Oda Karlsen Bekkestad is a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, United States. Ms. Bekkestad shares her insights into the US college skiing on the Daily Skier pages.
American college skiing has a reputation for being a skier’s way of ending their career. Injuries, parties and a lack of structure is just some of the descriptions used to confirm this stereotype. However, stereotypes aren’t always accurate. Being a student-athlete can be a springboard to a long and successful athletic career.
As a college skier you have tons of recourses available to you. Not only for improving your athletic ability, but also for developing academically. Nutritionists, coaches, therapists and tutors are just some of the recourses you can take advantage of. Most student-athletes have support systems that are similar to what pro skiers have.
Not only are there support systems in place to ease everyday life: There are also scholarships to ease the students’ financial burden.
Almost every division one, two and three programs have scholarships in place that can cover everything from food to tuition. Depending on the athlete’s ability going into the program, the coach will determine how much money he or she will receive. If your results are good enough, you won’t have to spend a dime of your own savings during the four-year period you stay at university.
In addition to the recourses available, the everyday life of a college-athlete is much like the everyday life of a professional skier. Obviously, minus the 8AM classes, study tables and the constant pressure to pass your next exam.
Skiers at the college level usually work out twice a day, with coaches present at every workout. These workouts are scheduled around your classes and its ensured that you get sufficient recovery time between every ski or run.
Several professional skiers have benefited from the student-athlete experience. Amongst them are US national team member Sophie Caldwell, who graduated from Dartmouth in 2012. Caldwell pursued a degree in psychology at the prestigious school, who is known for having one of the best Nordic skiing programs in the country.
In conclusion, college skiing deserves a reputation far greater than what it currently possesses. The four year period that combines skiing and studies can be a steppingstone to life as a professional athlete.