University of New Mexico ski team alive again | SteamboatToday.com

University of New Mexico ski team alive again

University of New Mexico skier Nick Veth cuts down Howelsen Hill during a race last winter. Veth is one of three Steamboat Springs-trained skiers on the UNM ski team.

— As it turns out, raising a bit of trouble can make a difference.

The University of New Mexico NCAA Division 1 ski team, which features three Steamboat Springs-trained athletes, was cut from the school's budget last month after the NCAA Ski National Championships.

Members fought back, however, enlisting ski racing fans from around the country and globe. They gathered more than 36,000 signatures and protested to the school's Board of Regents.

Word came Thursday that their efforts paid off. UNM announced the team would be reinstated for the 2017-18 season.

Cost was initially cited as the main reason for cutting the team. Now, supporters will help cover some of that expense, up to $600,000 per year, according to the school.

"Donations from ski team supporters will supplement a somewhat-reduced athletic department budget for the ski team," a university news release said. "Team coaches and supporters will be able to use the next year to establish a long-term funding mechanism to keep the team in place thereafter."

Steamboat skiers were a part of the team this year. Nick Veth, Alex Barounos and Tyler Theis are all sophomores who trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club before ending up in New Mexico.

The Lobos and the rest of the NCAA Division 1 skiing world will be back in Steamboat Springs next spring as the city is poised to play host to the 2018 NCAA Skiing National Championships.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9