Alpine skiing: an unique high school sport with a tightly-knit team
At ARHS, there are many sports teams which compete in statewide and national competitions. Many are very focused on winning; our team versus theirs. But Alpine skiing stands out from the rest.
“Skiing is more individual than other sports,” said senior and Alpine skiing team captain Margaret O’Connell. “It’s a very different atmosphere [than] basketball.”
The team’s coach is Peter Vamosy, a teacher at Ludlow High School.
“I encourage students to develop a love for the sport and combine online tutorials, student-led drills, practice races, and free skiing to cultivate growth and individual development, ” he said.“[My goal is] for each athlete to develop their individual skills, gain confidence as a skier, and have fun.”
“No one is cut from the team. The majority of the team is very young-there are a lot of middle schoolers,” said O’Connell. “Especially this year, the racers have no prior racing experience and are out there for fun.”
There are some standout athletes on the team who consistently place highly in races.
“Their racing skills, leadership, and ability to work as mentors with their teammates” stand out, said Vamosy.
Among them are Niko Christakos, Sora Greene, Alexia Dassatti, and O’Connell.
“When you’re on the mountain it’s a reflection of our school, so [we’re] respectful at all times,” said O’Connell on the subject of team captains.
Niko Christakos placed fourth in Individuals this season, and the other standouts placed highly in the state competition as well.
I asked who the best athletes on the team were. “[Niko is] ranked first for the boys on our team. Considering his age (he’s only a sophomore), [and] he’s placing in top 10 consistently,” said O’Connell. O’Connell has her own achievements, too.
“This is my sixth year going to states,” she said. “Everyone is good, so it’s fun to go there and ski and just have a good time. I think I did my best in ninth grade. I came in third for Giant Slalom.”
But what is it like to be on the Alpine skiing team? How is practice? How competitive is it? What are the coaches like?
“[The coach] has never raced before, and he was new to our team last year. He helped organize everything,” said O’Connell. “All the coaches are friendly and they all work together.”
“Skiing is a great way to get outside during the winter, get exercise, and have fun,” said Coach Vamosy.
Outside of competitions, they enjoy each other’s company.
“[We] spend time on the bus traveling, listening to music, and eating snacks,” Vamosy replied.
“This year I decided to have a more relaxed season,” said O’Connell. Since she is a senior, she is taking it easy for her last season.
Despite this, she said “[I want to do] club level Alpine skiing after high school just for fun-to meet other people who are skiing.”
The team practices every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at Berkshire East from the end of school until around 8:30 p.m.
“There are practice runs and there are drills you can work on individually. There is sometimes a coach at the end of the run to give you feedback. You can just free ski and do whatever you want,” said O’Connell.
The team is very accepting of new members.
“Our team has such a wide range of skill level. Anyone who wants to join can join and it’s a very friendly atmosphere,” said O’Connell. “We’re definitely like one big community. It’s also a great way to ski more, because we’re up there almost every day.”
“The team is open to intermediate or advanced skiers, but no race experience is necessary,” said Coach Vamosy. “We are always looking for new members and welcome interested students.”
The point, O’Connell said, was “to get out there, have a good time, improve, just have fun. If it’s a really good run, you’re tired, exhausted, you’re out of breath. I also love that it’s individual. Anything can happen. Anyone could fall or have a bad run. It’s up for grabs. You never know who’s going to win the race.”
After a good season with many highlights, Coach Vamosy will enter his third year as coach next season. Margaret O’Connell is set to graduate in June.