Get to snow Schussmeisters

UB's ski club pushes beginner recruitment, hopes to attract more students with new bussing days

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Buffalo is known for its snow. It is not, however, known for its skiing.

But that doesn’t stop Schussmeisters Ski Club –– a student-run club at UB founded in 1960 –– from making the best of the nearby slopes.

Schussmeisters, which provides ski-pass deals to the UB and local communities, was named after the word “schuss” ––which means to go straight down a hill on skis –– and the german word “meister,” which means master. The 160-member club’s mission statement is “to create affordable skiing for college students” and with a “pass price” currently at $279 for students, and $309 for anyone else, students say the club is doing just that. Although prices will rise as the season approaches, the club’s passes will still offer access to four different slopes: Holiday Valley, Kissing Bridge, Peek’n Peak and Swain, with a free Friday bus to Holiday Valley.

While the club reduced the number of days it offers free bussing from three to one this year, members are still able to use their pass to go skiing up to four times per week and the club can now offer cheaper passes.

The club hopes more members will be able to use the bus and go skiing now that the bus runs on Fridays, according to club president Carly Connor. The buses on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were unpopular because some members had class the next day and were unable to go. 

“The bussing is now more accessible to students because we run it Friday at 4:30 rather than during the week,” Connor said. “This allows more students to go because it is the weekend and they do not have class the following day.”

The club decided to change the busing after conducting an online poll which indicated members would prefer to pay less for a pass and only have one bus that runs on Fridays, according to Maxwell Morrill, a sophomore mechanical engineering major and Vice Chairperson of the club. 

To compensate for less busing, the club also organized a “carpool group chat.” The group allows members to find others who can provide rides to those who can’t drive. 

Schussmeisters is open to skiers of all experience levels. 

Connor believes inexperienced skiers have hestitated to join the club because of a common presupposition that skiing is too dangerous.

“A misconception some people have about our club, and skiing in general, is that it is a dangerous sport,” Connor said. “ Many people believe that they are too uncoordinated to join.”

Morrill agrees.

“A lot of people do seem scared,” Morrill said. “When I was talking to people that may want to be new members of the club I got so many [people saying], ‘I would break my leg’ or ‘I’d get a concussion.’”

But club members believe there is room for beginners at Schussmeisters, as the slopes the club has access to all have runs that are easy enough for beginners. 

Schussmeisters’ passes also include two ski or snowboard lessons at Kissing Bridge to help beginners learn. 

Roni Berger, a senior finance major and former club member, emphasized that skiing is learnable and anyone can become a “meister” with practice. 

“It’s all about starting at your own pace. [Skiing] could be scary to think about if you’ve never done it, but if you have a good instructor or friend teaching you the basics, it’s easy to face,” said Berger. “It is very easy to control your speed and [direction], so it’s a lot simpler than you might think.”

In order to promote recruitment, Schussmeisters held the annual Rail Jam on Sept. 27 in the field north of Lee Road and west of the University Bookstore. 

The event featured a variety of “park equipment” and artificial snow that club leaders used to perform snowboard tricks and ski tricks. The event also featured a Slip ‘N Slide. 

“The rail jam yesterday went well,” Connor said. “There were more people than we expected who were able to get in some skiing and snowboarding before the season officially starts.”

Sofie Robinson is a staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com.

Julian Roberts-Grmela is an assistant features editor and can be reached at julian.grmela@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @GrmelaJulian.