Alpine skier Andrew Miller ’22 gears up for first World Cup appearance
On Feb. 7, Alpine skier Andrew Miller ’22 competed for Team USA at the Europa Cup after spending the past few months training across Europe. Miller placed 56th in the giant slalom, qualifying him for his first World Cup appearance, which will take place in Bansko, Bulgaria this weekend.
“[This] is something I’ve been dreaming of literally since I was a kid,” Miller said. “It’s a ski racer’s biggest goal, and I’m really happy that I can validate my hard work.”
Miller first started skiing when he was two years old. Born and raised outside of Boston, he frequently skied in New Hampshire with his father, a former ski racer. When he was seven, his family moved to Utah, where Miller immersed himself in the ski culture and learned to appreciate the variety of the sport.
“I love how skiing is different every day,” Miller said. “There’s no constant skiing — whether it’s a different resort, a different run, different weather, different kind of snow. In the case of ski racing, every course is different, so I think every single day of training is going to be a new day.”
In preparation for his biggest competition to date, Miller plans to keep training and remain confident.
“It’s kind of just business as usual,” Miller said. “Just because it’s a really important race doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to have a different approach, so I’m just trying to get as confident as I can before I go over there so that I know once I get to a challenging race, I’m going to be able to do my best.”
Miller’s recent participation in the Europa Cup was his fourth time competing in Europe. At Dartmouth, Miller posted eight top-10 finishes in carnival races during the 2020 season, including two top-three finishes. He also won an Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association Men’s Alpine Skier of the Week award last February and was named to the All-East Second Team at the end of the season.
With Dartmouth’s winter sports canceled this year, Miller chose to take leave terms in the fall and this winter.
Miller outlined some of the challenges that come with competing as a college student against full-time professional skiers.
“If there's a national team athlete that’s had way more training, way more on-snow time, is way more rested than you — and they’re going to the same event as you — it can kind of just feel like it’s an uphill battle,” Miller said.
Although many competitive skiers forgo competing at the collegiate level, Miller was drawn to the ski team at Dartmouth. He said attending Dartmouth aligned with his academic goals, and the team’s structure, schedule and culture appealed to him.
Miller quickly adapted to the college stage, competing in four carnival races and finishing 10th during the Winter Carnival race at the Dartmouth Skiway as a freshman.
“It’s incredible having the opportunity to do what I love lifestyle-wise and also enjoy the wonderful aspects of what makes people love Dartmouth,” Miller said. “It’s a really close team environment, and everyone supports each other.”
Miller knew many of the athletes on the ski team before coming to Dartmouth.
“The ski world at a national level isn’t too big, and so most of us grew up knowing each other to begin with,” Miller said. “We came to school already as friends, and so we're just kind of building on those relationships we already had. … It’s like a cool little family we have going.”
Dartmouth men’s Alpine head coach Peter Dodge characterized the team’s relationship similarly to Miller, describing the team as “like a group of brothers.”
Big Green ski team captain Peter Fucigna ’21 said he was incredibly excited about Miller’s accomplishments, especially since he said it sends a message to the rest of the ski world.
“We’re always super stoked when one of our teammates gets a World Cup start and is able to not only represent the U.S., but also represent college skiing,” Fucigna said. “… It’s definitely nice to get that validation that Dartmouth is a really good program.”
Miller is looking forward to his first World Cup start this weekend, and he hopes he can build on the success he has seen this year.
“I am still progressing and skiing, and I love doing it, and so if the opportunity presents itself, I could definitely see myself continuing on this path post-grad,” Miller said. “But I also love Dartmouth — and I love the studying aspect of it — and so finding passion in whatever I’m doing is what's most important for me right now.”