7 SSWSC Alpine skiers ink to continue sport in college | SteamboatToday.com

7 SSWSC Alpine skiers ink to continue sport in college

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Jaelie Hovey earned sixth and 11th at the Colorado Ski Cup giant slalom races at Steamboat Resort on Jan. 22.

Coming off one of the most successful seasons for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Alpine ski team, seven athletes have signed to continue the sport in college.

Sequoia Anstine and Jaelie Hovey are both headed to Bates College, a small school in Maine.

Hovey has always wanted to ski in college, and Bates checks all her boxes.

“Going to (Steamboat Mountain School) makes any school seem big, so I didn’t have my eye on a giant school,” she said. “I always wanted to go to a smaller, liberal arts school. I can play soccer there, which I’m probably going to do. The smaller community, it’s easier to make relationships with people and connect with people when it’s smaller. As a ski team, it’s not as intense, so it’s easier to balance everything.”

Hovey is also an excellent soccer player, but skiing holds a special place in her heart. She found it hard to explain exactly what she loved about the sport but was sure others would have the same trouble.

“It’s a brutal sport, but it’s also the best feeling in the world to go out and get some fresh air and lay some arcs,” she said. “I just like the feeling of carving, and laying it over is so much better than what you get from any other sport, in my opinion.”

SSWSC Alpine Competitive Program Director Tyler Shepherd is confident the pair will do well at the collegiate level based on what he saw from them over the past year.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Sequoia Anstine finished 25th in a slalom race during the Colorado Ski Cup at Steamboat Resort on March 30. (Photo by Shelby Reardon)

“Their work ethic is tremendous,” Shepherd said. “They both have great attitudes. They came to training and conditioning with great attitudes all the time and wanting to get better and stronger. They were very coachable. … They genuinely make changes in their skiing to try and improve, and they were willing to fail.”

Additionally, Dominic Rainville will attend University of New Hampshire, Cam Smith will ski at Boston College, Jay Poulter is going to Middlebury College, and Cooper Puckett and Jordan Simon are headed to Dartmouth College.

“For the past five to six years, we’ve had one of the stronger ski teams in the Rocky region,” said Mike Bansmer, SSWSC’s former head FIS coach. “They’re motivated and driven. They kind of came together as a pretty tight knit team over the past couple years. They push each other in the gym; they’re good teammates and like to compete with each other and beat each other, but help each other along in the process. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons they’ll find success.”

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Jordan Simon tucks around gate in a giant slalom race of the Spring Series at Steamboat Resort.

Puckett and Poulter are in a unique position since they not only were offered spots on NCAA ski teams but were nominated to the national team, opportunities that conflict with one another.

“I’m so grateful for both opportunities,” Puckett said. “I’m just so thankful for everyone who’s helped me make both opportunities available.”

Puckett said he’s pretty much decided to attend Dartmouth in the fall but not ski for the college and instead, ski with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Alpine Development Team. He will train with the development team and its coaches through the winter and summer, then reassess and potentially join the Dartmouth team the following year.

“I’m most excited just to see what I can do when I don’t have school in the winter and just really see what’s possible with all these resources,” he said. “We have a great team, and I’m just excited to see how far I can go.”

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Cooper Puckett finished eighth in a giant slalom race of the Spring Series at Steamboat Resort.

Poulter, who came to the SSWSC from Vermont, will face a similar decision: Middlebury team or development team.

Over the next few months, there could be more SSWSC athletes signing as other colleges complete their rosters.

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