SINCE 1922


First contested in 1922, the Oxford-Cambridge ski race is the longest running team ski competition in the world. 2016 saw Oxford's men and women both clinching the title for the first time in 10 years: leaving a lot to loose in the run up to the competition this year.


Since our first races in 1922, winter sports has changed dramatically. The rise of snowboarding and freestyle skiing in the park has opened up entirely new parts of the sport. Reflecting this, Varsity not only hosts the races, but also freestyle competitions in the park and an informal inter-college cuppers in both.



Each university will field 2 female teams and 3 male, with each team comprising of 6 members. All of these racers then take part in 2 runs of giant slalom, followed by two of slalom. Giant slalom is the faster discipline with larger radius turns than those found in the slalom event. A typical course in each discipline might take the top racers just under a minute to complete, and consist of about 50 turning ‘gates’.

For the individual competition, the results in each discipline are simply calculated as the sum of both runs. A team’s time is then given by the sum of the best four team members’ results in the discipline. Each Varsity match is decided by taking the sum over both disciplines.


The trials are open to anyone. They consist of two timed runs through the same slalom course. The times are only seen by the captains, who will announce the teams later in the day. Those wishing to trial might want to consider the race training that is available on the trip: either the full Racers package or the 6 hours of race training that’s available with the standard package.


If you’re hoping to compete for your university in the prestigious Varsity Races, this is the package for you.
You’ll fly out on the night of Thursday 1st December from Gatwick, and with less journey time you’ll have two extra days to perfect your race technique. Included is 15 hours of race training with top coaches on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday - in time for trials which take place on Monday 5th December.

The Opening Night Party, discounts and all other extras of the Standard Package are of course also a part, as well as a ski-pass that covers the extra days. Further included in the Racers’ Package is an airport transfer between Geneva and Tignes, along with standard accommodation. The return journey to the UK is by executive coach on Friday 9th of December along with other participants, unless you choose to upgrade and fly back. Please note, we cannot guarantee you will be sat with other racers on the coach home.

Booking for this package is open from 08:00 on Thursday 12th October.

Important Information

Unlike in previous years, racer insurance is now included in the standard insurance package offered by NUCO. There will therefore be no ‘Racing Upgrade’ option on the booking form. Please head here for more information.
In order to book onto the racers’ package, you will need to obtain an access code from either OUSSC or CUSSC.

If electing the Racers’ Package, please note you will be leaving university before Michaelmas Term officially ends. You will therefore need written permission to leave early - from your Director of Studies in Cambridge, or your Senior Tutor in Oxford. In the case Oxford, you must then send this to us so we can apply on your behalf to the Senior Proctor. We have produced an information sheet that provides some background information should your Senior Tutor request it.
This letter must be signed, scanned and emailed to by Friday 4th November. Any letters received after this date will be subject to a £50 fine. If written permission is not received by Wednesday 16th November, you will forfeit your place on Varsity Trip and will not be refunded. Varsity Trip accepts no responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of a decision taken by your Senior Tutor/Director of Studies, your college or university.

If you require confirmation that you will be representing either Oxford or Cambridge in competitions on the trip, please contact OUSSC or CUSSC respectively. If you have problems with this, or need help or advice obtaining the permission letter, please email

Please also note that participants who take this package and subsequently do not trial for their university team will be fined £50.


The freestyle competition this year will include a Varsity match between the two universities. The Oxford and Cambridge teams will battle it out during what is set to be a spectacular competition. The event will be a slopestyle competition, with each university fielding a single team of six. The overall score for the team will be calculated in much the same way as for the racing events, with the best 4 competitors in each part counting. However, there is an additional constraint – that at least one of each gender must count, as well as both a skier and a snowboarder. Please note that the freestyle competition is subject to a snowpark being built in time for the trip – this, in turn, is subject to snow conditions. We will be able to confirm details of the freestyle competition nearer the time.


The Blues races may be the headline competition of the trip, but just as fiercely fought is the inter-collegiate Cuppers competition. This is your chance to cheer on those competing for the glory of your college, or even take part yourself.

The competition is open to everyone on Varsity Trip, not just those on the racers’ package, so even if you’ve never raced before, this is your chance. In addition, each college can enter as many teams as they want, so whether you’ve competed on the Blues team or just think those bibs are a really good look (they are), there’s no excuse not to give it a shot!

Links for entry will be on the website and publicised in the weeks prior to the trip.

Cambridge University Ski & Snowboard Club

For any aspiring Varsity racers we train with Gravity Snowsports at XScape Milton Keynes on a Monday night. This is as close as it gets to skiing on real snow in England! Gear hire is included for those without it and both free skiing and gate training instruction is given. We leave at 4pm and usually arrive back in Cambridge before 10pm.


Oxford University Ski & Snowboard Club

For those of you who can’t wait to hit the slopes after a long summer we will also be running weekly race training on Monday evenings at Hemel Hemstead. Qualified coaches will be there to provide guidance on improving your race techniques whether you are a beginner or a racing expert. It's a bargain at just £25 for a 2 hour session including transport and ski hire.



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