The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Peak performance: Ski and Snowboard Club looks toward regionals

W&L’s Ski and Snowboard Club members say they want to have some fun on the slopes for a low cost
Evan DiPaula
Evan DiPaula, ‘24, catches air while making a left ski grab.

Two years ago, Ben McClure, ’24, had ony skied a couple dozen times in his life. He started skiing when he was in middle school, but being from South Carolina, he couldn’t go very often. McClure had one mission when he got to Washington and Lee.

“I had the goal of getting the most amount of people to ski or snowboard for as cheap as possible,” McClure said.

Now, over the last two years, the reviver and president of Ski and Snowboard club is not only on a mountain every week, but he is helping the men’s racing team push for a start in regionals.

“We got close last year,” McClure said.

Currently, the men’s racing team is sitting in seventh place. They compete against much larger schools like the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and The University of North Carolina. But the team is scored on its top three finishers, so it can be competitive despite being smaller than most other teams.

“I think if we go out and we get done what we need to get done these next few weekends, we should be in a good spot,” McClure said.

A large part of the team’s success rests on the skis of Billy Queally, ’24. The former football player turned ski racer wins almost every race he competes in from a field of about 100 competitors.

“This year has been the biggest step the club team has taken since I have been a student here,” Queally said. “It feels like a lot more people are bought in on the season.”

The team will compete for a spot in regionals over the next couple of weeks at Wintergreen and Massanutten. Regionals will begin Feb. 23. But the racing is not why McClure does it.

“Racing’s fun and it would be great if we made regionals,” McClure said. “But the fact that we are able to get so many people on the mountain for so little money is awesome.”

One person the club introduced to skiing was Evan DiPaula, ’24. DiPaula grew up in Florida and had never skied until McClure invited him to a Thursday night practice last year. Forty-eight hours after that practice, DiPaula raced with the team.

“It’s kind of crazy when you’re up next, and you see the mountain below you,” DiPaula said. “But I’ll tell you finishing a run was one of the greatest feelings of my life.”

Dues for the ski and snowboard club are $120, which includes the following:

  • $10 weekend lift tickets wherever the team is traveling
  • Free transportation
  • Discounted lodging for travel weekends
  • $110 off the Ikon pass
  • Discount savings on popular outdoor apparel brands

McClure said that people don’t need to be members of the club to join a trip to a Thursday practice or weekend race.

“We are just happy to have people come ski,” McClure said. “You don’t have to be a racer to just come hang out and have a good time.”

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