March 27, 2014

By Josh Wynne, Staff Writer

Ski Slope Visited by Ski Team Members (courtesy of Jeremy Demers)

Ski Slope Visited by Ski Team Members (courtesy of Jeremy Demers)

Last week, six members of the University of Maine at Farmington men’s ski team

competed at the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA)

National Championships, in Lake Placid, New York.

The UMF ski team qualified as four-way team, which requires athletes to compete in

several events, that include slalom, giant slalom, for alpine and skate, and classical for

Nordic. “We were one of four teams that did this and the only skimeisters (both alpine

and Nordic),” said junior captain Sebestien Dumont.

The team included, David Berthiaume, Geoff Ballou, Bill Asbell, Sebestien Dumont,

Sean McCoy, and Jeremy Demers.

On Monday morning the skiers, and Coach Harry Ricker traveled for eight hours

before reaching the former winter Olympic facility. “The six athletes and coach were

elated as we crossed state lines until reaching Lake Champlain,” said sophomore,

Demers.

On Tuesday, UMF featured five men in the 8.5K Nordic freestyle race on the Mt.

Van Hoevenberg course. On the second day of the competition, the team competed in

giant slalom and also freestyle slope style, which featured talented senior, Berthiaume.

Berthiaume, also lead the Beavers on Thursday in the skier-cross race, finishing 24th

.

“Wednesdays giant slalom was ‘gnarly’ in the middle of the blizzard. Athletes endured a

trifecta of obstacles: snow limited visibility and wind nipped our faces,” said Demers.

The final two days of competition, UMF entered five athletes in the challenging slalom

race, as well as three members in the Nordic team relay race.

After the week’s competition, UMF finished 17th out of 22 teams. Competing, as a

four-way team is difficult as athletes are competing in several events throughout the

week “Its pretty good they beat anyone doing that,” said Coach Harry Ricker.

Unfortunately for the ski-team Ricker, will be retiring after 25 years of coaching. “This

was my last one, but it was a very fun group to work with,” said Ricker.

As the teams’ season has concluded they understand how difficult next winter will be

without their legendary coach. “Without Harry it will be so hard… He means so much to

this team and the person who replaces him will never be able to do what he does for us.

He is one of the biggest names in Maine ski racing and wherever we go we are known

because of him,” said Dumont.

Throughout the week the team had several highlights off the slope. On Thursday the

team had opportunity to free-ski at Whiteface Mountain; the Olympic Mountain in Lake

Placid with the East’s largest vertical. “Our day was filled with epic ‘pow’ runs through

treacherously steep and tight wooded glades,” said Demers. The team also toured the

Lake Placid facility, including the infamous 1980, “Miracle On Ice” hockey arena.

After a season successful season, that was bittersweet with Ricker’s departure, Demers

notes that next season “We want to keep the program strong and continue to represent

UMF in a positive manner.”