Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ski, Snowboarding Club Hits The Slopes

By Alison Haywood, Sports Reporter

After years of inactivity, the Pacific Lutheran Ski and Snowboard Club is back under new leadership and in full force.

Club president sophomore Kyle Monahan said he knew he wanted to restart the Ski and Snowboarding Club the moment he got to PLU. He collected signatures and got the club approved through Clubs & Organizations at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year, but it did not gain momentum until the middle of the academic year when he befriended some upperclassmen in the J-term skiing class who had cars.

Monahan’s season ended early due to a back injury in February 2011, putting the club on hold as well.

This year, Monahan started gathering interest for the club early with a booth at the Involvement Fair and since then membership has more than doubled.

Monahan attributes the club’s success to a “great group” of first-years who go up to the mountain every weekend and “aren’t shy about offering up seats in their cars to other ski club members.”

Club Vice President of Skiing senior Boo Dodson said there has always been a group of PLU students who regularly went skiing.

“PLU’s always had a group of people that are pretty good skiers, so we just want to keep that going,” Dodson said, then added, “and snowboarders.”

One of the main functions of the Ski and Snowboard Club is to serve as a carpool network, organized on the club’s Facebook page.

“It’s a lot easier to get up to the mountain if you have a skier friend with a car,” Monahan said. “And then for upperclassmen, it’s really cheap if you can get your car full and everyone paying for gas. So it’s like a win-win situation.”

For club member first-year Danny DuBois, snowboarding is a way to get away from it all and escape the monotony of college life.

“Every time I go up, it’s a totally different mindset and almost a whole new world for me,” DuBois said. “I view the PLU Ski and Snowboard Club as sort of a window, a gateway to be able to do that.”

DuBois said he has gone skiing 42 times already this season and expects to break his record from last year, which was 43 visits to the slopes. DuBois is an administrator for the Facebook group and said he hopes to become club president after Monahan graduates.

First-year Zack Wangler is from Missouri and has less experience than some members of the group.

“I’m more there for the rides than anything else,” Wangler said. “Before I came to PLU, I had nine days under my belt in general, ever, skiing or snowboarding. And then I came here, and I met Danny [DuBois] … Ever since then, I’ve been trying to go up about once a month or so.”

Monahan said they let anyone join regardless of ability.

“You don’t even have to know how to ski,” he said.

In addition to carpools, the Ski and Snowboard Club plans to collaborate with ASPLU Outdoor Recreation to organize bigger official trips. Dodson and Vice President of Snowboarding Ian Metz are both Outdoor Rec guides and are organizing on an overnight trip to Mount Baker.

“It’s [Mount Baker is] really close, it gets the most snowfall in the world,” Dodson said. “We’ve always wanted to go up there. We’ve just never been able to afford it.”

Monahan said he and Dodson are also planning on filming some shots and putting together a short movie “that probably won’t be very good, but it’ll just be fun to have.” Dodson said the edit will probably consist of them goofing off, riding and attempting to do some tricks.

DuBois said that most of the friendships he’s found at PLU have been through snowboarding.

“It’s a really fun environment,” DuBois said. “The group of people is amazing.”