Life as a full-time student-athlete was busy. On top of classes and labs, in the fall, the team would train Monday-Friday in the gym, doing lifts and circuit-based workouts. As you can imagine, I quickly learned time-management and prioritization. All of this hard-work was worth it when it came time for the first on-snow camp in Colorado; much of the team, including myself, had not skied in months. These two weeks on-snow were invaluable and set the pace for the upcoming season.
Each year when January arrived, the team was well-prepared for the first college races of the season, all as a result of the hours spent preparing on and off snow. Naturally, the first race was nerve-racking, as my teammates and I were unsure as to where the months of training put us in relation to our competitors. Fortunately, the beauty of the college circuit is the team aspect. Although we competed as individuals, we also competed for a team-score. This is what made college so unique, and fueled the immense competition and camaraderie that the college circuit fosters.
Winding-up my ski-racing career on the collegiate circuit at UAA left a huge smile on my face. I am often asked if I am sad it’s over. Yes, it will be weird not pushing out of the gate anymore, but above all I feel grateful. What made college skiing so special for me, is that it was an amazing ride and a positive departure from a sport I had spent most of my life doing. For other college athletes, it is the beginning of a career on the World Cup circuit. There have been so many athletes who have graduated from university and are getting top 30 results on the World Cup; congratulations to them! To tie this up, collegiate skiing is a viable means to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself, both academically and athletically, while enjoying it to the max.
Alix Wells: I am from Prince George and grew up ski racing for the Prince George Alpine Ski Team. I was fortunate enough to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage and earn a BSc in Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology while competing on the NCAA circuit. Since graduating, I have spent the summer doing research in a lab at Vancouver General Hospital!