The people running up and down the stairs at Nickerson Field on weeknights aren’t the clean-up crew.
But maybe they should consider taking the chair lift.
Currently conditioning themselves for their January start, the Boston University ski team hopes to reach the top of the mountain this year by improving on last season when several individual BU skiers recorded top-10 finishes.
As part of their training regiment, the team runs through the bleachers of Nickerson Field until practice intensifies in January, when the team will terrorize the trails of Nashoba Valley in Weston, Mass., on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for six-hour practices, trading in sneakers for skis, and the Nick for the white-capped northeast.
The ski team is a haven for avid BU skiers stuck in the snow-sloshed streets of Boston for the winter, without a car and lacking access to the mountains during the New England ski season. In hopes of winding down the mountain side with the wind in their face and poles in their hands, many students turn to the ski team to fill the void.
The 41-member club competes with other New England schools from the end of Winter Break in January until the end of February. Beginning in September, the team has been conducting dry-land practices every weekday for two hours.
School of Management senior Mark Celusniak and College of Communication senior David Connelly are the team’s 2001 season co-presidents, while College of Arts and Sciences junior Aaron Berlin is the team’s vice president.
During the season, the team will compete in the Slalom on Saturdays and the Giant Slalom on Sundays. Races are scheduled for several mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire, including Haystack, Bromely and Sugarbush.
Many of the team members joined the club as a way to continue their pre-college hobby of skiing weekly. With the incentive to make friends and travel outside of Boston, the team is well-worth its time commitment, according to Berlin.
“I think all the guys on the team are great, and we hang out on the weekends, even when we’re not racing,” Berlin said. “It’s also very nice to get out of the city every weekend.”
COM junior Jen DeRose has skied for the past seven years.
“I think the best parts of the club are meeting so many great people and being able to ski almost every weekend in January and February,” DeRose said.
Though DeRose enjoys being part of the club, she did admits it sometimes feels like an uphill battle.
“You have to wake up at 6 a.m., and you lose touch with campus because you’re gone every weekend,” DeRose said.
Team membership costs $400, which covers food, lodging, travel expenses and lift tickets for the student from mid-January to the end of February.
Connelly has skied since he was almost three years old, and continued for the past 19 years. In his fourth year with the team, he holds high aspirations for the upcoming season.
“I am confident we’ll make the regional competition this year,” Connelly said. “We have a very strong team.”
If the team makes the regional competition, they will compete on the weekend of Feb. 25 at Waterville Valley. The ski team will open its season Jan. 13 in Haystack, Vt., and will conclude the regular season on Feb. 18, in Sugarbush, Vt.