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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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SkiSU bus ships students to slopes miles from school

Colorado+State+University+students+and+staff+unload+the+SkiSU+bus+in+front+of+a+ski+resort+and+prepare+for+a+full+day+on+the+mountain.
Collegian | Photo Courtesy of SkiSU
Colorado State University students and staff unload the SkiSU bus in front of a ski resort and prepare for a full day on the mountain. CSU has a sponsored bus for the SkiSU program that takes students from campus to a ski resort for $25 to help save expenses of traveling the distance individually.

The closest distance between Colorado State University and a ski resort is 69 miles to Eldora Mountain Ski Resort.

Branching out to the more well-known Colorado ski resorts, CSU is 156 miles from Vail, 138 miles from Breckenridge, 130 miles from Keystone and 123 miles from Arapahoe Basin, all of which are over two-hour drives from campus, yet the proximity to ski resorts is something CSU touts in its promotional materials.

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“(Proximity to ski resorts) definitely was a contributing factor (for me coming to CSU),” third-year Bradley Hieber said. “I was looking at all schools that were, like, out here by the mountains.”

Hieber, originally from New Jersey, had been visiting Colorado for years before he moved to Colorado with his family before the start of his first year. For him, the distance to the slopes from campus was expected.

“I mean, it’s what I expected because I had been coming out here for years before I knew it would be, like, the three hours,” Hieber said. “I feel like out-of-state students definitely might think that the mountains in general are closer than (they are) because it’s a bit of a journey to get over there.”

Hieber’s time skiing has increased during college, especially when he drives to the slopes on the weekends and days off. But for some students who come to CSU with aspirations of skiing and struggle with the realities of the distance to the slopes, the SkiSU bus provides discounted rides to reach popular mountains nearby.

“Our main goal for the SkiSU bus is taking freshmen, other students and staff up to the mountains in a safe and sustainable way,” said McKenna Courtney, CSU senior and supervisor of the SkiSU program. “One goal there is to just make sure that everyone is getting up there safe and sound and cutting back on emissions (by providing rides) to people on campus.”

The SkiSU bus offers 12 trips a year up to mountains like Eldora, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain.

“(We want to make sure) the freshmen have a way up because we know a lot of them, especially the out-of-state students, really want a chance to get up there, especially if they’ve never been there before, and we want to provide them with the transportation to get there,” Courtney said.

Through a partnership with the Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board, Parking & Transportation Services and the Associated Students of CSU, the SkiSU program is able to offer discounted bus ticket prices at $25 for students and $34 for faculty for each round trip.

The SkiSU bus service was started in 2017 by a group of students who partnered with PTS. Following a soft launch the first year with five trips to the mountains and sold-out buses, the program has expanded each year.

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“We’ve found that more students are accessing the Ikon Pass location mountains,” Courtney said. “The student passes are a lot less expensive than the Epic Pass mountains, so that’s how we narrowed down our paths of preference for everybody. Since then, we’ve noticed a huge spike in popularity with the program.”

For the 2023-24 ski season, the SkiSU program has partnered with the CSU Snowriders to send two buses up to select mountains some weekends when the Snowriders are sponsoring events. Courtney said she hopes going forward, more buses can be sent up to mountains, as almost every trip is consistently sold out.

“Collaborating with other organizations on campus has been really important,” Courtney said. “We’ve been pretty successful so far in our partnership with the Snowriders, so potentially going and seeing if the CSU Freeride team needs transportation for any of their competitions that happen (or) approaching the Outdoor Club, who might want to try it as well.”

Going forward, Courtney said she hopes SkiSU can expand even further to serve students who are looking to ski.

“Just a lot of collaboration and more integration from the CSU community into this service is what this is going to lead toward,” Courtney said. “A lot of the buses this year sold out before the school year started, which is insane, so my hope is that we just have enough buses to get everyone up there and meet customer demand.”

Reach Allie Seibel at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @allie_seibel_

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About the Contributor
Allie Seibel
Allie Seibel, Editor in Chief
Allie Seibel is the editor in chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, a role she loves more and more with each day. Previously the news editor and news director of The Collegian, Seibel has a background in news, but she’s excited to branch out and experience every facet of content this and following years. Seibel is a sophomore journalism and media communications major minoring in business administration and legal studies. She is a student in the Honors Program and is also an honors ambassador and honors peer mentor. She also is a satellite imagery writer for the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University. Seibel is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and loves how The Collegian has gotten her acquainted with Fort Collins and CSU. When she’s not writing, reporting or in class, you can always find her with a book, cross-stitching, planning where to travel to next, trying out a new recipe or listening to Taylor Swift. Seibel is incredibly proud of The Collegian’s past and understands the task of safeguarding its future. She’s committed to The Collegian’s brand as an alt-weekly newspaper and will continue to advance its status as a strong online publication while preserving the integrity and tradition of the print paper. Seibel is excited to begin a multi-year relationship with readers at the helm of the paper and cannot wait to see how the paper continues to grow. Through initiatives like the new science desk and letting each individual desk shine, Seibel is committed to furthering The Collegian and Rocky Mountain Student Media over the next few years.

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