It’s college application time: early decisions are made, and forms are flying into admissions offices. For ski racers, choosing a school that allows for an athletic career and a successful off-the-slope life can be a challenge.

Do you go across the country? Do you stay local? Is NCAA the right choice, or is USCSA more your speed?

We asked college racers around the country for their advice and insights into the whole process.


RossBakerheadshotRoss Baker

School: St. Olaf’s College ’16
Division: USCSA
Major: Environmental Science

What’s one piece of advice you would give a high school student looking at college ski programs?
Understand the necessary financial commitment of the athlete — what the team will cover and what will be expected to be covered by the athlete. I’d also recommend that you have an opportunity to gain a firsthand experience of what the team dynamics are, because each team is different, and it’s important that it’s the right fit for you, just like the school.


AudreyHumeheadshotAudrey Hume

School: University of Alaska Anchorage ’18
Division: NCAA / RMISA
Major: Philosophy and Political Science

What’s one thing you wished you had asked a teammate before committing to the school?
What they thought of the coach, and more about their experiences freshman year. What should I have expected? Racing collegiately is substantially different from competing and training full-time — 100 percent of my time used to be devoted to skiing, but school’s now priority numero uno. Also, I wasn’t prepared to face the fact that school and education were fun and I actually wanted to pursue my studies. In high school, studies were a necessity and tolerated— my freshman year, college was fun, and I was enjoying learning. I came to realize that there was a world beyond skiing and I needed to focus on my education and my future just as much as athletics.


BobbyFarrellheadshotBobby Farrell

School: University of Vermont ’16
Division: NCAA / EISA
Major: Mechanical Engineering

What’s one thing you wish you’d asked your coach before committing to the school?
How understanding is the college when athletes miss school for non-collegiate races?


10670981Kristine Haugen

School: University of Denver ‘16
Division: NCAA / RMISA
Major: Real Estate

What’s one piece of advice you would give a high school student looking at college ski programs?
Know what your goals are. Are you trying to reach the top? Then, you have to pick the school with the serious and top skiers and a team with a good environment. If you’re trying to reach the World Cup and using college as a stepping stone, then look into the ski programs that have other athletes with the same goals.


AlexMohbatheadshotAlex Mohbat

School: Saint Michael’s College ’18
Division: NCAA / EISA
Major: Computer Science

What’s one piece of advice you would give a high school student looking at college ski programs?
Don’t just apply to the school knowing how good the ski team is. You should make sure the atmosphere you will be training and living in is also good. The atmosphere plays a big part in deciding how well you’ll perform during the season.


PerryShaffnerheadshotPerry Schaffner

School: St. Olaf’s College ’18
Division: USCSA
Major: English

Is there anything else you think prospective college skiers should know when selecting a school?
Consider the USCSA approach — not everyone can ski for an NCAA Division 1 school. USCSA is still competitive, but it is also a ton of fun!