The Bates ski team is one of the most consistently successful programs at the College, having finished among the top 20 in the nation for five straight years, including 2001's 13th-place finish.
This year's team was boosted by the performance of a trio of NCAA qualifiers, led by 2002 captain Kyle Hildebrand (Green Mountain Valley School). Hildebrand earned first-team All-East honors for the first time in his career, then followed up his regional performance by coming in second in the slalom at the NCAA championships, the highest finish ever by a Bates skier at nationals. Hildebrand also earned his third career All-America honor in the giant slalom by finishing sixth overall. Junior teammate Kim Rogers (Stratton Mountain School), a second-team All-East team member, became the first woman in Bates alpine history to take home All-America honors by finishing 10th in the GS. The Bobcat women's team, which has sent four different competitors to nationals in the past three years, loses three-time qualifier Janel Ippolito (Mountain Valley H.S.). They will be bolstered by the return of senior Jaime Berrian (Green Mountain Valley School), a 2000 NCAA qualifier, from an injury-plagued season.
Bates' training and competition facilities are among the best in New England. The alpine team trains and races at nearby Sunday River in Bethel, Maine, while the Nordic team has a home course at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine. In March 1999, Bates hosted the NCAA championships at their home courses. The Lewiston-Auburn area boasts several trails close to campus for in-season training. Campus and the surrounding area offer challenging terrain for dry-land training.
Rogan Connell (email@example.com) was named head coach of alpine skiing at Bates in November 2001. Previously, he was director of skiing at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vt., from 1999 to 2001. In that time, he led the Knights to one top 20 finish at the NCAA championships. He was assistant head coach at Ford Sayre Academy in Hanover, N.H. A two-time letter winner at the University of New Hampshire, Connell helped the Wildcats to a pair of top 10 finishes at the NCAA championships in 1992 and 1993.