Blizzard Boys

An inside look at four students' North Campus ski adventure

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One was driving. 

One was filming. 

One was there for the ride. 

And one was skiing off the back of the car.

Over 100,000 others watched.

Ben Meister, Ethan Pitts, Michael Herrick and their Jeep-driving friend Grady became the most popular guys on campus Wednesday; after Barstool Buffalo shared a video of them shredding across campus on Instagram. University Police reported three incidents of illegal car-rear skiing on Wednesday. The freshman group’s ski trip, which was cut short by a UPD stop, was a product of YouTube inspiration, 10 years of skiing experience and having a friend with a car -- something not all freshmen are used to.

Pitts, a business administration major, said the group came to the decision during a dining hall brainstorm.

“We were together in the morning. We went down to C3. We were like, ‘How can we take advantage of this snow?’” Pitts said. “And we remembered that our friend Grady has a jeep, which is probably the only vehicle best fit for the weather right now. We were like, ‘OK, let’s sled behind it. That’ll be hilarious right?’”

The crew collectively took the idea to shred UB’s roadways from Casey Neistat; a 37-year-old YouTuber whose 2016 video “SNOWBOARDING WITH THE NYPD” gained traction a couple years back. Neistat appears in the video wearing white sunglasses and a red and white outfit skiing the roads –– and becomes a high-fiving spectacle –– during a New York City snowstorm. 

The guys saw the snowstorm as an opportunity to replicate the famous video. They went out to Walmart and got a sled, some ropes and something to do on the snowy day. 

But then they realized that Meister, a business major, has been skiing for over 10 years. 

So they had a game plan.

“We were like ‘let’s get him to ski behind it and we’ll go around campus, go past SU, past all the important landmarks and just get a video of it and see if Barstool would take it,” Pitts said. “That would be awesome.”

They started their journey at Wilkeson Quadrangle and made a 15-minute loop around North Campus.

“We planned on setting up a few shots where I was in front of SU and they’d go by or like build a jump or whatnot, but then it kind of came into question of how much time we had until UPD comes over and stops us,” Pitts said. “I’d rather be stopped in Ellicott in the parking lot than in the middle of the street because that would’ve been not too great. But it would’ve been way, way funnier.”

Meister compared the experience to water skiing, but on solid ground.

“There was so much snow on the road that it was like riding with skis on flat ground,” Meister said. “So I could still fully turn and stop and stuff. It really felt normal, just beside the fact that you’re getting cold. … When I would see stuff, I would just try and do something on it. I do freestyle [skiing]. So I just saw it and was like, ‘I’ll try.’”

And he succeeded. 

For 15 minutes.

The group’s ski adventure and Playboi Carti listening session became short-lived when UPD pulled them over. Pitts said UPD warned the group that if they saw them skiing on the back of a car again, they’d be “slapping tickets” on their windows. Pitts said the police “were just doing their jobs.”

Meister said it would have been a “sick” ticket.

But the day didn’t end when the group put the skis away. Barstool Buffalo uploaded their video to Instagram with the caption “Shredding North Campus.”

Comments of “THATS MY ROOMMATE AYEEEEEE,” “Way to represent,” and “I see you out here” started pouring in. But the guys aren’t letting the fame get to their heads.

“For me, personally, I didn’t do it for the clout,” Meister said. “I just thought it was cool.”

The Spectrumasked the group if they’d ever consider repeating their viral moment, and Meister made it clear he’s always up for an adventure, but will be cautious about how he goes about it.

“I’m going to say I’m not necessarily going to not do it again,” Meister said. “We’ll be careful. I don’t need to have another run-in in the next week though.”

Pitts said the experience, paired with Playboi Carti’s “Old Money” blaring in the background, had a deeper meaning.

“You can only really be young and dumb for so long,” Pitts said. “So just take advantage of it when you’re young.”

Brenton Blanchet is the managing editor and can be reached at Brenton.Blanchet@ubspectrum.comand on Twitter @BrentBlanchSpec.

BRENTON BLANCHET


Brenton Blanchet is a junior communication major and The Spectrum's managing editor. His hobbies include collecting vinyl, jogging and meeting Mariah Carey.

The Spectrum elected Brenton Blanchet as editor-in-chief for the 2019-20 academic year. Blanchet has been writing for The Spectrum since 2016.