Sure, the West Virginia University Ski Team can really tear up the slopes. The mens team recently raced to sixth place at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships at Elk Mountain near Scranton, Pa. But the WVU Ski Team is not just about the adrenaline rush of bolting from the starting gate and speeding down mountains.

Its about pridepride in the team and WVU , members say. The Ski Team is coming off of one of its most successful seasons yet. Saturday (Feb. 24) marked the second consecutive top 10 finish for the men at regionals. The teams impressive showingup four spots from last yearfollows on the heels of a victory at the 2007 Allegheny Conference of the U.S. Collegiate Ski Association championship at Tussey Mountain in Boalsburg, Pa.

The last time WVU won the conference was in 1984, said Doug Lesser, vice president and team co-captain. What makes it even sweeter is the team beat 10 other schools from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Marylandsome of which offer skiing as an official team sport. At WVU , skiing is a club sport, which means the group is organized by students. Jan Palmer, director of Student Health Service at WVU , serves as the adviser.

Thats the great thing. We went out there as a club and really proved ourselves in the conference,first-year Ski Team member Bryan Church said of the upset.The men arent the only ones finding success on the slopes. WVU women continue to improve, finishing fourth in the conference and 15th at regionals.

Church, who has been skiing since he was 4, says competing isnt just about titles and trophies.You get some self-satisfaction from winning, but mainly, its the team that has won,he said.Theres a sense of team pride and school pride as wellgoing there as a Mountaineer. We win with a combined score, so its really a team effort.

The WVU Ski Team was formed in the early 1980s and has about 40 members. It practices once a week from 5-8 p.m. at Wisp Resort in McHenry, Md.The team usually races during the first five weekends of the spring semester. During competitions, students compete in the slalom and giant slalom with men and women scored separately.

To cover entry fees and hotel expenses, the group depends on the WVU Sports Club Program, sponsors, fund-raisersT-shirt sales, raffles and moreand membership dues.The great thing about it being a club is that its more loosely operated,Church said.Going to races isnt mandatory. You do as much or as little as you want. You have fun, and it doesnt interfere with classes.

The team is a diverse group of students with different majors and backgrounds, headded. There are members who have never raced before and some like Lesser who havebeen skiing for about as long as theyve been walking. One or two, in fact, have raced in Europe.

Members of the WVU Ski Team are:

  • Pat Aldrich, a general studies student from Rochester, N.Y.Kara Barnes, a journalism major from Falling Waters
  • Ian Beckner, a business and economics major from DavisDoug Bell, a marketing major from Wheeling
  • Emily Bowman, a journalism major from Deep Creek, Md.Bryan Church, a public relations major from Clarksburg
  • Beth Clayton, a communication studies major from Berwyn, Pa.Doug Colligan, a business and economics major from Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Kelly Corbitt, an elementary education/multidisciplinary studies major from Sykesville, Md.Craig Cuthbert, an accounting major from Morgantown
  • Jeff Davis, a business and economics major from Underhill Center, Vt.Staci Galloway, a marketing and Spanish double major from Weirton
  • Emily Harless, an international studies major from CharlestonAshley Herdman, an English major from Montgomery Village, Md.
  • Madeleine Hoden, an exercise physiology major from Warren, Pa.Jordan Jarrett, a general studies student from Beckley
  • Maggie Kimmich, a marketing and foreign languages double major from ParkersburgDoug Lesser, an exercise physiology major from York, Pa.
  • Erica Lesser, a physical education/teacher education major from York, Pa.Ty Lettelleir, a geography major from Bloomington, Ind.
  • George Lovegrove, a biology major from DanielsChristie Matviko, an elementary education and multidisciplinary studies major from Leechburg, Pa.
  • Ian McCulloch, a biochemistry/biology major from BeckleyEliot McGuire, a biology major from Newtown, Pa.
  • Dane Morris, a biochemistry/chemistry major from Murrysville, Pa.Nick Natale, a management major from Glenelg, Md.
  • Lauren Nicholson, a biology major from WheelingRyan Pearl, an industrial engineering major from Walkersville, Md.
  • Elliott Perfetti, an electrical engineering major from Deep Creek Lake, Md.Byron Pitulski, an environmental geoscience major from Murrysville, Pa.
  • Brent Puller, an accounting major from Brookville, Pa.Bill Rosen, an aerospace engineering major from New Market, Md.
  • Adam Sadowski, a biochemistry major from BeckleySam Schau, a biology major from Beckley
  • Thaddeus Schau, a philosophy major from BeckleyCallie Smithson, a dental hygiene student from San Diego
  • Derek Stumpf, a business and foreign languages double major from Pico, Vt.Ian Twardus, an accounting major from Morgantown.

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