Racing to Victory

Geordie Lonza '13

The women’s alpine ski team finished an impressive regular season at Williams Winter Carnival in February. In celebration of their success, we asked three of the team’s top skiers to explain what it’s like to go down a mountain really fast…

At the starting gate: “I have done everything I can to prepare. My skis are fast, my boot buckles are done up, my goggles are down, and my pole straps are on. I go over the course in my head, listen to a course report, imagine the feeling of a great turn, and I am ready to go. My coach told me to ski the first few gates so well that it makes the girls starting after me think, ‘I can’t do that.’ So now when I hit that first gate, I really hope the girls behind me are paying attention.”

—Shannon Campbell ’14, ranked 19th in the giant slalom in the East

Through the course: “Push with all my strength. Push, skate, hit a gate, push, skate, hit. No more sounds—just the wind, the snow and the gates. Drop onto the steeps, feel the snow beneath my skis, feel the snap propelling me one turn to the next. Feel the compression at the bottom of the pitch. Breathe. Onto the flats, feel the speed, carry the speed. No! Not like that, get back on it. Let my body take over and stop thinking. Speed. Instinctively I do the right thing. Breathe. Keep up intensity. Ignore the fatigue in legs, in lungs. I will not feel pain. See the finish ahead; it is not over until I cross that line. Just keep it going. Bend over and reach across the finish line.”

—Laurel Carter ’12, first in the East in the slalom

Across the finish line: “I can hear the crowd cheering. I’m breathing hard, and all I think is, Did I ski fast? Was that good enough? I don’t remember much of the course. I had a couple of mistakes, but it felt OK. It’s not until I see the times that I know how I measured up against the competition. … I strive to put my heart and soul into each and every run in the hopes of gaining just a few extra tenths and hundredths of a second. The runs in which I lay it all on the line and push myself to my limits are the good ones, the unforgettable ones, and the ones that I win.”

—Geordie Lonza ’13, second in the East in the slalom

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Image credit: C.J. Feehan