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Humans of the U: Ross Tester

"Going to the U was a no-brainer because of its proximity to intense, yet beautiful mountains, and the outdoor culture that they cultivate."

“Last winter was my rookie season on the Freeride World Tour, where I won two of the three qualifier competitions held in Andorra and Austria. That and a fourth-place finish in the ‘Extreme Verbier’ Finals earned myself second place overall and ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors in the men’s ski division.

To pull this off while going to college, I’m fortunate to take classes either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays so I could afford time to train, work and keep up with school during the summer and fall semesters. Then in the spring, I take minimal to no classes in order to ski and compete.

The first three years of my time at the U, I spent battling for a spot on the Tour by working my way up through the Freeride World Qualifiers circuit, which take place in the U.S. and Canada. At first, I struggled with balancing work, injuries, school, managing my finances and competing in the qualifiers. This led me to think that there was a better way, so to help curb these issues, I started a freeride club to help other students with similar aspirations.

The first season of the club was a little loose, but we rallied a bunch of students to a competition to test the waters and it was a great time. The club relieved a lot of stress for the athletes surrounding accommodations and travel for events by pooling resources to reduce a large chunk of the expenses that those present.

Overall, the first winter was a success because we ended up winning the overall collegiate standings and I qualified first in the North American region to make the Freeride World Tour. Since then, I have reduced my role with the team but it has grown a ton, and I give many thanks to the officers that have carried the torch and expanded the resources for its members. Whether you are interested in competing, ski or snowboard for fun, or neither, check out their Instagram @uofufreerideteam to learn what freeride is all about!

Going to the U was a no-brainer because of its proximity to intense, yet beautiful mountains, and the outdoor culture that they cultivate. When I decided to attend, I felt like it was the perfect place to find the opportunities I needed to achieve my goals, both academically and athletically. And, must say, it hasn’t come short of my expectations

If you have read this far, thank you, and don’t forget to get outside and enjoy the beautiful outdoors right in our backyard, and don’t take it for granted!”

—Ross Tester is a senior studying strategic communications while competing in the Freeride World Tour