GVSU ski and snowboard club provides competitive, friendly atmosphere

GVL / Courtesy - Connor Currier 
The GVSU Ski Club prepares to leave for their second ski meet on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

Connor Currier

GVL / Courtesy – Connor Currier The GVSU Ski Club prepares to leave for their second ski meet on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

Brady McAtamney

Winter provides all kinds of fun and games – snowball fights, sledding, building snowmen and, of course, skiing and snowboarding. While these are all great for spending time with loved ones, some are also great for fierce competitions.

That’s where the Grand Valley State ski and snowboard club comes in. The coed squad takes the beloved winter activities and travels to Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Michigan during four winter weekends before packing up for the granddaddy of them all—a weekend in Marquette, Mich. for the regional finals.

While neither the ski nor snowboard squad from Allendale has been particularly known for its on-the-hill success, the snowboarders have taken the league by storm this winter having won several races thus far.

“It’s pretty cool because on the hill we’re with teams like Michigan and Michigan State and everybody knows who’s coming in first and who’s coming in second and we were never viewed as one of the best teams and now everybody has to watch us, they’re excited to see how we do,” said club financial officer and skier Kristin Whaley. “It’s a cool atmosphere to be in and teams are competing with us and they see us as a threat which everybody enjoys.”

Lofty expectations have emerged for the Laker boarders after this season’s success. However, club president and senior snowboarder Connor Currier believes his people have what it takes to get the job done among other concerns.

“What I expect is hopefully nobody gets hurt and that everyone has fun,” he said. “As a president, I tell people to go give it their best shot and see what happens, but for my snowboarders I hope they can come in first or second and that would be really special to say that we did that. Last year we got third place in regionals and divisional.”

The success is a blast not only for those winning their races but for their teammates who have a front row seat to the action.

“It’s really fun to see when people win their races,” said general officer and skier Hattie LeVeque. “Everyone on the race days come together and it’s really fun to see everyone come together.”

Similar to many other club sports at GVSU, though, the ski and snowboard club is not only for those interested in racing. The team is open to join for any student on campus looking for some weekend activities, a place to ski with others or even just a group of friends.

The club prides itself on its sense of friendship and the tight knit community which they have created, describing it as a “family” and even like their own “fraternity”.

“Coming to Grand Valley I didn’t have a ton of friends and joining I was nervous. I joined at Campus Life Night and I had to get to know everybody,” Whaley said. “Everybody wants to get to know you. We have our whole group together and it’s hilarious because we’re just like a mob of skiers and they’re like my family, and about six of them are my best friends and I’ll continue to see them after college.”

The highlight of the season for the Lakers is the season ending trip to Marquette. Everybody packs into a set of charter busses and braces together for the near seven hour road trip to the Upper Peninsula, and, once they arrive, they live it up on the slopes.

This season, the trip goes from Friday, Feb. 17 to Sunday, Feb. 19.

From their fundraising efforts in the fall to arriving back in Allendale after regionals weekend, it is easy to see that every Laker snow-shredder loves the time spent on the slopes not only for the thrill of the ride, but also for the friends they meet along the way.