Skiing has been a part of life at Massachusetts-based Williams College since the skiing team’s establishment in 1915, through their Eastern championship win in 1924 to its recognition as a varsity sport in 1950.
Ragnar Horn is a keen skier; he supports the ski team as well as being a proud financial backer of the college. With Mr. Horn’s support, the team competes as part of the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, or EISA.
The Legacy of a Great Coach
The team began its varsity career under the tutelage of Coach Ralph J. Townsend, who needed only two years to take the team from Division II to Division I, where they have stayed. Coach Townsend stayed with the team for more than two decades, even lending his name to their challenging training centre: the Ralph J. Townsend Ski Area.
The 1970s: Bringing Women Into the Sport
Williams began taking female students in 1972, and with that change came the introduction of women’s skiing and Coach Karen Fisher. As the popularity of skiing grew among American women, Coach Fisher took the Williams’ women’s team to Division I in just three years. By that time, the first women’s National Ski Championship was hosted in Michigan.
Today’s Facilities: The Alpine Ski Team
Today, Williams College provides top-class training facilities to the ski teams. Jiminy Peak plays host to the Alpine team, where team members benefit from one of the best slopes available for both regular and giant slalom. If conditions require it, the team can make use of snow machines. For speed training, there are chair-lift accessible race slopes, and nearby facilities at Mount Snow and Stratton Mountain supplement those available at Jiminy Peak.
Training the Nordic Ski Team
The Williams College Nordic team trains at Prospect Mountain Ski Touring Center. Here, careful daily grooming of the runs guarantees excellent training conditions for the athletes.
The men’s and women’s Nordic teams both did very well in the 2017 competition season before going on to a promising training season. Under the leadership of their team captains, Jack Schrupp and Sarah Becker, both teams were expected to achieve great things in the 2017-18 season.