When winter rolls around in Ohio, the one thing on everyone’s mind is snow. Is it going to snow this year? And even if the snow comes around, how does someone even go about enjoying it when you are trapped inside a busy city?
For the members of the Ohio State Ski Team and the Ohio State Ski Club, the best way to enjoy the winter months is easy: pile into a car, leave the city, and hit the slopes with your best friends.
And while the hills in Ohio have no comparison to the mountains out west in places like Jackson Hole, Wyoming or Boulder, Colorado, the feeling of blazing down a hill at Mad River Mountain is still exhilarating.
Plus, the lodge bar is always offering shots of whiskey to help ease the pain of your last wipeout.
For both the Ski Team and Ski Club, the collective unconscious boils down to a passion for skiing. Whether it be working to improve slalom times for an upcoming competition, riding over to Capitol Park to practice jumps and grinds on rails, or simply hitting the lodge bar for a quick slice of pizza and a beer, the two separate groups hold a similar love.
They also hold discounts on college nights at Mad River Mountain. That alone makes joining one of the organizations enticing when you realize you are shelling out $20 to $50 for every adventure to the hills.
But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice differences. While the Ski Team competes in competitions on both the national and regional level, the Ski Club is more of a hang out for skiers and boarders who enjoy the slopes as well as sipping on a few cold ones at Midway for their weekly Thursday socials.
It’s high time someone gets to the bottom of this and explains the differences between the two. So that’s exactly what we did.
We sat down with Elliot Waissbluth of the OSU Ski Team as well as Danny Collins of the OSU Ski Club to truly get the lowdown on their respective groups and how they offer different opportunities for students with different levels of passion for skiing and snowboarding.
The OSU Ski Team
If you are someone who is passionate about skiing and boarding on a competitive level, you should seriously consider joining the OSU Ski Team.
The heart and soul of the Ski Team is the Race Team they have compiled for competitions each year. For the most part, Waissbluth says most members who join the team to begin doing competitions haven’t really ever raced before; and that’s totally fine. Along with Waissbluth, the team is full of members who are perfectly capable to help you learn the techniques and forms of racing.
The team competes in four race weekends throughout the state of Ohio where members will be racing competitively and also participating in freestyle events, Waissbluth explained. As members of the Midwest Collegiate Ski Association, the OSU Ski Team is the only collegiate ski team in Ohio. Though no one else comes out to participate in the freestyle events, they serve as timed trial qualifiers to allow the team to compete in regional and national competitions. Last season, the team sent nine members to Oregon to compete on the national level.
Competitions span over five weeks and take place from January to February where the team will make trips to places in Ohio such as Snow Trails or Brandywine as well as leaving the state to visit Marquette Mountain and Crystal Mountain in Michigan.
It’s not mandatory for members to join the racing squad, but Waissbluth explained it’s an incredible way to begin the snow season for riders of all skill levels. And if you aren’t feeling the competition, but want to check out the mountains in Michigan; no sweat. You can join the team on the trip to Michigan and catch up with them on the mountain after their competitions.
And that’s partially what Ski Team is about—being surrounded with friends who share a common love of action sports. Along with hitting the hills, the team spends time together hosting premiers of new skiing movies, practicing jumps with the mini-ramp setup in the backyard of Waissbluth’s house, and in the offseason, taking white water rafting trips or simply just riding around campus on a skateboard.
“It connects people who have a love for the mountain and just sports like that in general,” Waissbluth said. “It’s a community of people who like action sports with skiing at the center of that.”
To get in contact with the OSU Ski Team, check out their website: osuskiteam.webs.com/
OSU Ski Club
For the skier and boarders at OSU who enjoy the sport and enjoy spending a few extra hours at the lodge bar, the OSU Ski Club is what you are looking for.
While the Ski Team is mostly for students interested in the competition that comes with skiing and boarding, the Ski Club focuses on the social aspects that come with hitting the slopes. This isn’t to say the team doesn’t ski; it’s just saying not only can the members beat you down the hill, they can probably beat you in a beer chugging contest as well.
For Danny Collins, the OSU Ski Club is like a family to him. Whether the club is gliding down the hills at Mad River Mountain, taking white water rafting trips in the offseason, or getting together to kick back a few beers at the weekly get-togethers at Midway; Ski Club offers a little something to everyone with an interest in the sport.
The lack of competitive nature doesn’t mean this isn’t a serious group of skiers either. Much like the OSU Ski Team taking trips out west, the OSU Ski Club hosts a yearly ski trip out west where more than 200 students join them. The trip is a little expensive, but once the club arrives out west, the world is their oyster. Want to hit the slopes? Go do it. Want to spend the day getting drunk at the lodge? Twist someone’s arm and they are bound to join you.
When the Ski Club isn’t hanging out at the hills on Mad River or waiting for the wintery season to arrive, they enjoy doing what nearly all college kids love to do: drinking some cheap beer. The club hosts a social gathering every week at Midway on Thursdays where members can pay $40 at the beginning of the season for a mug that grants members access to a keg that doesn’t stop giving out refills until it’s completely empty or the bartenders close down the bar. And yes, they do accept Venmo.
To get in contact with the OSU Ski Club, check out their website: osuskiclub.com/