University of Utah Ski Team
By Kallin Glauser
The University of Utah’s ski team began competing in 1936-37 without official support of the University athletic department. Though the team did fairly well, it wasn’t until University funding was received in 1945 that allowed the skiers to participate in intercollegiate competitions. During the 1945-46 season, the Utes ski team secured their first intercollegiate win at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, placing first, second, third, and fourth in the meet. The women’s ski team was also very talented, and took first place sweep at Berthoid Pass, Colorado in 1950. Popularity for the sport continued to grow on campus, and by the mid 50’s the University put its full support behind the ski team.
With some of the best ski slopes in the world, it should come as no surprise that the U’s ski team quickly became one of the most competitive in the nation. The Utah ski team has won 13 NCAA championships; the women in 1978 and the men in 1981, with the combined teams winning the national championship in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2017, and 2019. Within the past 11 years alone, Utah skiing has claimed the 2017 and 2019 national titles, three second-place finishes and two third-place finishes at the NCAA Championship.
Many of the University’s talented skiers have gone on to become Olympians. In 1948 Corey Engen, Dev Jennings, Dick Movitz, and Anne Jeanette Winn were the first Ute skiers to compete in the Olympics. Since then, the ski program has produced 76 individual national champions and 35 Olympians as of the 2018-19 ski season. Olympic gold medalist Kathy Kreiner (1972,’76’, 80’), two-time Olympian Luke Bodensteiner (1992, '94), who currently serves as the Executive Vice President for Athletics for the United States Ski Association, and Torin Koos, a four-time U.S. Olympian in cross country skiing (2002, '06, '10, '14), are just some of the three dozen Olympians from the U Ski team.
In 2019, the Utah ski program claimed its 12th NCAA Championship and the 13th national title, making it the 10th-straight year that the University of Utah had at least one individual national champion. The 2019 team upheld the University of Utah’s long history of success with multiple wins this season. Some notable skiers in the NCAA Championship include freshman Julia Richter, who won the NCAA title in the women’s 5-km freestyle, Guro Jordheim, who became a six-time All-American, and freshman Maximilian Bie, who became a two-time All-American. The Utes also won three of the four regular-season RMISA meets during the 2019 season, as well as the 2019 RMISA Championship/NCAA West Regional.