CSU skiers end monumental year with 1st national event


Collegian | Martin Wiesiolek

Photo Courtesy of Justin Arndt

Dylan Heinrich, Staff Reporter

To many, skiing is an integral part of Colorado culture; it’s what makes the recent addition of the Colorado State University Nordic Ski Club so important. 

While the alpine club has been an established club,  nordic ski club was founded two years ago by Macayla Scheidt and Justin Arndt. The two first met when Scheidt noticed Arndt using roller skis with ski poles to get to his classes. 


“We just started talking about our mutual love for nordic skiing,” Arndt said. “(We talked about) the lack of a team at CSU, so we decided to found one.”

Arndt has been a skier all his life, first putting on a pair of skis when he was only 2 years old. As he approached high school, he was unable to compete in the downhill portion due to several concussions. As a result, Arndt turned his attention to pursuing a path as a nordic skier.

“I can’t do alpine skiing,” Arndt said. “(I) picked up cross-country skiing, got really good at it in high school and then just really fell in love with the sport.”

The junior has translated this love of skiing to help inspire others across campus. The team consists of 35 members who participate at varying levels, including a core of seven members who made the trip out to the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships March 7-11 in Mammoth Lakes, California.

However, things got off to a rocky start as a tremendous snowfall condensed what was supposed to be a six-day event into just three days.

“It felt like a snowpocalypse out there,” said Claudia Burgess, a member of the nordic ski club. “We couldn’t see out of the condo windows. … It felt like we were in a cave.”

As a result, the organizers and all the coaches made adjustments to condense the event into a 7.5-kilometer race on day one, speed sprints on day two and a 15-kilometer race to wrap things up on day three.

These three days were the most physically grueling races CSU had to compete in. Plus, the members had to fulfill their academic duties when they weren’t competing.

“It takes a lot out of you,” said Ethan Hobbs, senior officer. “But I think most people are just happy we were able to race that much.”


The Rams found plenty of success as a unit with three members placing in the top 15 overall in their respective male and female categories.

Burgess, who finished second of the nordic women, credits her success to her running background. The fifth-year student competed on the Colorado State cross country team for five years and the track and field team for four years, reaching the NCAA level in 2019 and 2021.

After all that time at the D1 level, Burgess decided it was time to switch over to something less demanding.

“It’s a good change of pace,” Burgess said. “I definitely had needed a little bit of a break after my five years of running for Colorado State.”

Hobbs comes from a similar background. When he’s not skiing nordic, he’s riding the mountains as a part of the cycling team. There’s plenty of crossover between the two sports, and they are both excellent at testing endurance alongside mental fortitude.

“The biggest thing is learning how to push yourself on your own,” Hobbs said. “Those are both sports where, in the races, you’re pushing yourself to the absolute physical limit.”

Despite the physical nature of the sport, members are allowed to go at their own pace, making everyone feel welcome as a member of the team.

“I like the relaxed setting,” Burgess said. “It’s cool that we’re able to be relaxed and have a relaxed format but then get the opportunity to still compete at a national level.”

While the ski season has ended for CSU, the nordic and alpine clubs will be back and better than ever next winter. To learn more about the team or to support the organization, check out the nordic team on their website, or on Instagram @nordicrams. You can find the alpine ski team on their website, or on Instagram @csualpineskiteam.

Editors note: this feature has been updated to reflect the accuracies of: the founders of the nordic ski team, as well as clarify that the nordic and alpine ski teams are two seperate entities. 

Reach Dylan Heinrich at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dylanrheinrich.