I first met Brett Mommer during his grad school years at the University of Illinois. I remember sitting in the car after practice and feeling someone staring at me, only to turn around to see Brett’s face plastered against the window with a rather terrifying expression. Welcome to ski team! With his own brand of eccentricity, Brett shared his enthusiasm and skill with our team. He was a constant presence in collegiate skiing, not just for our team, but for all of Team Midwest.
Without further ado, a moment with Mommer:
- The Mompsons (along with Tyler Thompson, also the name of a rad 2-person trick skiing move we invented)
- Scooter (for the really old balls).
Collegiate Ski Team(s):
- Iowa State University (undergrad)
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champagin (grad school)
Jump, of course!
Describe your ski team experience
Alternating between wet, cold, frantic and blurry life lessons to glorious, sun-soaked, fun-filled hedonism.
What are you doing now?
I’m a postdoc at the University of Washington, researching the brain and how its genes and environment interact to result in behavior and memory.
What stands out when you think about your college skiing career?
First, I am reminded of Jayna Trotzig, our friend and teammate at Iowa State University who died in a car accident on her way to our ski team winter formal her freshman year. We will always remember her bright personality and how our team came together after losing her. Second, the camaraderie between all of our teams, from different states, normally bitter rivals but brought together by water skiing, that resulted in so many traveling, costumed piles of people cheering for each other, coaching each other, camping with each other and so many other things which we eventually formalized into the one and only Team Midwest. Glad to hear it’s still around!
Walking down the lake drugged up with my butt cheeks hanging out of my hospital gown after a big out the front in the jump event of the last tournament of my undergrad.
Any advice you can pass on to current skiers?
Yes, if you end up going to graduate school, look up the ski team there and get involved. After starting grad school I was quickly out of eligibility to compete and had a tougher schedule, but staying in the sport (coaching, officiating and skiing B team) was infinitely fun and rewarding.
How can we get more college kids involved in the sport?
In addition to the traditional on-campus recruiting tactics, I would suggest getting your skiers involved in other sports clubs at their universities. They’re a good place to meet other athletic, like-minded students who perhaps just haven’t had the opportunity to ski, but who nevertheless might be interested once they meet a few skiers and see how much fun the collegiate tournaments are.
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