Ski team continues to expand after 35 years of University sponsorship

Bethany Blass, Sports Co-Editor

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The Bucknell University Ski Team (BUST) is a co-ed, on-campus club for students interested in getting involved with the competitive and social aspects of skiing and snowboarding during their time at the University. The team competes in a six-week season within the Allegheny Collegiate Ski Conference (ACSC) to contest neighboring schools like Penn State, Navy, Villanova, University of Pittsburgh, and West Virginia. This past season, the team traveled to Elk Mountain, Ski Sawmill, Wisp, Denton Hill, Tussey Mountain, and Blue Knob resorts to compete. The team journeys all over the region on weekends throughout the semester to race, traveling as far as West Virginia and New York. According to president Wilson Powell ’16, the team has made it to Regionals several seasons in a row, and in 2013 the team qualified for Nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho.

“We are proud of the fact that year after year we continue to always qualify for Regionals,” co-captain Cristina Bartolacci ’17 said. “Having seven other teams in our conference doesn’t always make it easy, but we work hard and are proud of that.”

The roots of the ski team can be traced all the way back to 1851, around the time of the University’s founding. A group of adventurers trekked to local ridges to spend their weekends skiing and racing, which paved the way for the BUST to be officially established. James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, was an active member on the University’s executive board; his infatuation with skiing led him to make hefty donations to the school’s club team. BUST became an official school-sponsored club in 1898 due to the legitimacy those donations brought. It wasn’t until 1980 that the BUST joined the ACSC to compete.

“The best part about being on the team is being on the mountain with everyone, Bucknell racers and other school’s racers alike,” Bartolacci said. “Everyone is excited to be there and is always cheering someone on. It’s a really infectious environment, especially when the snow cooperates and the conditions are great!”

“It has been a great opportunity for me to meet a very large, diverse group of people who share my passion for skiing,” Powell said. “I love being able to form a great bonding friendship with other members of the team. It is also great to escape from campus for weekends in the cold winter months.”

The BUST has been supported for over 30 years at the University, continuously welcoming new members from a wide range of racing experiences. Many members knew about the reputable program even before arriving at the University, which has helped the club team grow and develop. Along with the competitive aspects of racing throughout the semester, the 130-member team also spends time socializing. The athletes meet on Thursday nights for social events to mentally and physically prepare for upcoming races.

“I have met and made some of my closest friends through the group of people that are brought together in BUST,” co-captain Danielle Sargenti ’16 said. “Being a captain this year has really rounded out the experience for me, and I can’t imagine what Bucknell would have been had I not joined this team.”

“The best part about being on the team is all the people you meet that you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise, and also the camaraderie of the team. This campus is often segregated by age/Greek affiliation/whatever else, and on ski team, all that goes out the window,” co-captain Temerson Alexander ’16.

She continued, “Everyone on our team is so inclusive and it doesn’t matter if you’re an all-star skier or just learning; kids on the team are just happy to meet other people who enjoy the snow as much as they do.”

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