By LAUREN READ
In last week's NCAA Ski Championships, Saint Michael's skier Colby Jordan (Charlotte, Vt./Mount Mansfield Winter Academy) had a unique leg up on the competition: he was skiing at home.
Jordan, a Charlotte native and four-year skier at the Mount Mansfield Winter Academy, competed for the Purple Knights at the 2019 NCAA Ski Championships from March 6-9 at Stowe Mountain Resort.
"It was awesome," Jordan said. "It was my goal from the beginning of the season. Finally reaching that goal at the end was awesome."
It was the first NCAA appearance for Jordan, a junior at the Colchester college and a 2015 graduate of Champlain Valley Union High School in Williston.
"I had been at Stowe since I was in the eighth grade," Jordan said. "That was big reason why qualifying was my biggest goal.
Jordan tied his career-best slalom finish during the NCAAs, finishing in 21st, but struggled in the giant slalom event, falling on his second run and failing to finish.
His NCAA qualification was a big hurdle for Jordan, who missed last season with an injury. The local skier wanted to qualify for the hometown event.
"All my old coaches were there and some friends from school," Jordan said. "It was a lot of fun."
A great early season result had Jordan sitting just in a qualifying position for much of the season but – after not improving on his early season races – had to wait to find out if qualified.
"My first two results ended being enough to get me in," Jordan said. "I was on the very bubble. Until the very last race, I wasn't in. It was up to the very last race of the season to get me in."
But those last race results were enough to put Jordan into the field and he did his best to soak in the atmosphere with his friends and family.
"It's a really selective event," Jordan said. "It was a really great atmosphere. Having all your friends around to support you, and family and old coaches, it made the experience awesome."
In addition to it being a fun weekend for Jordan, it was also a big week for his Saint Michael's squad. The team sent five alpine skiers to the NCAAs, the most in program history.
"We all gelled well together, being at Stowe," Jordan said. "It was awesome to be there with them."
With his first NCAA appearance under his belt, Jordan is now focused on qualifying again next year and skiing his best on the big stage.