The history of the UConn Ski Team much resembles a roller coaster ride, consisting of an ever- changing scenery and program. UConn itself was much more designed for a ski team with University ski slope, now in disuse, which opened in the 1960s behind the sheep barn east of Horsebarn Hill. There were two top tows, one for beginners and another for experienced skiers. Now however, the closest mountain for the team is an hour away in Southington, CT.
Beginning in the early 70’s, the ski team was a Division I sport led by the original coach, John Catania. The ski team, along with equestrian and rowing teams were created in response to title IX. In the 1980’s the three teams created in response to title IX were then split off to form the club sports program due to university funding issues. In the late 1980’s the men’s team qualified
for regionals for the first time ever. Throughout the first three decades there have been manynotable names that helped carry the program to where it is today by defining what it means to be a Husky. Among those, Coach Phil Carabillo, Assistant Coach/Captain Phil Newberry and Coach Buddy Wiedman helped tremendously to keep the program afloat. In between their presence, the student athletes carried the program from year to year when a true head coach could not be attained. Putting into action the definition of “club sport” here at Uconn, a student run organization.
The last decade has brought much stability and even greater success. The UConn Ski Team was coached by Larry Gianatti from 2009-2015. He was captain of the team in 1977-78. Once a husky, he just couldn’t stay away, and was pulled out of his ski “retirement” in 2009 when the now club sport UConn Ski team was in desperate need of a coach. It took Larry Gianatti just 3 years before he broke history and brought the first women’s team ever to Nationals in Sunday River, Maine in March of 2012 and two years later the Men’s team placed 4 th at the
National Championships, the best result ever recorded at the USCSA Nationals by a club team. Coach Bruce Diamond took over the reigns coaching the huskies in 2015. As his first year as coach he lead the men and women team to nationals. The team has continued this success over the next few years and continued successfully qualifying for nationals every year. In the spring of 2019, Jeff Lagasse took over the head coaching position. Jeff was a Uconn Ski Team member graduating in 2009 and has been the assistant coach of the team since then.
Being a club sport, the team has provided most of its funding personally, and has always appreciated Captain Phil Newberry’s (1976-77) yearly donation to the team as well as all its other consistent alumni support. The team’s success wouldn’t have been possible, had it not been for the support of its alumni and fellow old ski team members. Although the team has changed drastically through the years, one thing hasn’t changed: the alumni pride for the Husky ski team and ski racing. Thanks to everyone past and present!