Whether potential new members have flown down snowy mountain terrain or have yet to try on a pair of snow pants, the UO Snow club skiing and snowboarding team welcomes students of all abilities.
The team — currently in season — has more than 100 members in comparison to last season’s 15.
“I wish I could just share the mountain experience with everyone,” team coordinator Dylan Heim said. “That’s what I’m really trying to do.”
Heim and two fellow UO Snow members, Alivia Nelson and Laura Groshans, explained that the team is not competitive, although individuals can push themselves and sign up for competitions as they please. 10 UO Snow members — including Heim — will compete this weekend in a regional competition at Mt. Bachelor.
Heim grew up on the East Coast and had to learn how to ski on bigger mountains and deeper snow when he moved to Oregon.
“My friends were always down to wait up for me, and I met friends who weren’t as good at first, and we all progressed together,” Heim said. “Now we’re all in the terrain park having fun on the jumps.”
Nelson, who grew up in Hawaii, said even though she doesn’t have quite as much experience as others on the team, she joined UO Snow for a community through club sports.
“I joined the team mostly because I wanted to get better and be with a bunch of other people who would help me get there,” Nelson said.
Groshans is beginning her first season with UO Snow after being involved in a similar program at Oregon State. She said the team is an “inclusive [and] safe environment.”
“The cool thing about UO Snow is there are kids who feel comfortable trying it,” Groshans said. “It allows people to have their own goals with it.”
The team doesn’t require formal tryouts. All interested members fill out an application in the newly opened club sports office. Members are then required to pay a $100 fee that covers transportation and special activities such as overnight cabin trips.
Heim was able to go up to the mountain 30 times last season, making the fee seem negligible.
The team expects to be active through June this year due to a surplus of snowfall that hit the mountains. The Ducks will head to Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood and smaller mountains such as Willamette Pass.
There are several different levels of slopes and progressions on all of the mountains, so beginners should not feel intimidated. Heim also said that people of similar levels tend to naturally pair up together, and he likes to float around and make sure that everyone is enjoying the experience.
Follow Alexa Chedid on Twitter @alexachedid18