I first learned of USC’s ski and snowboarding team through their Youtube channel when I was in high school. In the winter back in Chicago I’d sit in front of my computer for hours watching the park riders spin, flip, and pop in and out of the half-pipes and wishing I were a part of it. The videos were so mesmerizing to me because they captured USC’s fun, determined, and family-oriented spirit and my favorite sport…snowboarding.
At home our best bet for snowboarding was hitting giant landfills we like to call mountains up in Wisconsin or Michigan. So since I joined the ski team I have become eternally spoiled with unlimited access to Mammoth, a world-class mountain, during the season.
The Ski Team is a group of 100 students, anywhere from beginners to semi-pro, and some of my favorite people around. Before the season starts we organize team-bonding activities like tailgates, trips to the beach, and cliff-jumping extravaganzas in order for everyone to get to know each other. Once the weekend of November 7th hits, it’s up to Mammoth Mountain however many or little weekends you wish. Mammoth is a five to six hour drive almost directly north of Los Angeles. This sounds like a long drive, but it’s actually an awesome part of the weekend. You get to know the people in your car super well in those five hours, jam to some good music (depending on the driver) haha, and enjoy the scenic view of mountains greeting you on each side of the road. It goes by fast.
During the season, you can choose to compete in downhill, park, half-pipe, or boarder-cross. We’ve had a couple kids make it all the way to nationals but most of the team doesn’t compete and just has fun skiing or snowboarding at their own pace. I absolutely love the 365 days of sunshine and warm weather in LA but definitely need my fill of winter and snow every now and then. By escaping up to Mammoth almost every other weekend last year, my craving for the cold was absolutely satisfied.
Just as much as I love hanging out in the mountains over the weekend, I love the people who are on the team. I’ve made some of my best friends through the team and they have become like a family to me. While this club seems like a huge time commitment, it is probably my favorite activity and one I will always make time for with engineering. Surprisingly, most of my friends in the club are also engineers. This does not mean our weekends have to be compromised…it just means we have to work smart! While I won’t go up to Mammoth the weekend before a big test or project, I can usually make time most other weekends by getting most of my homework done during the week and bringing the rest up to work on at a starbucks in Mammoth or during the car-ride. Actually, I am usually more productive when I am looking forward to a fun weekend and am more likely to get everything done ahead of time. If there is an activity or club you are passionate about I absolutely encourage you to go for it! Joining the USC Ski and Snowboarding team was one of the best decisions I made freshman year and has had such a positive affect on my USC experience.