Fully sending with Wilson’s skiing club

Madelyn Shapiro

Three times a year, the Wilson ski team bundles up and heads out to Liberty Mountain Ski Resort in Fairfield, Pennsylvania for a day filled with skiing. The team is coached by science teachers Katherine Dougherty, Daniel Barringer, and Daniela Munoz.

Dougherty explained that she became interested in coaching as a result of her positive experiences skiing for her high school’s team. “I thought [coaching] would be perfect because that was really my only opportunity to ever go skiing, so I figured, for a lot of students here, it’s probably theirs as well,” she said.

Although many of the students have skied prior to coming on trips with the team, newcomers are welcomed and everyone is invited to take a ski lesson in the morning. “We get discounted prices from Liberty for lift lessons and rentals, so they’re really encouraging of DCPS students participating,” Dougherty said.

Around 30 to 40 students participate on each trip, which is taking place on January 23, February 11, and March 4. Students depart from Wilson for Liberty at 7 a.m., then spend their morning either skiing on their own or taking a lesson. After a group lunch at noon, students are free to go off and ski until 3:30 p.m., then they pack up and go home.

This year, DCIAA has reclassified skiing as a club sport. This means that the team no longer receives funding for buses or has organized competitions against other DCPS schools. “Now, it’s really at the school level for the coaches to figure out all the logistics and everything,” Dougherty explained. To counteract the higher trip prices due to the costs of the buses, the team also plans to do more fundraising.

In past years, the Wilson team would compete annually against other DCPS schools in a city championship, which was organized by DCIAA. Students would be divided into groups based on skill level—beginner, intermediate, novice, and advanced. They then would compete against other people in their category for the best times. Wilson placed third in the championships in both 2017 and 2018.

At the competitions, students skied down the hill one by one. Officials at the top and bottom of the hill communicate via walkie talkie to time athletes as they ski down the hill. The beginner and intermediate skiers had the same course, and the novice and advanced skiers competed on a different course.

“I like the ski team because it is a good way to release any school-related stress, and also because I get to spend time with new people,” junior Paola Trinh said. Trinh placed seventh in the advanced category in the 2017 city championships, and fourth in 2018.

Trinh encouraged all Wilson students interested in skiing to join the team. “It is so much fun, and even if you don’t know how to ski, it is a great experience with a supportive community,” she said.