Despite not making the cut, three skiers still had a chance to travel across the world.
Oregon State University – Cascades students Helen Cutting, Sierra Foster, and Imran Wolfenden traveled 22 hours to Almaty, Kazakhstan for the World University Games.
The skiers were unable to qualify for the games, but they did not give up. They completed applications to be reviewed by two elite skiers, which then landed them a spot to compete. Cutting, Foster, and Wolfenden then began to fundraise to ensure their bib numbers for the weeks of skiing to come.
“Even though we had to pay our own way, it was worth it,” said Wolfenden.
Wolfenden’s nearly $1,000 plane ticket was donated by Mount Bachelor Skiing Education Foundation (MBSEF), as well as Cutting. Wolfenden raised about $1,000 and had to pay the last third of the money out of pocket.
After finally being able to finance their trip the skiers headed to compete with some of the world’s best skiers. When they arrived for the opening ceremonies, Wolfenden felt as though he was in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies – it was that big.
“You’re racing against others your skill level. I was racing to finish versus get in the top,” said Wolfenden. Racing began on the Jan. 25 with a Men’s 10K Classic and a Women’s 5K Classic race. Each day followed with longer race, sprints, team sprints, and relays.
“Overall, I felt like I raced well, but we were competing against much higher competitors than in the states,” Wolfenden said. He explained that some of the skiers competing were also fresh out of the National World Cup.
The team did not let the competition set them back, and still managed to create a memorable experience during the weeks of racing.
Olivia Webb | The Broadside