If the idea of a “Claremont Colleges Ski Team” seems ridiculous to you, conjuring visions of a SoCal version of Cool Runnings, you are not alone. Imagining a crew of Claremont students in water-proof pants and anti-fog goggles, basking in 90-degree Novembers and pool-side study sessions in December is, on the surface, reason for a good laugh. The reality, however, is less of a Jamaican bobsled team and more a serious athletic endeavor.
“This is the first year that we’re actually a team,” Brian Shain PO ’13 said. Shain and fellow skiing enthusiast Charlie Walton CM ’12 have taken their hobby from mere OTL-sponsored adventures to legitimate intercollegiate club sport. Although the team is 5C, as of now it is primarily composed of Pomona and CMC students. The team hopes to draw upon the rest of the colleges as the program grows. For now, the Skeeze are student-run and -organized, with Shain leading the pack. Starting early next semester, the ski team will compete against colleges in and around Southern California.
“USC’s our main competition,” Shain shrugged as he leaned back in his chair. “They’ve got a good team.”
Shain is taking things slowly for now, but as the season kicks off, the ultimate goal is to make it to Nationals.
“CMC will pay for the travel of anyone who gets to Nationals,” Shain said. “Hopefully we can do that this year.”
As the winter months arrive here in Southern California, the ski team’s competition squad is comprised of 15 members. But since Skeeze is a club sport, the competition positions may change, depending on the skills and prowess of new athletes.
“Competitions are made up of several different events, spread out throughout the weekend,” Shain said. “Ski team members compete in races, snowboard cross, and half-pipe.”
Training and competitions are held at Mammoth Mountain, a world-class resort northeast of Claremont. The team makes the five-hour drive almost every weekend through the end of the school year: Mammoth is famous for its long ski season, spanning from approximately November through June, and offering over 3,500 skiable acres and over 150 named trails.
“Last year, they were open until the fourth of July,” Shain said.
The ski team kicks off their season this weekend with Skeeze Snowstock featuring Teton Gravity Research (TGR). There will be two showings of the TGR film “One for the Road” at Rose Hills Theater at 6:30 and 8:30 on Friday. Tickets are available for $10 at 5C dining halls and will be $12 at the door on Friday night. All ticket holders will get a Mount Baldy lift ticket and other giveaways, as well as the chance to win further swag in a raffle. For more information, check out Skeeze on their website at http://www.skeeze.org, or on Facebook.
Athletes interested in joining the team for more recreational purposes are encouraged to join the Skeeze in training during the season.