To the average team, a training week is no better than prison. After a week spent locked in a dungeon of a weight room or running until the players drop, shackles and bars would be a relief. At least then it could get some rest.
Club skiing, however, is not your average team. For the Tigers, a training week consists of their annual intersession trip, this year to Mount St. Ann, located thirty miles east of Quebec. After a week of enjoying the sites of Quebec and some of Canada's best skiing, the team could not be more excited to get started.
After that, things got a little more serious. The team jumped right into its New Jersey Conference schedule, with races on Jan. 24, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
The men's and women's teams compete in six races annually against five other New Jersey colleges at Vernon Valley Great Gorge, where both an A and B team race.
Only the A team, made up of the five fastest skiers and competing in the slalom and giant slalom events, is scored. The B team rotates, letting all those who want to get racing experience compete, regardless of ability.
And while not spectacular, the men's and women's teams results have been consistent and solid so far. Both teams have finished in the top three of their first three races, even in this past Sunday's race, when half their skiers were lost to bicker sessions.
"One of the best parts about the team is that we encourage people of all abilities to come out and we have a really good time," women's senior captain Lara Shohet said.
Shoot for the stars
If the Tigers keep skiing like this, they will get more than a good time. The top three teams in the league get to compete at the Mid-Atlantic regionals, with a trip to Nationals at stake. The top three regional finishers will compete at Nationals, held this year at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire Mar. 11-14.
Postseason success is by no means unfamiliar territory for the women's team, which missed qualifying for Nationals last year for the first time in five seasons.
"Our top five skiers finish in the top ten, usually towards the top." said Shohet.
The team has 42 members, but is always looking to grow.
"The team is mostly freshmen and sophomores who come to Princeton and love to ski. As the years go by, we lose a lot of them as they start to get involved in other clubs and activities. Most of our upperclassmen are either club officers or people who have had previous racing experience," said Shohet.
The team will compete in its last three New Jersey conference races over the next two weeks, hoping to qualify for the Mid-Atlantic regionals, held at Vernon Valley Feb. 21-22.