It’s 7 p.m. on a tuesday night, and the LRC is buzzing with energy from about 75 eager students and curious parents. The new students listened earnestly as past members of the club talked about it’s background and goals for this upcoming season.
It was the annual Snow Raiders parent/student meeting for students who were interested in being part of the snowboarding/ski club. The meeting gave the students a chance to learn about the club, how to join, and what the academic and behavioral requirements were.
Aside from being informational, the meeting also gave students a chance to sign up for Alpine Valley Resort trips and earn a $15 Alpine Valley discount card, from the mountain resort they will be going to. The meeting also featured a guest speaker, an associate from Alpine Accessories, who talked discussed safety and appropriate equipment for the trips.
It all started after the club was initially removed due to a referendum that was passed in 2005, which cut some clubs and activities at the high school. The students who were in the club before the referendum wanted Health teacher Angela Zaleski, who had been snowboarding for sixteen years, to take charge and start it back up again.
As head of the club, Zaleski plans the trips, collects the fees, organizes the transportation and holds the parent/student meeting. But when it comes to running the club as a whole, she’s not entirely alone.
The Snow Raiders committee is in charge of organizing spirit wear, designing the display case that’s across the library, and setting up a Snow Raiders booth at freshman orientation night.
And as a tradition, they’re in charge of coming up with different themes for each trip. Some past themes included Hawaiian shirts, mustaches, and even an ugly sweater theme for the holiday season.
For Zaleski, the purpose of the club is more than organizing trips and meetings and just throwing kids on a mountain. It’s a way for students to learn more about something in a fun and inexpensive way.
“I want to introduce the teens to the world of skiing and snowboarding,” said Zaleski. “I also want to help the students by offering a less expensive sport.”
Besides the learning aspect, Snow Raiders offers students a chance to make new friends and socialize with people who have a common interest. And by meeting new people, the students can push each other to improve their skills.
“Something I enjoy about this club is watching students improve and meeting new kids,” said Zaleski. “I also like how I get to hang out with the other staff members.”
While the club does offer many social opportunities for students to make new friends, the sport itself is very independent. For sophomore Lukas Kubelka, the self-reliant nature is something that he enjoys.
“I like how you can do it at your own pace,” said Kubelka. “I like that sense of adventure you get when you go on some unknown terrain.”
Besides the fact that it gives you a sense of adventure and many social opportunities, the club offers a break from the real world. Its members feel that Snow Raiders is an escape from their normal everyday stress.
“It’s something to get away from school and just go snowboard and ski with friends.” said sophomore Nate Janney.
“It’s relaxing because it’s my break from grading papers and the stresses that come with life.” said Zaleski.
Although they may be a little biased, the members of Snow Raiders definitely recommend this club to everyone, regardless of experience. When asked if whether students should join or not, Janney replied with a “Oh gosh yeah, Mrs. zaleski’s da bomb!”