Photos by Ethan Clewell
We sent a writer to one of Mad River Mountain’s College Fridays
What I will remember most vividly about Ohio State is how much spring semester sucks. The weather is awful, we have far fewer breaks than we do in the fall, and there isn’t shit to do. This is the sad reality which I have been forced to accept, and I am sure you have come to a similar conclusion. Now, we can either live out this dreadful Ohio winter in defeat, or we can get creative and fight back. Despite my disdain for weather below 50 degrees, I’ve decided to use Ohio’s shitty snow for some fun. This is the year we are trying out winter sports, baby!
Some quick research will show you that Mad River Mountain, about an hour away in Zanesfield, is the closest place to ski near campus. I decided to take advantage of their deal: College Fridays. $20 gets you all-day and all-night lift tickets, another $19 gets you all the rental gear necessary, and an additional $10 gets you a helmet. (The helmet is not required, but their drink deals will ensure that you will bust your ass at some point. I recommend getting one.) Each College Friday brings a new list of weekly specials in The Loft – a warm little bar on the second floor of the lodge with many drinks and delicious dining options.
I recommend doing your eating in The Loft because the cafeteria downstairs is a bit overpriced. You’ll get more bang for your buck upstairs, and they have a cool deck with a beautiful view of the slopes.
After I got my fill in The Loft, I finally got my skis and hit the slopes. If you’re a newbie like me, I highly suggest bringing an experienced friend to show you the ropes. Honestly, every step of the skiing process was more difficult than I expected. I don’t know if I would have even been able to get my skis on my feet without help, and even with some quick instructions, I still never really learned how to stop properly. Instead, I employed a sure-fire method which consisted of putting my hand on the ground and landing on my ass. Luckily, this method saved me from taking out all the toddlers on the beginner hill to which my novice self was relegated.
THE FEELING OF WARMING UP MY HALF-FROZEN HANDS AND NOSE AFTER A DAY SPENT IN THE SNOW NEVER GETS OLD – IT MIGHT EVEN GET BETTER WITH AGE. REGARDLESS, IT DEFINITELY GETS BETTER WITH A DRINK OR TWO.
Other than stopping, the hardest part for me was getting on the conveyor belt which took me up the small, beginner hill. Things were going alright the first few times down the hill, but at one point, my skis got tangled and I ate shit on said conveyor belt. Despite the sound advice that the toddlers waiting behind me were giving, my exhausted ass couldn’t get up, so I just rolled off the conveyor and took the loss.
While my try at skiing was not exactly the confidence boost I needed in the midst of my winter serotonin drought, it did help me laugh at myself, a skill which has atrophied in the competitive college atmosphere here at Ohio State.
Skiing at Mad River gave me an intense sense of nostalgia, taking me back to the snow days of elementary school which I spent outside (completely ruining the purpose of the snow day). The feeling of warming up my half-frozen hands and nose after a day spent in the snow never gets old – it might even get better with age. Regardless, it definitely gets better with a drink or two.
College Fridays at Mad River also present the perfect opportunity for a double date. Learning something new together always creates a bond to be remembered. Plus, eating shit on the slopes is an easy way to break the ice with a laugh. The only downside is that if you don’t know your date super well, the hour long car ride there might get a little awkward. So make a fire playlist to ease that tension, and show off your excellent music taste simultaneously.
Even if you fail miserably like me, it still feels good to try something new and break a light sweat in the process. Your brain will thank me, and so will your emotions, exhausted from hours spent doing homework. We talk a lot about improving mental health at Ohio State, but no one really talks about how (especially during the winter). Nothing is going to change unless you try something new, and skiing at Mad River on College Fridays is the perfect way to affordably step out of your comfort zone, refresh your schedule, and have a little fun on the much-needed weekends you have left.•
Mad River Mountain is located at 1000 Snow Valley Rd. in Zanesfield. Hours vary depending on the day of the week. Find out more information on their website, www.skimadriver.com.