Written by Kennedy Harvey, Sports Information Assistant
Photo by Carleton Ravens file photo
Carleton Ravens Alpine skier, Hannah Schmidt, is packing her bags in preparation for the 28th International University Sports Federation (FISU) Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Schmidt had an outstanding circuit last year, after helping form Carleton’s first competitive Alpine ski team in 2016. The team consisted of five students from Carleton, the University of Ottawa, and the Université du Québec in Gatineau. Schmidt was the heart of the team, under coach Gabriel Bouffard, and was named team captain. She had several podium finishes last season, including first place at Mont Saint-Sauveur , and was named an RSEQ First-Team All-Star.
Kennedy Harvey: Tell me about your beginnings in Alpine skiing?
Hannah Schmidt: I started when I was about three. My dad was really big into skiing, he was a coach, so I started quite young. I started skiing at Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. My parents have a place up there, so we have pretty much skied my whole life, living in Ottawa and having a cottage up there. That is where I grew up! I started racing at the age of 14, so quite a bit later than a lot of other people, but like I said, I grew up skiing, so I knew I loved it.
KH: Why did you choose to attend Carleton University?
HS: The main reason is that I am really interested in becoming a police officer or potentially a lawyer, and I heard great things about their criminology program. [Criminology] is what I am majoring in. I also really love the campus. Everything is in the same area and is easy to find.
KH: What was it like being named Carleton’s first ever captain of the Alpine ski team, a team in which you helped build last year?
HS: It was pretty cool. It is a good opportunity growing the ski community. I always enjoy growing people’s knowledge about it, and showing other teams that it is possible to make other teams, and give opportunities to others. Especially in Ottawa, there weren’t any other teams, not even the university of Ottawa has one. Seeing the Quebec circuit being so good, it was inspiring to start it up in Ottawa.
KH: This is by far the biggest global winter multi-sporting event for student-athletes, how does it feel to get to represent your school, country, and the sport you love in such a major competition?
HS: It’s pretty awesome! It was in November when I first heard, and received the email saying I was going to represent [Canada]. I have raced at North American cups, which is typically US and Canada, which is the biggest international competition I have raced at, so this is going to be a bit of a step up. I’m going in with an open mind, but it is definitely going to be a good experience, and I am glad to be representing Carleton going into it.
KH: Who will be travelling with you to Almaty, Kazakhstan?
HS: I’m going with the team. There are six girls, and six guys mostly from the University of Montreal and Laval University. We stay together in Kazakhstan.
KH: FISU’s motto is Excellence in Mind and Body. As a student-athlete, what does this mean to you?
HS: In my opinion, having sports and school allows you to expand your capabilities. Before I started university, I took two years off just to ski, and it was too overwhelming for me. […] It was too focused on skiing, but having skiing and school kind of distracts you in some way. It is good having those pathways if you want to get your mind off one of the other. It is a good balance between the two.
About the Winter Universiade
The Universiade is an international sporting and cultural festival which takes place every two years in a different city. The program includes six compulsory sports, and up to three optional sports chosen by the hosting country. This year, the festival will begin with opening ceremonies on January 29, and conclude on February 8, 2017. More than 2,500 participants from all over the world join in what is known as the biggest global winter multi-sporting event for student-athletes. Schmidt and 11 other Alpine skiers will represent team Canada for the 11-day event.
Cheer on Hannah Schmidt, starting January 29, as she competes in the FISU Winter Universiade with team Canada’s Alpine ki team. For the full Almaty 2017 Winter Universiade competition schedule, click here.