By Rick Palsgrove
The Cruisers are hitting the ski slopes this winter.
A student skiing club was reborn this winter at Groveport Madison High School, after about a dozen years absence, when Groveport Madison technology coordinators Allie Costin and Todd Gray restarted the Cruiser Ski Club last October.
Costin, who is a snowboarder, and Gray, a skier, thought the club would be a new and different experience for the students.
“The students may not otherwise have a chance to experience something like this,” said Gray about introducing the students to snowboarding and downhill snow skiing.
Club member and student Abby Quinn enjoys being in the club.
“I like that it’s something I can do with my friends and something almost everyone can do,” said Quinn. “I decided to try it because I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something else I really like to do.”
The club consists of adult co-advisors Costin, Gray, and Peter Dotson and seven students (six girls and one boy): Casey Curtis, Madelynn Schoonover, Kristin Rucker, Abby Quinn, Thomas Gallatt, Audrey Brown, and Camryn Saunders.
The ski club scheduled ski trips every Tuesday night for six weeks.
“But the club has only been out two times so far because the warm winter weather has hampered the conditions for skiing,” said Gray.
The club skis at Mad River Mountain, located near Zanesfield in Logan County, which features a 1,460 foot mountain elevation, a 300 foot vertical drop, 144 skiable acres, and 20 trails, according to Gray.
“Mad River Mountain has a reduced price for lift tickets and lessons for ski clubs,” said Gray. “It’s their way of introducing students to the sports of snowboarding and skiing.”
Gray said each student purchases their own lift ticket and lesson pass. The club also has a sponsor, which allowed the club to purchase helmets for all the students.
Gray said any student in grades 9-12 could join the club before the cut off date in December.
“They need to purchase a pass to ski and they have to meet the academic grades set forth by the Groveport Madison school board to participate in an extracurricular activity,” said Gray. “All skill levels are welcome, from never having skied or snowboarded to the the advance skier or snowboarder. Six out the seven students this year had never snowboarded or skied before.”
Gray said said the club “gives students who may not excel in what we consider a ‘conventional’ sport in high school an opportunity to be involved in a sport while in school.”
Quinn said skiing is different than anything else she’s done.
“A lot of the other things I do are summer sports, so I was excited to find out what it was like to do something in the winter,” said Quinn. “I have been skiing, so I still want to try to snowboarding and go tubing, but I’m sticking with skiing because I really enjoy it.”
Snowboarding and skiing require much practice.
“We told the students from the beginning it was not something you were going to pick up the very first time out and there would be lots of falling and maybe some bumps and bruises along the way,” said Gray. “Do not give up and come back next week. We encouraged them to take lessons each week and told them they will get the hang of it and get better each week. It’s like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget. You may take a few years off here and there from skiing or snowboarding, but once you are back on the slopes you may have some weak legs, but it all comes back in a matter of minutes.”
Gray said it is a sport students can share with their friends and family and, if they have children of their own some day, they can ski or snowboard with them.
“It’s a lifelong sport,” said Gray.
Gray said the club currently is not doing any cross country skiing.
“We are just concentrating on downhill skiing and snowboarding,” said Gray. “We hope the current members will share the excitement with their friends and we start getting the word out early next school year so the Cruiser Ski Club will grow.”