Peter Dodge and the Rebirth of NCAA Racing

A former World Cup and pro racer, Dartmouth’s men’s alpine coach has led the return to relevance of U.S. college racing. By Edith Thys Morgan

Although few ski racers have been able to take to the slopes this summer, the racing community has been hotly debating the relationship between NCAA skiing and U.S. Ski and Snowboard in athlete development. It’s a long-running argument. At its heart is the question of how elite racers can—or cannot—use collegiate competition in their path to the World Cup.  For more than 30 years, Dartmouth College alpine coach Peter Dodge has been leading that conversation. 

Every December, at the Birds of Prey World Cup giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colorado, the finish area is awash in a sea of green parkas, emblazoned with the iconic Dartmouth ski team snowflake. Dodge is always there, surrounded by student athletes cheering on fellow and former Dartmouth classmates. This past year, they were rooting for Tommy Ford, the eventual winner, and also for 2018 graduate Brian McLaughlin and current student George Steffey, competing in his first-ever World Cup event. 

Now entering his 14th year on the U.S. Ski Team, Ford has attended Dartmouth as many national team athletes have—by patching terms together opportunistically while rehabbing from injuries and during off-season breaks. Like Steffey, Ford never raced for Dartmouth on the NCAA circuit. By contrast, McLaughlin, the 2018 NCAA giant slalom champion, is the latest in a trend of promising American skiers who attended college full-time while racing on the NCAA circuit. He emerged with the skills, maturity and ranking to make the jump to the World Cup. 

One man who’s been instrumental in creating an environment where such success can happen—especially for American athletes—is Dodge, who’s coached the Dartmouth men’s alpine team since 1990. Looking at his own path in ski racing helps to explain his motivation...

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