In a move to consolidate resources and strengthen other NCAA athletic offerings, Green Mountain College officials in Poultney announced that it will discontinue its men's and women's varsity ski programs.
"It's always a very difficult decision to eliminate any sports program," said GMC President Paul J. Fonteyn. "However we have seen a steady decline in numbers of students competing on the ski team over the past few years. This move will provide more resources to build solid, competitive programs in the other 12 varsity sports we offer to men and women on campus."
The decision comes in response to the high cost of maintaining a competitive ski program during challenging economic times, as well as declining student interest in the sport. Due to the cost of travel, race fees and transportation to and from practice and meets, the college spends twice as much per student athlete in skiing as it does in other sports. In the recently completed 2009-10 ski season, three women and two men competed for the GMC team. A total of eight students competed in 2008-09 season, down from 14 participants in 2007-08.
"Overall, the trajectory of our athletic programming is on an upward trend," said GMC Athletic director Marybeth Lennox. "GMC joined the NCAA North Atlantic Conference beginning in 2008, and we recently elevated the women's lacrosse program to a varsity sport. Tight budgets sometimes require us to make difficult choices. In this case, we felt eliminating one program was the best way to improve the experience for the majority of student athletes at the college."