it.”

The team now includes more than 250 students, of all experience levels. The captains help teach many first-time skiers proper technique, so no one should ever ever be afraid to come try it.

“Every practice we help to teach people how to ski on the team. I find it really rewarding to help provide this sport to people who have never experienced it before,” said Hudson-Erdman. “If there is one part of our team that I am most proud of, it’s that.”

The team may not be as serious as the NCAA sports here, but there is still a competitive atmosphere. Skiers from the team will participate in a wide range of ski meets this year, from intercollegiate to world-famous races like the American Birkebiener. In fact, the club has vans going to different meets almost every weekend of this term. The team is also planning to host the Carleton Sprints here in the Arb for its third year on March 4th.

With plenty of snow on the ground and students eager to ski, the 2015-16 season is looking bright for the team. So, while you’re filling in basketball brackets and cheering on the swimming team this winter, don’t forget to pay some attention to the Nordic Ski Team as well. You might find it to be one of the most underrated sports at Carleton.

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