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Ski Team Hits the Slopes

Angelina Li '24 Campus Correspondent
As sports on the Hill begin to return to interscholastic play, the Ski Team looks to a new season to continue carrying on their traditions.
Last year, Hopkins’ Ski Team requested recognition as a Varsity team. Students, including skiers from the Class of 2021, and the coaches presented a written proposal to the Athletic Department. Though denied Varsity status, the team has continued to demonstrate the qualities and characteristics of a Varsity team. “Even though we are not a Varsity sport, we still treat it like we are,” said Sofia Karatzas ’22. Brendan Cafferty ’24 stated, “We want to win just as much as any other Varsity sport and are willing to dedicate just as much time to do so.” In addition, Skier Aanya Panyadahundi ’23 said, “The Ski Team is composed of people who have either grown up skiing or just absolutely love it. Every single skier is dedicated and always gives their all at every single practice and race.”

Unlike most other teams on campus, the Hopkins Ski Team has to travel off-campus for practice. Sydney Matthews ’23 said, “No other team spends as much time together as we do. From the long bus rides to Southington and chairlift rides up the mountain, we have a lot of time to talk.” The team has Game Day Fridays where teammates and coaches are able to bond with each other and play games like Ultimate Frisbee. The Ski Team also holds an annual training trip to Vermont in the beginning of winter break. Panyadahundi noted that the trip serves as “a great opportunity for both skill development with coaches and team bonding.” After winter break, the team continues dry land training and begins to travel to Mount Southington on Mondays for training and on Wednesdays for races. “The coaches plan practices and organize trips, and they run practices with the help of the captains and seniors on the team,” said Matthew Vasseur ’22.

The competitive season for the ski team lasts from January to the end of February. In contrast to many other teams, the team competes “in a very competitive league... with the best teams in Connecticut,” said Ski Team Coach John Isaacs. Skiers race individually, but they all contribute to Hopkins’ overall rankings. For each race, the top ten girls and boys race under the Varsity category. However, only the top six times will determine
the overall ranking of Hopkins for a race. “At the end of the season, if we place high enough, we have the opportunity to qualify for states,” said Panyadahundi. In the 2019-2020 season, the Hopkins Girl’s Ski Team took third over-all in states and first in their league.

One of the most important aspects of the Ski Team is the team dynamic. In addition to the typical team dinners and Senior Day, the team holds annual day and overnight trips, including hikes on-and off-campus and ski trips. Team events and outings are what allow the team to be “a family and cross the line between team friends and real friends,” said Matthews. Additionally, Chase Stevens-Scanlan ’22 said, “As a sport, because of the long hours we spend together, we have a lot of time to bond as a team. Cafferty stated that the ski team prides itself on being a “very welcoming group. The people who had been on it before were so welcoming to me my freshman year- since there really isn’t that big of a divide between girls and boys and upperclassmen and lower class men, everyone becomes friends,” added Panyadahundi.

After last year’s season, Ski Team looks toward a bright future back on the slopes. The team will continue to carry on their tradition of trips and activities as sports begin to return to normalcy. With the team almost doubling in size from years before, many developments are on its way to continue what Lily Panagos ‘23 called the “one big happy family” team dynamic.
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