WVA has created a program for the 2020-21 FIS alpine season designed for students who have attended at least one semester of university/college and whose college may not be able to support them athletically this year. Ideal candidates for the program have shown athletic promise in competitive college programs and also exhibit strong leadership characteristics. With many schools and universities planning to go remote during the winter months, this program allows college athletes who may not have a current or appropriate team affiliation to accelerate their access to training during an unprecedented year.
Director of FIS Programs Andrew Gannon knows firsthand how the college season can wear on athletes. “As a former collegiate coach, I know the demands college life places on these athletes. The grind of class time and travel time to snow, often results in the basic ‘fun’ fundamental approach to skiing being thrown out the door. It becomes so important for them to get good blocks of skiing to help reinforce the fundamentals that are so important to stay fast.”
The WVA University Training Team aims to provided needed support to college athletes, and for college athletes to capitalize on their year by having consistent access to focused training this season.
University team members will be supported by WVA staff members and coaches. The program focuses on training, acknowledging that many college-aged athletes are more self-sufficient and prepared to race independently.
“With so much upheaval in our world over the last six months, we feel lucky to have the flexibility to offer a program that’s developmentally appropriate for college athletes,” says Tory Amorello, Executive Director and Head of School. “After supporting these athletes for so many years to help them achieve their goals of making the team and racing for top tier colleges, it’s hard to stop feeling like they are ‘our kids.’ Skiing is keeping us all grounded, and we want to rally around college athletes no less than our academy or weekend athletes.”
Although training is the primary focus, athletes will have access to fully participate in any WVA on-snow training camps that may be planned during the year, and to attend races alongside WVA student-athletes when appropriate. Participation in WVA University Team is contingent upon coach and Executive Director approval and athletes must be approved in advance of their registration. Spots on the team will be on a space available basis, to ensure coach: athlete ratios and quality training environments. The full program will run from December to April with additional four-week block options.