UConn will be represented in the next couple weeks as the winter sports community turns its focus to the 44th FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Feb. 6-19 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It will also be in unique fashion, as senior and current UConn student Kelsie Carlette will race for the Irish National Team.
The bi-annual event is the sport’s biggest outside of the Olympics and features the world’s best representing their countries.
For Carlette, who captains the UConn women’s club team, it will be a special experience that she will approach as a competitor and as an enthusiast.
“I have never been to an event like The World Alpine Ski Championships before in my life and I honestly have no idea what to expect. I am excited to be there and possibly be competing in the event with some of the best skiers in the world like Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn from the US Ski Team. I’ll be racing, but I will also be trying to get autographs if I get the chance!” Carlette said.
She will ski for Ireland, a country she has dual citizenship in, as her mother is a native. She holds an Irish FIS license and was approached by the Irish Snow Sports Organization about being included on a provisional list to be considered for the World Championships.
While Carlette completed the process earnestly, she conceded she was surprised to be one of two women chose to represent Ireland.
“I responded with all of my information with absolutely no expectations of being selected. I then received the email announcing the team and my name was printed along with one other girl and I was in complete shock,” Carlette said.
In preparation, she has been going about business as usual with the UConn team. Last season she was one of two All-Americans on the team and finished in the top 15 at Nationals, as well as being named first-team All-Conference.
The Huskies, who hold training camp at Okemo Mountain in Vermont over Winter Break, compete in the MacConell division of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference.
The team competed in races at Okemo on Jan. 12 and 13, as well as West Mountain, New York and Whiteface, New York the past two weekends. Carlette has multiple top 15 finishes and is listed seventh in the women’s individual standings. As a team, the UConn women find themselves in fourth out of eight.
The trip will not come without a cost. Skiing isn’t a popular sport in Ireland and the funding from the organization is minimal. Carlette is hoping to raise $15,000 to cover travel, lodging and living expenses for the three weeks in Switzerland. She also has to pay for upgrades to all of her equipment to meet FIS standards. She has started a GoFundMe page to start raising money.
Carlette, a Cheshire, Connecticut native and Cheshire High School graduate, is hoping for the best. The races will be one the primary influences in choosing the Irish Olympic team bound for Pyeonchang in 2018, and while it is certainly attainable, Carlette is also realistic and proud to even be competing.
“I have absolutely no expectations for results while I am there. This will be an amazing experience just being in the qualifying race. Simply making it to this point exceeds my goals in ski racing,” she said.
Matt Barresi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.