Raise your hand if you knew that UCSB has an alpine race team for snowboarders and skiers alike. If you did, did you know that they are pretty badass as well? While most of the Gaucho population probably wasn’t aware of a snow-based organization outside of the Ski and Snowboard Club, the alpine race team is actually recognized as a legitimate club team, but they compete against (and dominate) other Big West schools in the Southern California Collegiate Snowsports Conference.
“We compete in the SCCSC, and we meet up in Mammoth every other weekend,” senior team president Anne Wolfe said. “We compete against UCLA, USD, Davis, San Diego, LMU, everyone. It’s a pretty big collection of schools competing.”
This year, the team competed well enough to garner a whole slew of awards across all forms of competition, including first place in women’s freestyle ski, third place in women’s snowboarding giant slalom and third place in women’s ski giant slalom. The most important, though, was the overall first place in skiing for men and women combined.
“That was our biggest one,” Wolfe said. “It’s combined in the entire region, so we’re pretty stoked about that. We have some really devoted competitors, and the team members themselves became united as friends. I saw everybody going up on their own time, getting really into it this year. We kick ass because we’re enjoying it so much.”
Other than the team awards, the team also sent one freshman, Yulia Dubinina, to Nationals, where she promptly carried on the team’s dominating tradition.
“Yulia came back with like three trophies from Nationals,” Wolfe said. “She definitely was one of our fiercest competitors, and she stood out this year especially because she’s a freshman.”
Now that you’re inevitably wondering how to get on the team, it will be pleasing to know that the recruitment process is easy: just show up. Team secretary sophomore Haley Yolken encouraged anyone and everyone to come check the team out.
“We take people of all levels, it’s just a lot of fun,” Yolken said. “Most of our team this year is freshmen and they absolutely love it. We had a couple girls who had never really snowboarded before and they got to come up and stay with us. They got to be around people who are good, and they got good really fast themselves. Most people just don’t get that opportunity.”
Since the team is acknowledged by UCSB as being a school sport, it gets help with funding, which, when coupled with the team’s member dues, allows the team to go up to Mammoth pretty much every other weekend, where they party all night and ski all day.
“It’s super fun to party really hard and get out on the mountain at 8 a.m.,” Yolken said. “It’s just fun to go up all the time and have a place to stay and people to ski with.”