Williams College in Massachusetts has a long and rich history of skiing. The Williams Outing Club, from which the university’s first ski team came, was established in 1915, becoming Eastern champions by 1924 through winning the Frosch Cup. The ski team at Williams College has been recognised as a varsity sport since 1950.
Ragnar Horn is currently a financial supporter of Williams College and, as an avid skier himself, supports the college ski team. The Williams College ski team competes through the EISA (Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association) on the Eastern Carnival Division I circuit. You can learn a little more about the EISA by watching the short video attachment to this post.
The Early Years of Varsity Skiing: 1950-1970
As a varsity team, the Williams College ski team entered Division II under the leadership of Coach Ralph Townsend. The Ephs were elevated to Division I in just two short years and have competed at that level ever since. Townsend worked as the team coach for 22 years, guiding the college towards the provision of excellent training facilities for skiers that could be accessed easily from campus. It was for this reason that the main alpine and jumping training site used by the team throughout the 1950s and 1960s was named the Ralph J. Townsend Ski Area. The ski centre featured one of the most challenging runs for giant slalom as well as natural jumps of 30 and 40 metres.
Women’s Skiing was introduced at Williams College for the first time in 1972 as the university became coeducational. The first full-time skiing coach for women was Karen Fisher, who over three years helped the team to establish a solid position in Division I. This was a time when skiing as a sport for women was rapidly increasing in popularity across the United States. The first National Ski Championship for women was held in 1975 at Boyne Mt. in Michigan. The first individual sports award to be issued at Williams College for women was the Alumnae Skiing Award.
In the infographic attachment you can see some of the top winners and record breakers of the Women’s Alpine Ski World Cup since it began in 1967.
Ski Facilities at Williams College
Williams College currently uses two ski facilities near to campus, one for the Alpine team and the other for the Nordic team.
The Alpine team has its main training facilities at Jiminy Peak, which has one of the best hills on the carnival circuit for slalom and giant slalom complete with snow-making facilities and race slopes serviced by a quad chair lift. This training area is further supplemented by Mt. Snow and Stratton Mt., both nearby facilities to augment the team’s giant slalom training.
The Prospect Mt. Ski Touring Center is where the Williams College Nordic ski team races and trains, on trails that are groomed daily to racing conditions.
The Nordic Ski Team
The Nordic ski team at Williams College had a remarkable season in 2017, followed by a productive season of training for both the men’s and women’s teams. The men’s team was captained by Jack Schrupp and the women’s team by Sarah Becker, with both teams including a mixture of veteran Ephs skiers and new young talent. Both teams were showing strong potential to achieve NCAA qualification for the 2017-2018 season, which opened with the Colby Carnival on the 13th of February.
Nordic skiing refers to several recreational skiing disciplines in which the ski boot is fixed so the heel can lift off the ski. These include Telemark skiing and cross-country skiing. You can learn more about the discipline of cross-country skiing via the embedded PDF.
Ragnar Horn is the chairman of the Norwegian private investment company Taconic AS. Born in Norway, Horn moved to America to study for his BA in Economics at Williams College in Massachusetts, going on to complete his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Harvard Business School.
Previous to his position at Taconic AS, Horn was the Chairman of RS Platou ASA – the shipbrokerage company that his grandfather founded in the 1930s – as well as having gained experience in investment banking at Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse First Boston.