A steady decline in the number of competitive student skiers in recent years has led to the recent decision to transition the ski team to a club sport.
While the shift means a change in the college account that funds the lift tickets and travel expenses for skiers – from the Athletics Department to the Student Government Association (SGA) – the athletes will continue to compete in the same division and continue to receive coaching.
“The change will enable us to meet the needs of student athletes and possibly engage a greater number of students who wish to develop their skills,” said Lynn Oberbillig, director of Smith College Athletics. “There are other club teams in our league right now that have competed as a club for years.”
Numbers of skiers have dwindled from a high of a dozen annually to as few as three in the past few years.
Until the club is chartered and eligible for funding from the SGA, the athletics department will continue to fund lift tickets and travel expenses, said Oberbillig.
Other club sports at Smith include rugby, ultimate Frisbee, fencing, synchronized swimming, cheerleading and ice hockey.