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The CSU alpine ski team aren’t your typical ski bums

Snow won’t cover the slopes for a couple of months, but the Colorado State University alpine ski team has already begun preparing for their upcoming season. These aren’t your typical ski bums; dryland training and conditioning are key for members of the team to get in racing shape. 

The Colorado State alpine ski team has been racing for over 50 years. They compete as a member of the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United States Collegiate Ski Association with races in Winter Park, Crested Butte, Powderhorn and more.

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CSU Alpine Ski Team stands in front of slope
Colorado State University Alpine Ski Team at a race at Winter Park Resort in winter 2019. The men’s team placed first and the women’s team placed fifth. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Mangold)

“We’re competitive,” Lauren Ramsey, vice president, said. “Giant slalom and slalom are the disciplines that we do. We travel and have five in-season weekends where we race Saturday and Sunday, drive up on Friday.”

Members of the team range all levels of skill from novice skiers to racers who have been on skis since they were little kids. Creating a fun, inclusive environment that welcomes all members is key for the team.

“They’re super welcoming,” Ramsey said. “I was kind of nervous about joining a college racing team, but there’s a good amount of kids on the team who have never raced before, there are kids who are good skiers and there’s a lot of kids like Andrew (Mangold) who have been racing their whole life and have a lot of background in racing.”

Club President Mangold is one of those skiers that has raced since he was a kid and is regarded as the top skier on the team. 

“It’s a pretty wide range of ability,” Mangold said. “But the cool thing is that in our conference, … there’s an even wider range of ability. Where I came from, the University of Utah, they’re the upper echelon of our conference, and a lot of those skiers are very close to division one quality. … So there’s that kind of competition in our conference, and our team is a small step behind that but not very far.”   

Mangold has been racing since he was a kid. His father was a division one skier and came close to making the U.S. ski team. 

Mangold transferred to CSU knowing they had a racing team, and when he joined the club, he saw an opportunity to step in to help lead the club.

“I was looking at all these schools for skiing, and I went to the University of Utah for my freshman year,” Mangold said. “Then I transferred from there because I wanted to come back home, and I came (to CSU). I knew they had a good team because I competed against them. … I joined and they had a lot of people that were working really hard without a lot of experience, so I knew that I needed to help out.”

Man slalom skiing
Colorado State University student and president of the CSU Alpine Ski Team Andrew Mangold competes in giant slalom at the Mammoth 2019 Masters National Championships.(Photo courtesy of Andrew Mangold)

Mangold’s involvement has benefited the club significantly, as he helped set up the Armstrong Scholarship this past year. The scholarship is named after professional racer Phillips Armstrong, a former CSU alumnus and member of the alpine ski team.

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The scholarship is given to a member of the team based off votes by a selection board, and the recipient must meet certain criteria to be elected. Winners are selected based on academic and skiing performance; there are also special considerations such as sportsmanship, improvement and presence on the team. 

Mangold was voted as the inaugural recipient of the scholarship in 2019, but he split the award with fellow racers Wyndham May and Ramsey because he wrote the guidelines for the scholarship. 

“I like seeing (the team) have somebody like (Mangold) on board,” Armstrong said. “Someone who takes it more seriously, who can organize and train. I understand that it’s a fun club sport, but I wish it was more tightened up when I was there.”

They might not be the most advertised club sport on campus, but the team has a history of success and features students at all skill levels who are passionate about ski racing.

“Honestly some of my best friends today are friends that I made while on the CSU ski team,” Armstrong said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Lobergerryan

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