Come early January, members of the Staples ski team are expected to be gearing up for time trials, and preparing the start of the highly competitive ski season.
However, warm weather has forced the team to postpone time trials, and subsequently their season.
Originally scheduled for Jan. 11, the trials have been tentatively changed to Jan. 13, in hopes that cold weather will move in and allow for snowmaking at Mount Southington.
Mount Southington, where the team practices, is experiencing a record lack of snowfall this year. Due to unseasonable weather, there has been less than one inch of natural snowfall on the mountain.
By this time in 2015, Southington had experienced over 12 inches of snowfall, and 8 inches by this time in 2014.
These numbers are becoming increasingly alarming as the start of the season approaches.
“The warm weather keeps going on further and further than expected so it’s concerning that our season could end up being shortened,” captain Ben Friedman ’16 stated.
Despite the fact that the temperature in the Southington Ski Area this Jan. has been 12 degrees warmer than the historical average in the area, there is some hope of colder weather in the next few weeks.
Even more importantly, there is snow in the forecast for the coming days, and with it, hope that the season will begin without having to miss any races.
“Things finally turned the corner…it seems like winter is finally here,” Steven Positano, snow sports director at Southington said in a Jan. 8 interview with Channel 3.
“The season has already been pushed back a few weeks but the races have been rescheduled so we aren’t currently supposed to miss any,” Friedman ’16 added.
Southington has the ability to make snow for the race course if temperatures allow it. However, long stretches of below freezing weather have been difficult to come by this year.
The mountain has only been able to open one operational trail and has been closed for numerous days throughout the season due to rain and warmth.
Girls team captain Ruth Kissel ’16 remembers a few winters where there hasn’t been much snow, but said that, “I don’t think it’s ever been this warm.”
To keep in shape during the warm spell, the skiers have been participating in intense dryland workouts led by the captains and coach Courtney Ruggiero. These workouts include lengthy runs and core strengthening exercises.
Once the season gets underway, one thing is certain. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams are looking to make a run in states.
The boys are coming off an unprecedented 26-0 season, led by key returning skiers Campbell Ashman ’16 and Friedman ’16.
Both Ashman and Friedman recorded times in the top five racers in the field in multiple races last season, something few Staples skiers have done.
On the girls side, Sophia Gerrard ’18 and Emily Duranko ’16 lead the way.
“Everyone just can’t wait to get on the mountain,” said Kissel.