EdCC Students Hit the Slopes

Skiing is a uniquely restrictive sport. It’s seasonal, often prohibitively expensive, and requires both expensive gear and a ride to the sum Skiing is a uniquely restrictive sport. It’s seasonal, often prohibitively expensive, and requires both expensive gear and a ride to the summit. But on Feb. 2, a little after 12:30 p.m., a travel bus packed with almost 40 students set off for Stevens Pass.

Miriam Urie and Victoria Callahan

The ski trip was organized by Victoria Callahan, the Coordinator for Residential Education in the Housing Office. This trip is Rainer Place’s 10th annual. Callahan mostly oversees the residence halls: Rainer Place, Sophie Court, and Spencer Court. Signups for the ski trip were opened first to housing and homestay students, then to the campus at large. This year had almost 40 students in attendance, a slight decrease from last year. Callahan is invested in creating a good time for students.

“We want to try to give different experiences.” Night skiing is far more affordable than a day pass, and buying as a group makes the individual tickets even more accessible. Several packages were offered for the trip. One just included transportation, and cost $10. The second was a $45 package that included a lift ticket and transportation. The third and most popular was a 75$ package that included transportation, a lift ticket, and rental equipment. The fourth package was popular as well, and included everything in the third package with an additional two-hour lesson from a ski instructor.

Miriam Urie and Victoria Callahan

The day was bright and cold, and it was just our luck that day that there was less ice, and more powdery snow. The beauty of snow on mountains never seems to lose its punch, even for someone who has seen it many times before. Some students were experienced skiers. For others, seeing so much snow in one place was a new experience.

Thomas and Jack Sterling, brothers, had been skiing for years. Their dad, a passionate skier, had wanted to share skiing with his kids. Thomas, though he enjoyed skiing, hadn’t gone in several years.

Zoe Chang is from Hong Kong, an area that has only seen snowfall four times since weather records began. She’d seen snow before, but never skied or snowboarded.

This was Aaron Lee’s fourth time snowboarding, and he came decked out with mirrored ski goggles, special recording equipment, and a cat-face ski mask. He said he particularly enjoyed helping others, and jokingly added he also liked seeing his classmates fall.

Miriam Urie and Victoria Callahan

Learning to fall down correctly is an integral part of learning, as all experienced skiers know. I interviewed Ken Bailey, the night supervisor and trainer at Stevens Pass, on his tips for beginners. Bailey was one of the instructors teaching the Edmonds Community College group. He started skiing in 1967, when he was three years old. He’s been teaching at the pass since 2005. I asked him if he thought skiing or snowboarding was more accessible to beginners.

“Oh, I think both are, it really depends on the individual and the experience they have going in […] the main thing is making a person comfortable.” Bailey said while describing how the basic techniques of skiing and snowboarding are “body awareness, being comfortable, and understanding that anyone can do the sport.” He was emphatic that having any athletic ability, including the ability to walk, means that you’re capable of sliding on snow. “Anyone can do it.”

I mentioned the basic techniques that I had learned when I was a kid, the pizza and French fries positions.  Pizza refers to pointing the tips of your skis together to make a triangle shape with your skis, and French fries refers to making your skis parallel to each other, like fries.

Miriam Urie and Victoria Callahan

Apparently, I learned on an older method.

“They’ve got pizza at the Iron Goat, and French fries at the Cascadian Kitchen,” said Bailey. “We teach you how to glide.”

Skiing, like anything involving careening down a mountain on plastic, can cause injuries. When asked about the dangers of skiing and snowboarding, Bailey maintains that safety is a relative term. “With any endeavor you’re doing physically, whether it’s this, skateboarding, playing soccer, there’s always a little bit of risk. But getting out of bed in the morning is a risk.”

Miriam Urie and Victoria Callahan

Either through his wise teachings or through pure luck, everyone made it back to the bus without injury, and students report a great time.

The Rainier Place Ski trip is annual, but International Student Services is planning a ski trip this coming spring. If you think you missed out on this trip, you can still sign up for theirs! The ski trip is open to all students, not just international. The trip will be on Tuesday, Mar. 19, after the quarter ends. It will be an all-day trip, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fees will be updated soon. Whether you’ve never skied before or it’s an old hobby, anyone can try. Provided you can pay the entry fee.

Miriam Urie and Victoria Callahan