Semester 2 for the alpine ski team can mean just one thing: the race season has begun! There are four ‘conference’ races that the team enters into. At the end of the season there is a ‘regional’ race, and then, if you qualify, a ‘national’ race. The conference races are for North American teams of a certain region, and competing universities include the University of Washington, the College of Idaho and the University of Oregon. To qualify for regionals, you must compete in at least two conference races. To qualify for nationals, you must firstly attend regionals, and secondly your team must overall place in the top 4 teams. Regionals combine various conferences, and nationals combine the east and west regions of North America. Even if you are not looking to attend nationals, the races are enormous fun, and give you the chance to meet and socialise with loads of other students from universities you are unlikely to have heard of, as well as travel and ski in different areas.
UBC is the only Canadian university in our conference, and indeed our region, so all the races that we attend are in America. The first race was in Brundage, Idaho. Idaho is a 14-hour drive from Vancouver, so is quite the trek, but it was definitely worth the long journey. We had to leave at the crack of dawn on the Friday morning so as to get to our AirBnB at a reasonable time before our first race on Saturday. We also raced on the Sunday, before heading back to Vancouver, and didn’t get home until the early hours of Monday morning.
The second race wasn’t quite so far away – it was in Washington state, but still a considerable drive, but regionals was in Montana, so a further 4 hours to travel on top of our Idaho journey. Regionals is also not a weekend race, but luckily it was scheduled during our reading week so we didn’t have to miss any school.
Getting through the Canadian-American border was an obstacle that we (the Brits) didn’t foresee. Luckily we only had to struggle through secondary border control the first time we crossed since your visa lasts 4 months. Despite this, adding 2 hours to our journey just sitting on a bench at the border was not fun. Something else we didn’t realise is that you are not allowed to bring certain food items across the border. Citrus fruits are a big no-no, and any other fruit or veg without stickers giving details of the region that they were grown in must also be confiscated. Between myself and the rest of our car, we had 10 tangerines, a grapefruit, a couple of apples and a couple of peppers confiscated, which in retrospect was actually pretty funny. Needless to say, we were much more careful with what we brought with us as snacks next time we crossed the border.
If anyone is interested in keeping up with the team results, the link for the team website is: https://recreation.ubc.ca/sport-clubs/alpine-skiing/