Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs native David Lamb has been skiing as long as he can remember, but at the NCAA championships in Alaska this year, he was introduced to a new kind of pressure.
"I've never really been in that kind of situation until this year," Lamb said. "When I was skiing for the U.S. Team, I could let it all go if you fell the only one you hurt was yourself."
After retiring from the U.S. Ski Team last year, Lamb is now one of five freshmen on the University of Denver Ski Team. In college, every skier on the hill counts in the team standings, so every skier has to ski fast and in control. A good finish can mean the difference between a national title and a long ride home.
This year Lamb's fifth-place finish in the slalom finish and 10th in the giant slalom not only earned him All-American honors but helped the Pioneers earn a third straight national title.
"It's a really good feeling," Lamb said of the team title. "I'm having a lot of fun right now and skiing well."
In fact, Lamb walked away from the season with nothing but positive vibes. He is more relaxed than he has been in years and still enjoys racing at a very competitive level.
"It's nice because there are fewer starts at the college level," Lamb said. "When I was skiing with the (U.S.) team I was starting 50 or 60 times a season. Now I'm starting maybe 15 or 16 times a season."
The results are also good for Lamb.
In addition to being a two-time All-American on the ski slopes, he is also an academic All-American and earned first team All-Conference honors this season.
In the classroom, he carried a 3.7 GPA as he pursues his degree in the business school.
He was also happy he could play a key role in the Pioneers winning another national title as a freshman.
"This was a really fresh team on the Alpine side this year with five out of six being so young," Pioneer coach Kurt Smitz said. "They played their role well and did their job."
University of Denver ran away with the title on March 9. The Pioneers were followed by the University of Colorado in second and Utah in third. At the championships, Alpine and Nordic scores are combined to come up with a total. University of Denver is very strong in both disciplines.
Lamb said his future in skiing is bright and he thinks the young corps of skiers will be able to carry on the Pioneer tradition in the future.
He grew up in Steamboat Springs and raced for the Winter Sports Club before being named to the U.S. Ski Team.
Lamb recently decided to pursue his education at the University of Denver and retired from skiing at the national level.