Team Morale Crucial to Skiers’ Success



DA VFH vs. SPS 100822

Despite unique obstacles, including long drives to practices, minimal competitions, and relying on Mother Nature, Williston’s Ski Team remains consistently dominant.

The dedicated group travels an hour every Tuesday and Friday to train at Berkshire East. Races are every Wednesday, also at Berkshire East. The team competes against schools in the Mountain Institute League such as Deerfield, NMH, Eaglebrook, and WMA. They spend their Mondays and Thursdays lifting and tuning their skis.

Four year skier and senior captain Ben Carlan, explained that this rigorous schedule can be challenging at times.

“Its not easy, but I do think having two days of shorter practices makes it a lot more manageable,” he explained. “It can be difficult at times but I do not think it is any more or less difficult than other teams I have been on. As a Williston student you get used to bending your time around sports.”

Senior captain Sophie Edmunds, a four-year member of the team expressed that the team is a very unique community.

“I love the ski team because it’s so tight-knit. We spend so much time together that we get to know each other super well,” she said. “Despite being an individual sport, there is also a team ranking, so we get to encourage each other and cheer each other on all the time. There is definitely a lot of team spirit, and it is also a sport where the learning curve is huge, so we get to see people improve, which is awesome.”

Since the ski team travels so far for races and they do not receive the added benefit of “home court” advantage or other Williston students coming to support, it is crucial they have good team morale.

This year the team transitioned into a new coaching staff. Their coaches for the season included Chris Tanguay, Sarah Kneip, and Justin Brooks.

Tanguay explained that there has been a great learning curved involved with coaching such a unique sport.

“My entire coaching career has involved teams that all take the field or court together,” he said. “There is offense, defense, a ball, and scoring. Ski team is the first sport I have coached where we are scored as a team, but it is all based on individual results. The team spirit and everyone gathering at the start to cheer on their teammates is infectious.”

Additionally, the team receives coaching from a ski instructor outside of the Williston community. Sarah Kneip has coached the team for two years, and has made a huge impact in such a short time.

Ben explained her role on the team as instrumental to their growth and achievement this season.

“She is incredibly experienced and a very kind individual,” he acknowledged. “Her experience has without doubt aided the team in getting better. The team is very young, we have a lot of underclassman and middle schoolers and she is particularly good at getting beginner racers to compete at a high level.”

The team recently traveled to Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., to compete in their New England Prep School Championships, more commonly abbreviated as NEPSAC. These races are a culmination of a season’s worth of hard work and time dedicated to perfecting their skills.

Williston entered two young teams on both the boys and the girls side for their races, as two injuries specifically impacted the girl’s team late in the season. Notably, top skier and team captain Sophie Edmunds endured a wrist injury right before NEPSACs.

Despite these challenges, Tanguay explained that the team still had a worthwhile experience.

“We had a really fun trip and it was great to see different kids interacting and sharing food at our team dinner the night before,” he explained. “Injuries definitely hurt our overall team score, but it was great to see some of our younger racers like sophomore Quin James and 7th grader Elise Edmunds step up and really crush their races.”