CSU Snowboarding Team builds friendships and skills on and off the slopes

Winter is coming. And with winter, comes hot chocolate, snowball fights, sledding and, of course, snowboarding. The CSU snowboarding team is gearing up and starting to take to the slopes.

We are yet to have our first snow in Fort Collins, but that is not slowing the team down one bit. This year they have nearly 70 members and have been doing things as a team to prepare for the season.

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“We’ve had a few team events like going to Fly High in September and waxing and turning our boards together as well as having some unofficial team practices at (Arapahoe Basin) the past two Sundays,” said Snowboard Team President Travis Prall.

The Snowboard Team is a group of individuals who love snowboarding and love to get together to do it. One of the best things that comes with being a part of the team is the relationships that form. When asked about what keeps them coming back to the team, the first response was a unanimous “the friends!”

“(My favorite part is) hanging out with the team on and off the mountain because we do a lot of off mountain activities as well,” said Junior Megan Walsh.

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Photo courtesy of: The CSU snowboarding team

While the official title of the group is The Snowboard Team, they are a student organization. The majority of the time, their time in the mountains is spent just having fun snowboarding and learning from the coaches. That said, they do compete occasionally.

“Last year we did this edit reel from Red Bull that was throughout a bunch of different colleges and went head to head. You’d put out a themed edit that Red Bull would pick the theme of and then it was just based off votes. We won class clown,” said club member Nick Dawkins.

Aside from entertaining video competitions, there are legitimate snowboarding competitions that individuals from the team can choose to participate in.

“If there’s a competition we’ll support anyone on the team that wants to,” Prall said. “I personally did my first competition last year and hope to do more this year.”

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Photo courtesy of: The CSU snowboarding team

Another unique attribute to the team is sponsorship they are able to generate and how it is actively growing with help of their sponsor coordinator officer, Claire Eppley. Snowboard team sponsors include Red Bull, Winter Park, Woodward, CandyGrind, Technique, Fly High and Union Snowboard Bindings. These sponsors enable the team to get discounted gear, access to a few free events and good deals at certain resorts.

“I’m stoked to see what this year has to offer especially with the new opportunities brought to the team through our sponsors,” Prall said.

Not only is snowboarding a good option for having a good time and making friends, it also provides life lessons and messages that can apply to any aspect of one’s life.

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“I’ve learned the more out of your comfort zone you got, the better your experience is and the more you learn,” Schaiterer said.

Those who are a part of the team enjoy the club because they get to share their hobby, make friends and have fun on and off the slopes.

“I love snowboarding, especially terrain park and wanted to meet people here at CSU with similar interests, especially coming from out of state now knowing many people,” Prall said.

It is a great opportunity for those who do not have consistent transportation or just want to improve their snowboarding skills.

“Not having a car, I got rides to the mountain and had professional coaches to help me progress my skills in the park,” Prall said.

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Photo courtesy of: The CSU snowboarding team

Similar to all other clubs, it is something that can make or break your college experience, it offers a lot of amusement to help with the stress.

“Sophomore year I (was not on the team) and that was probably my biggest regret of college,” said Junior Jana Orzech.

The members of this particular team have a very strong sense of pride and connection.

“I think we’re a lot closer than most clubs,” said Junior Caroline Klusza

To add on to that point, the club is not seen as a “duty” or “responsibility” but rather an outlet for enjoyment.

“Our meetings are like an excuse to hang out,” Walsh said.

It is easy to join the team as long as you can snowboard at least a little bit. It is a way to continue snowboarding in college when you may not otherwise be able to do. The trips are a very important and a fun part of the team experience.

“I never knew any of the team members and I just randomly went to one of the trips to Park City and that’s how I met them all,” said Senior Morgan Schaiterer.

People are still actively asking to join the team and the membership is continuously growing.