|Geordie Lonza '13|
Skiing has had a long and rich history at Williams. The ski team
has grown from a club sport of a few individuals to an NCAA
Division I varsity sport for both women and men.
The first ski team came into existence with the organization of the Williams Outing Club in 1915, and in 1924 this active and successful club sport won the Fosch Cup in Lake Placid, NY, to earn the title of Eastern Champions. In 1950, when the Eastern Collegiate Ski Union was formed as the governing body of intercollegiate skiing Williams recognized the ski team as a varsity sport.
Coach Ralph Townsend took charge of the team, which had been placed in Division II. In just two years Townsend elevated the Ephs to Division I status where they continue to compete. Townsend dedicated 22 years to the ski team at Williams. It was with his guidance that the college committed to providing excellent training facilities within easy access of campus. The Ralph J. Townsend Ski Area was the main training site for alpine and jumping during the fifties and sixties, with its 30- and 40-meter natural jumps and one of the most challenging giant slalom runs in the east. Williams continues its commitment to quality training facilities close to campus with both Nordic and Alpine training sites located at nearby Prospect Mt. and Jiminy Peak ski areas.
Bud Fisher took over responsibility for the team in 1974 and has
guided the team through the many changes brought to the sport of
skiing during the seventies and eighties. As training methods
intensified and specialized, the four-event skier and jumping
became obsolete and the team became separated into specialized
Alpine and Nordic squads. The advent of coeducation was a milestone
of the seventies, offering women the opportunity to participate in
and add to the skiing program at Williams.
The first women's ski team was organized in 1972 by student/coaches Deb Marshall and Carmany Heilman. The women started out in Division II of the Women's Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (WEISA) and moved quickly to Division I.
Karen Fisher was the first full-time women's ski coach and from
1974 to 1977 she helped the team to improve and establish a solid
and respected position in Division I.
Women's collegiate skiing was growing steadily all across the country and in 1975 the first Women's National Ski Championship was held at Boyne Mt., MI.
Leslie Orton coached the team from 1979 until 1985, and each year brought teams producing several All-Americans to national championships sponsored by the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). Both the size and spirit of the women's ski team has grown since it's founding. The Alumnae Skiing Award was the first individual sports award for women at Williams.
In 1983 the AIAW disbanded and the NCAA sponsored the women's national championship combined with the men's. For the first time men's and women's results were scored together to determine the national champion.
The 2009 Ephs racked up a 14th place finish at the NCAA Division I Skiing championships on the strength of senior Eric Mann's 4th place finish in the giant slalom, marking his third All-American honor. Mann also finished 14th in the slalom. Junior Alex Dyroff was 18th in the slalom and 28th in the giant slalom. Both Mann and Dyroll captured All-East honors on the year.
Junior Emily Porter placed 24th in the giant slalom and 29th in the slalom, while first year Nordic competitor Dimitri Luthi represented the Ephs in the 10k (28th) and 20k (33rd) races.
competing in 1968
Olympic 50 k
At the 2012 NCAA Championships Geordie Lonza '13 finished third in the giant slalom and became the first Eph woman to podium at the NCAA championships since Jen Seed in 1994. Lonza was also the first Eph All-American Alpine skier since Cecily Lowenthal (2003).
Skiing at Williams revolves around two primary objectives: providing a quality racing experience for as many alpine and cross-country racers as possible and competing at the highest level of excellence in all skiing events on the Division I Eastern Carnival circuit through the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA).
Although Williams does not offer athletic scholarships, the Ephs
have consistently placed in the top five at Eastern carnivals and
the top ten in the NCAA Division I Championships.
We have been able to accomplish both objectives over the past years because Williams has a long tradition of supporting intercollegiate ski racing and we have outstanding facilities that offer excellent training opportunities for both our Alpine and Nordic skiers.
Jiminy Peak is presently the main training site for the Alpine
team. The skiers take advantage of a quad chair lift servicing the
race slopes, and also have the benefit of Jiminy's fine snowmaking
facilities on one of the best slalom and giant slalom hills on the
carnival circuit. The team also uses nearby Stratton Mt. and Mt.
Snow to augment their GS training.
The Nordic team trains and races at Prospect Mt. Ski Touring Center on trails groomed to racing condition daily. Jiminy and Prospect provide easily accessible training sites and allow the Ephs to host its highly popular and competitive Winter Carnival.