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Saint Mary’s Ski Club revitalized for winter season

| Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Saint Mary’s Ski Club has been unable to hit the slopes for two years. There just hasn’t been enough snow. This year, things seem to be turning around.

“The club has been inactive since my freshman year. It’s disappointing because Ski Club was a great chance to just relax and have some fun,” senior physics major and club president Hannah Towe said.

Towe has been working to revitalize the club for this year.

“I started by bringing together a group of friends who used to be in ski club or who were interested,” Towe said. “Social media and the activities fair has helped spread the message and there’s been a lot of interest. I made a Facebook posting and a lot of underclassmen have emailed me to ask about joining.”

The club’s advisor is Ranjan Rohatgi of the math department. However, Rohatgi said he doesn’t play a large role in club activities — he leaves that to Towe.

“On my end, it’s mostly checking paperwork and making sure some of the technical details are taken care of,” Rohatgi said.

Ski Club is non-competitive and open to all levels of experience, Towe said, and students from both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s participate.

“We try to get together every weekend we can,” she said. “It’s a nice opportunity to meet new people, especially for someone like me. I’m a physics major, which is relatively new at Saint Mary’s and only has about 10 people. Ski Club has become a way to make new friends and have some fun after a long week. We meet in Saint Mary’s Student Center before driving to the ski site. Then we just ski until people get tired or it gets dark, whichever comes first.”

For Towe and other club members, the appeal of ski club lies in its ability to be both an independent and group activity, Towe said.

“When I ski, I’m very detached from tech and the outside world,” she said. “I go with friends, but I can still be alone.”

The club visits Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area in Jones, Michigan, about 40 minutes from Saint Mary’s. Towe said they have two lifts and several hills of various difficulties, with everything from a bunny hill for beginners to two black diamonds. Beginner lessons are available and club members who have never skied are encouraged to take part in them.  

Club members can bring their own ski equipment or rent from Swiss Valley.

Towe has made some changes to the old ski club model. In order to save members’ money, she changed from the old lift ticket system, where the club would buy a large pack for the entire season, to pay per visit.

“Technically there are around 50-60 people on the email list,” she said. “However on a good day we get maybe 20 members who show up. In order to allow for more flexibility we’ll just have members pay for their own ticket when they want to go. That way there’s no obligation and no one feels guilty about wasting money if they can’t make it.”

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