February 23rd, 2021
Get Your Outdoors On at UMF
As the 2020/2021 season has unfolded in a time of uncertainty, the UMaine Farmington snow sports teams have been prepared. The snow sports program consists of three different disciplines: Alpine, Freeride, and Nordic. All programs begin early, with dryland training for the Alpine Team; aerial sessions for the Freeride Team, and for the Nordic Team, miles of practice to get into shape for the winter sport they love.
UMaine Farmington snow sports participate in the Reynolds Division as a part of the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association and normally compete all around Maine and in New England against many other Division II & III schools. Although UMF’s teams on average are smaller than most, they are a force to be reckoned with. What they lack in team numbers, they make up for in dedication and on-hill talent.
At the beginning of the season, I spoke with Shawn Russell, the university’s freeride/snowboard coach. He explained why athletes choose to pursue their collegiate career at UMaine Farmington. “In my opinion, we have the best venue in the northeast, with Sugarloaf and Sunday River resorts close by, Saddleback reopening, and Titcomb Mountain minutes from campus,” he said. “The access is unmatched.” The snow sports coaches are geared up to provide for athletes amidst this season of uncertainty. “I can promise that we will make it the best season that we possibly can,” said Russell.
The geographic location of UMaine Farmington immerses its students in the heart of Maine’s western mountains. Nestled in the small town of Farmington, the snow sports teams are in reach of world-class destinations. For any snow sports athlete, it is easy to fall in love with this region of Maine while earning an affordable education.
UMaine Farmington has seen its fair share of success throughout history: podium finishes, trips to national events, and graduates earning positions in the snow sports world post-graduation. The university had established a plethora of knowledgeable and inspiring coaches who are focused and determined to provide all athletes with the opportunity to compete on a local, regional, and national level.
Sam Scheff, a UMaine Farmington senior and the captain of the Freeride/Snowboard Team, has already had the opportunity to compete in regional and national competitions through the Team. In his sophomore year, he earned the chance to join a select few in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he competed in his first national competitions. “Being on the Freeride Team is about representing the university,” said Scheff. “The best part is forming relationships with like-minded people, and the on-hill and academic support from the great coaches here at UMaine Farmington.”
The UMaine Farmington Alpine Team is headed by coach Andrew Willihan. In the past several years with the UMaine Farmington program, Willihan has rebuilt the Team to regional and national standards. Those who want to compete at a collegiate level ought to consider UMaine Farmington, according to Willihan. “The right choice is based on being able to gain a high-quality education for unbeatable value, while training and racing at the best resorts in the northeast,” he said. “For any skier who wants to be treated with the respect that matches their dedication to the sport, you cannot find an athletic department and team that can do what we do.”
— Story by Avery Boucher, Activity Maine’s Fall/Winter Outdoor Media Content internship student from the University of Maine Farmington