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November 23, 2000



Carey Dodge looks for skis at the big sale, with the assistance of ski team member Mikai Staicu.

Carey Dodge looks for skis at the big sale, with the assistance of ski team member Mikai Staicu.

Photo by Martin Chamberland.

by John Austen

Members of the Concordia University ski team surprised even themselves last year by finishing second at the CIAU National Championships. With a strong contingent of veteran athletes and a promising crop of rookies, Concordia is hoping to be the king of the hill this season.

“Last year we did great at the Nationals and we didn’t even have our full team,” said 2001 captain Pierre-Etienne “Pete” Seguin. “Some of our athletes couldn’t participate because of exams.”

Seguin says that he can’t wait for the start of training camp, which will take place January 2-7 at Mont Blanc. “We have 22 athletes, men and women, signed up so far, and I know many of them are good skiers,” he said. “Winning races is great, but it’s more about just skiing, improving on your runs and having fun.”

Concordia is in a league with McGill, Bishop’s, Université de Montréal, UQAM, Laval, Sherbrooke and Ottawa. Once the season starts, the teams ski every second weekend for five weekends. There are a total of eight regular season races and two finals. The circuit takes place at various hills around the province.

For Seguin, a 21-year-old Finance student, being team captain means some added responsibilities. “I’m the guy who delegates. Every team member will have certain tasks to do” said Seguin. “Each university has to host one race a winter, so we have to make sure everything is organized properly. We also just completed a successful ski sale on campus.”

The annual ski sale, which featured all major brands for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding, took place on campus November 22-26.

“We haven’t got the final tally yet, but we figure we had 30-per-cent higher volume than last year,” said Yaron Conforti, the team’s treasurer. “Thanks to a lot of hard work by the team, we had excellent results.”

Conforti began skiing when he moved to Canada from his native South Africa when he was nine years old.

“I think I’m more Canadian now than anything else,” he said. “I love it here, and I love to ski. I would classify myself as a strong skier, but I’m not an experienced racer. I didn’t have a great year last season, so I’m looking for big things this time around.

“As a team, we need consistent top three and top five placings to get as many points as possible,” Conforti continued. “We have to be strong in both slalom and GS.”

Conforti says his favorite hill is Jay Peak in Vermont, whereas Seguin has a soft spot for Le Massif, just north of Quebec City.

“We had a great race last year at Le Massif,” said Seguin. “The hill really suits my skiing. Stoneham is a great mountain too.”

The ski team doesn’t get to use the official Stingers nickname, but the university does kick in $1,500 annually to help with expenses.

While the men have traditionally been the stronger skiers at the university, Yaron hopes that there will be a decent women’s team this season.

“Apparently there are a number of talented women coming out, including an exchange student from France,” said Conforti. “I’m going to go out on a limb and say we’ll have a very successful season. We have a good core group back and a lot of spirit. Now all we need is a bit of snow.”