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Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire


Letter to the Editor: I came to Whitman for skiing


I came to Whitman for the ski team.   I really wish it weren’t that simple, but it is.   In high school I was a fairly successful skier, I was a successful student too, but I really considered myself a skier.   When I started looking at schools I quickly realized that I was going to be forced to sacrifice one of my ideals.   I could go to one of the large universities with a varsity team, sacrificing my academic ideals to maybe make the ski team by the time I was a senior.   I could, as most of my skiing friends did, move across the country to attend a small liberal arts school with a varsity team.   Or I could sacrifice my dreams of racing as a varsity athlete in college and attend one of myriad schools with a club team.   When I discovered Whitman, the ONLY small school on the west coast with a varsity ski team, I thought I was in heaven.   I was so excited upon arriving on campus. I was positive I had found the perfect school for me. I had small, academically challenging classes, amazing fellow students who were (almost) as geeky as me, a beautiful campus, a wonderful dorm room, I was within twelve hours (driving) of home, I even found a cousin who was living in Walla Walla and a varsity ski team.   I have had a difficult year, I made the traveling team then promptly got sick barely recovering in time for our first races of the season. As a result, I did not have as good a season as I would have hoped.   What has always kept me happy during difficult and disappointing seasons before is the knowledge that I can refocus on my training over the summer and come back stronger than ever.   This year I don’t have that consolation; I won’t be able to make that comeback, Whitman won’t have a ski team anymore.   My family, like the college, is facing economic problems, and to stay here I will likely have to take out additional, most likely unsubsidized, loans.   Now that Whitman has cut the ski program, I am left in a quandary: can I afford to go even further into debt to stay at a school that doesn’t support me as a full person, student and athlete?
– Angela Raso ’12

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    Mark SansomMay 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Don’t give up! At the moment, skiing may be done as a varsity sport, but it can and should live on as a competitive club program. If you’re locked out of NCAA competition, petition to join the USCSA. If that fails, have everyone on the team purchase individual USSA competitor memberships. When the administration knows that the team is serious about competing (under any banner), maybe they’ll loosen up on how the team gets financed.

    Once you’ve got your racing sanction, you need to get busy with funding.

    Get creative.

    In England, a group of internet savvy soccer fans raised enough money, via online pledges, to purchase an entire national soccer team.


    How many Whitman alums would pledge a few dollars each year to fund the ski team? I’d say more than a few, if they felt they were getting their money’s worth. That means you’ll have to be willing to compete, AND put on a show for your stakeholders. Put up a website with video, a team blog, music, virtual reality panoramas, an event calendar, a link to the team Facebook page, a team merchandise page, and anything else you can think of that makes stakeholders feel like their part of the team.

    The ski team should not operate in a vacuum. Go public. Use other student resources to creatively reach the objective. By including others, you strengthen your position as a valuable asset to the Whitman experience.