Q&A with Olympian and Team U.S.A. skier Sam “Moose” Morse ’20
The Dartmouth sat down with Moose to discuss his skiing accomplishments and his unique 12-year graduation plan.
Courtesy of Sam “Moose” Morse ’20
Sam Morse, also known as Moose, is a phenomenal skier, excelling on both Team U.S.A. and at the Olympics. Because of his ski commitments, Morse has a unique 12-year D-Plan that enables him to devote time to his sport while simultaneously pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. He’s a friendly presence on campus, known for his kindness and commitment to skiing as well as the Dartmouth community. When he’s not engaged with his studies, he can be found on the slopes and spending time with his wife in Park City, Utah.
How did you originally get into skiing?
SM: I grew up at a ski resort in Maine called Sugarloaf, and skiing was just what I did as a kid. I had an older brother who was actually in Dartmouth’s Class of 2014. When you see your older brother doing it, you think, ‘I definitely want to do that.’ The first time I was on skis, I was 23 months old — and I’ve been skiing ever since.
How has your time on Team U.S.A. impacted your athletic and academic experiences at Dartmouth?
SM: Most people on Team U.S.A. at Dartmouth have really unique D-Plans. Dartmouth has been really accommodating in terms of making that work for us. We’re off most of the year except for one term, which creates a 12-year graduation plan, so I will graduate in 2029. Sometimes it’s weird to be on this plan! I come back to campus and I’m a lot older than the other students, but at the same time, I don’t feel like I look that much older than anybody else, so I can still blend into the crowd. I think one big thing is when you’re in class and the professor asks a question and nobody wants to speak up. Being an older person, I’ll just throw out an answer. Most of the time it’s wrong, but I’m definitely not afraid to speak up. I think skiers on Team U.S.A. just bring a level of maturity to the classroom —I’m married, I own a condo in Park City and I have adult responsibilities.
I’d love to learn more about your involvement with the Dartmouth Ski Team. Are you affiliated with Dartmouth Athletics?
SM: I only ski for Team U.S.A. I got recruited to ski for Dartmouth before I made the U.S.A. ski team, and the understanding is that if you don’t qualify for Team U.S.A., then you come back to ski for Dartmouth. That’s why Dartmouth often has a really strong ski team — they’re essentially over-recruiting and getting the best of the best. My brother was a classic example of where this over-recruiting really worked out for Dartmouth. He was on the U.S.A. ski team right out of high school, but he didn’t qualify for the team in subsequent years. He then skied for Dartmouth for four years in a row and won a lot of carnivals.
What has been one of your favorite memories on Team USA?
SM: I would say one of my favorite memories was this spring in Aspen, Colorado. We had a domestic World Cup, and it was really special to race at home. I had a really good run and finished 14th at our World Cup, which was pretty huge for me. At the end of the season, I was ranked 35th in the world. My parents got to be there, and it was super special.
What brought you to Dartmouth? Did the uniqueness of the D-Plan influence your decision to go to school here?
SM: Yes, 100%. The whole process of going to school as a Team U.S.A. athlete is all about flexibility. Being suckers for punishment, high-level athletes always seem to want to attend the hardest schools, too.
I’m also the 12th person in my family to attend Dartmouth, so it was definitely always a place that I wanted to go. It’s a really unique path. A lot of people ask, ‘How do you remember everything?’ School’s definitely harder for me than it would’ve been had I just gone right out of high school continuously for four years, especially as a mechanical engineering major! With that being said, I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to get this education, and I’m doing the best I can to make it through.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.