It’s that time of year again: classes are ending for breaks, holidays are beginning, and snow is accumulating.
This year, Springfield College students can add another positive to the winter list, as the Springfield College Ski and Snowboard Club will finally be back in full swing. After a few years of vacancy, juniors and Co-Club Presidents Meghan Driscoll and Jack Reetz have revived the club.
When Reetz was touring here at Springfield College, he noticed that there was something missing from the campus – a skiing and snowboarding club. This was something that as an avid skier, he found egregious.
In order to fix the problem, Reetz and Driscoll met with Club Sports Director Tom Verrico, in hopes to continue skiing in college himself and bring it to others.
Verrico encouraged the pair to revive the club, and they did just that.
“It’s kind of been my baby,” said Reetz.
Reetz also stressed the importance of having the club available to all. “We want the club to be open to anybody interested in snow sports whatsoever. It would help if you’ve skied or snowboarded before, prior to joining the club, but we want to open this up to anyone who’s interested.”
“This year was easier for us, because we had put so much work in in the past two years,” said Driscoll.
“We luckily got a bunch of involvement in the club fair and a lot of kids are excited; I think a lot of people are just ready to get back to normal as best as they can… we’re starting lifts this week, we’re having all sorts of students from people who have competed in high school to people who have never skied before, and we’re just ready to start getting in shape and getting ready for our season,” Driscoll added.
The return of the club will be starting up the first weekend of the spring semester, where members can expect the season to last about 10 weeks.
“We go up on Saturday’s and Sunday’s for pretty much the first ten weekends of the spring semester,” explained Reetz.
The club competes for the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) under the McBrine division, which includes all of the colleges on the East Coast. Competitions can run for about an hour, depending on which competition the member has signed up for, and the rest of the day is free for skiing.
The presidents have worked hard to make the club as financially viable as possible and offered different “brackets” for students to fall into based on their experience and what they personally want from the club.
“The pass that will allow you to ski two weekends will be about $200, and it goes in increments of two, so you could ski two, four, six, or eight weekends. The most you’ll pay is a little bit over $500, and that’s including a ski jacket,” said Driscoll.
For those not really into competition, though, there is no need to worry.
“The rest of the days, on Saturdays and Sundays, are for free skiing and snowboarding,” assured Reetz.
A terrain park will be offered for students to try out their jumps and tricks on their skis and snowboards, and Driscoll said the club plans on visiting mountains like Okemo, Mt. Snow, and Whiteface Mountain.
Things will be run differently than times of the past, however, thanks in part to the ever-lasting COVID-19 pandemic which has kept the team from competing the past two years. Members are expected to follow guidelines that the USCSA has put in place in order to keep the community safe. The required guidelines can be found on the USCSA website, underneath the “COVID-19 Information” tab.
“Masks are required everywhere – that means in lodge, on mountain, while you’re racing, et cetera,” said Reetz.
“Luckily, though, skiing and snowboarding are the kind of sports where you can socially distance, so you don’t have to worry about being near other people when you’re out there,” added Driscoll.
According to the co-presidents, though, the bibs that most skiers and snowboarders already choose to wear will fit in accordance with the USCSA mask mandate. This will allow them to have some sense of normalcy on the slopes.
There are multiple ways for students to get involved in the growing club. For in-person opportunities, the team hosts fundraisers throughout the year, and they can also annually be found at the Club Sports Fair that’s hosted at the beginning of the year.
The best way to get involved is through their Instagram page @sc_skiandsnowboard, where students can find all the information and updates on the team. A sign-up form is also located in the account bio, making it easy for students to join.
The students’ excitement of restarting the club is only escalated by their happiness to get back out on the slopes, especially with new members.
“We are so excited to return. We’ve been slowly getting to this stage for years,” emphasized Reetz.
Photo: Ski/Snowboard Club Instagram