The ski & snowboard team takes fourth in conference


Both old and new members of the Lafayette ski and snowboard team recount their experiences on the slopes over the 2021-2022 season. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette ski and snowboard)

By Allie Campanella, Contributing writer

From students attending their first race to those who have competed for years, the lafayette ski & snowboard team welcomes students of many levels.

Covid had impacted the team participation, as it was inactive last season creating a gap in age ranges. However, the Leopards overcame that barrier and stormed to a fourth-place finish in the 10-team Atlantic Highlands Conference division of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA).

“This is a big rebuild year for us because last season our season was canceled,” senior president Caroline Burns said. “We’re missing a whole class of returners or people who would have been on the team for a year already. [The goal] was kind of trying to figure out how to bring back the ski team that had been active and well two years before and bring it back for this year.” 

One of the people who has aided the Leopards through this rebuild includes freshman Sebastian Bjorkeson, who won a race this past Sunday.

“Meeting so many people, especially as a freshman, has been unforgettable,” Bjorkeson said. He recalled his most memorable race, which was the weekend of Jan. 30 at Belleayre.

“The timing website was actually down during this race, so I had no idea how I was performing. After the race, my prediction was I would get around third or fourth,” Bjorkeson said. “To my shock, I was getting out of my ski gear in the lodge when Caroline ran over to me screaming ‘Oh my god, you won!’ I was honestly pretty shocked, especially being a freshman in this new college league.”

Senior Alex Lopresti, who had no prior experience competing before joining the team this year, spoke to the diversity of class and experience level the ski team has, as well as the strong community it has built quickly this season.

“He came up to me at the end of the competition on Sunday and said that ‘my last run was my best run of the season’ and he had this big smile on his face,” Burns said. 

The season for the ski team began early, with the best attendance coinciding with the very beginning of the spring semester. This past weekend they had a competition at Camelback Mountain. For alpine racing, the men’s team won first place and the women’s team got second on Saturday.

Individual Leopards also showed out on Saturday as junior Anna Boggess earned third in women’s snowboarding and senior Tessa Landon got first in women’s freestyle skiing in the conference. Senior Sam Ubertalli was another asset to the team’s success, as he placed first in several competitions during the tournaments.

Landon, who joined the ski team this year after getting back into the sport two years ago, said her win was unexpected but exciting.

“I think that the judges really just liked my energy and the costumes that I wore, but it’s been fun,” Landon said. The costumes included an elf onesie and a Pickle Rick suit.

With the fourth-place finish in the conference, the Leopards have earned a trip to the USCSA regional championships in two weeks. If the Leopards execute on the slopes, nationals are the next step. 

Lucie Lagodich ’22 contributed reporting.