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Alpine vs. Nordic Ski rivalry fosters bond between teammates

The feud between each team energizes the competitive side of the sport for skiers from both sides of the struggle

The+Alpine+and+Nordic+ski+teams+use+their+differences+to+grow+closer+as+respective+units%2C+despite+the+good+natured+animosity+they+share+for+each+other.
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Alpine vs. Nordic Ski rivalry fosters bond between teammates

The Alpine and Nordic ski teams use their differences to grow closer as respective units, despite the good natured animosity they share for each other.

The Alpine and Nordic ski teams use their differences to grow closer as respective units, despite the good natured animosity they share for each other.

Henry Burkhardt

The Alpine and Nordic ski teams use their differences to grow closer as respective units, despite the good natured animosity they share for each other.

Henry Burkhardt

Henry Burkhardt

The Alpine and Nordic ski teams use their differences to grow closer as respective units, despite the good natured animosity they share for each other.

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Of the many rivalries found within St. Paul Academy and Summit School, the Nordic vs. Alpine feud, although a subtle one, is nonetheless ever-present in the minds of many skiers. If you’re not on either the Alpine (downhill skiing) or Nordic (cross-country skiing) team you may have never even heard of it, but this friendly clash over two different types of skiing draws deep competitiveness from many Spartan skiers.

Although at its heart, this rivalry is truly in good spirit, many skiers still have strong opinions about their sport’s supremacy.

“Nordic sucks,” 9th grader Sophie Cullen said, barely suppressing a smile.

This is her first year on the Alpine team but she’s already a fierce defender of her team’s superiority.

“Alpine is a smaller team; we all share a strong bond,” she said.

Sophomore Isabelle Wolpert shared a similar attitude.

“I’ve been downhill racing since I was 5 […] and Alpine is way better… you’re going down hills, not hiking up them,” Wolpert said.

I believe that we do a more difficult sport: we spend more time outside every day, we do more cardio, we have to go up the hills.”

— Eliza Reedy

Wolpert showed an ultimate position of loyalty towards her team earlier this year when she produced a 2-minute long video arguing Alpine’s superiority over Nordic. In it, she argues, among other things, that alpine skiers have better attitudes, faster speeds, and even greater style.

“The Alpine team has so much more prestige than the Nordic team,” 9th grader Will Sedo said, half joking. “It’s just so obvious that everyone likes Alpine a lot better, and that shows up in everything that the Alpine and Nordic teams do. I mean, if you ask basically any student, they’ll say ‘wait, we have a Nordic team?’”

Although there is no concrete evidence of this fact, it is still a popular belief among the Alpine skiers.

Members of the Nordic team defend their team with the same passion found in the Alpine skiers.

“I believe that we do a more difficult sport: we spend more time outside every day, we do more cardio, we have to go up the hills,” Nordic captain and senior Eliza Reedy said. “And because we have to suffer so much outside in the cold, I feel like we have a closer bond and it really brings us closer together as a team.”

Nordic captain Peter Moore also believes work ethic and suffering plays a big part in his team’s superiority over the Alpine team.

“[Nordic skiing] actually takes effort, so when you go ski you feel like you accomplished something,” he said, “can’t really say that about Alpine.”

It’s a more friendly rivalry than a true all-out fight to the death.”

— Will Sedo

Even though this is junior Nina Smetana’s first ski season with SPA, she too defends her sport with dedication.

“Alpine you’re just going down a hill, whereas with Nordic you actually have to work hard,” she said. “With Nordic, you are working your mind and your body and your soul […] it’s better.”

This argument could go on forever, but there is one way these teams have found to show once and for all who’s the better team.

The Nordic vs. Alpine annual capture the flag game is a highlight for many skiers and marks the start of the Alpine and Nordic ski seasons.

“It happens every year… It’s really to prove which team is better,” freshman Clara Garner said jokingly.

Although this is, in general, a lighthearted game, it definitely gets competitive.

“On the day of the capture the flag game… both teams are out for blood,” Reedy added.

However cruel the clash might sound, many agree that at the end of the day the friendly feud elicits more laughter than tears.

When asked about the rivalry Reedy said, “I think it’s friendly. I don’t despise the Alpine Team as people, I just despise their sport.”

“It’s a more friendly rivalry than a true all-out fight to the death,” Sedo said.

It brings the teams closer together because we all appreciate skiing at some degree.”

— Isabelle Wolpert

Wolpert believes that the rivalry is more than just friendly; she believes it’s actually a form of camaraderie between the teams.

“It brings the teams closer together because we all appreciate skiing at some degree,” she reflected, “and just because we do different types of skiing doesn’t mean that we’re all completely different.”

 

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