Thank you for this opportunity to speak to the USST for its lack of cooperation with the collegiate system.
For years, when Pat Miller and I were rebuilding the Uni. of Utah’s ski racing program (1976-1981), cooperation between the colleges and the USST was sketchy at best. We were just another feeder program for the USST. I wholeheartedly side with Mr. Dodge in his frustrations for the ability of the USST to do so. Cooperation is still woefully lacking. Not much has changed in 40 years. Shame on you Tiger. It was the NCAA system that helped you shine.
Back then, Collegiate skiing got a bum rap from the skiing community at large for its foreign recruitment. I was chastised by many local Intermountain Skiing parents for doing so. As the head Alpine coach at Utah, we tried our best to support American Nordic and Alpine ski racers.
It wasn’t until the winter of 1979 our attitude on recruiting shifted. At the time, Utah had one of the best American ski jumpers in the US. He was given an ultimatum by the USST if he was to be considered to compete in the 1980 Olympics. To do so, he would have to spend the winter of 1979 in Europe. We pleaded with the Director of the USST Nordic program to work with us on sharing the jumper’s talent for the NCAA final competition in Steamboat, CO. The Jumper decided after our unproductive haggling with the USST to leave us in the lurch. Going into the final day of competition with ski jumping, Utah was in 1st place ahead of the Uni. of Colorado. By the end of that day, we finished second 23 points behind the University of Colorado.
It was much safer for us in the later years to go to Europe for our competitors than try to ford an alliance with the USST. I beg Mr. Shaw to support collegiate skiing. It was his bread and butter back when he was competing for Dartmouth. Utah Racers like Mark Halverson would never have made it to the USST if not for the University feeder programs.
— Roo Harris
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