For over a year, Paul Smith’s College has been on a mission to include more competitive sports within its 14,000-acre campus in the Adirondacks while colleges all over the country drop their varsity sports programs. Their latest endeavor, on top of Nordic skiing, biathlon, hockey and trap shooting, is in the form of alpine skiing. The new program will begin during the 2021-2022 school year, bringing the school to a total of 27 varsity sports programs.
In the 1980’s and 90’s, Paul Smiths had a dominant alpine skiing program that saw the then two-year school program reach the national junior college championship of 1991. Paul Smith College’s skiing history dates as far back as 1952 when they hosted the US Olympic trials prior to the Winter Games in Oslo.
Three time Olympian and Olympic silver and bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht will be spearheading the alpine skiing program, bringing 16 years of national and international experience with the U.S. Ski Team to Paul Smiths. He will be assuming the leading role in assisting the college with the creation of the program, and members of both the men’s and women’s teams will be training and competing at nearby Whiteface Mountain, the location of the 1980 alpine skiing events.
“Having a program that’s catered toward that, both online and in-residence, is really sellable to a lot of families,” stated Weibrecht, who attended Dartmouth College and finished his degree after a 16-year racing career. He’s one of the five Olympians comprising the school’s Olympic Advisory Council. “The Division 1 world has gotten crazy competitive, both admissions into these colleges and getting slots on the team which often go hand in hand. If you’re being recruited by the team, it does help you get into the school itself.”
Students of the alpine ski program will have the chance to experience the Olympic-centered culture of Lake Placid, 20 miles to the east. The village of Lake Placid is both inspirational and motivational to those who pursue winter sports, and is marked by many world class athletes.