The SAIT Ski and Snowboard Club is coming hard out of the gate this season to follow up on their successful inaugural year of 2011 – 2012.
The club was started last September by Business Marketing student Matt Arena and his friend Eric Smith, who still run the show along with their friend and vice-president France Poulain.
Arenas’ and Smiths plan to start the club the same year they conceived it meant that they had to rush to get members and sponsors, while at the same time plan trips and group events.
“Start up was pretty tough and it was hard to get people involved.
“With such a small school, it’s difficult to get a club going, especially for an expensive hobby,” Arena said.
Despite the challenges, the club got off the ground and secured sponsorship from Commonwealth, Royal Boardshop, Ski Cellar, and Samsung.
Arena was chosen as one of 17 students across Canada to be part of Samsung’s Youth Editors, where he scored funding and national publicity for the club.
The first trip was to Fernie Alpine Resort in B.C., in December for two days of riding and three nights’ accommodation.
The second trip, was in February at Revelstoke, B.C.
Between the two trips, over 70 students participated, which Arena and his team believe is a major success.
“We stressed so hard to get it going, but once we were all there on that trip and everyone was having a good time, it was all worth it,” said Smith.
The club wrapped up the last season with an event at Commonwealth, where they presented a video/slideshow on everything they managed to accomplish in their first year.
The 2013 – 2014 school year has already started off on a good foot for the club.
“This year we were able to start planning and organizing in the summer, rather than late September, it has really helped us prepare,” Arena said.
The club will be having a pre-season event at the Roadhouse, for the current season, where everyone will get a chance to meet each other before the first trip and enjoy some time together as a group.
This year members will receive a SAIT Ski and Snowboard Roadhouse All Access Pass, which provides them with no line and no cover at Calgary night clubs all year long.
Members will also receive discounts at Ski Cellar snowboards and Royal Boardshop.
“We’re getting a lot more help from the Roadhouse this year, that’s where we will be doing most of our events” Poulain explained.
Roadhouse, being their main sponsor, provides the group with a venue for their events and a place to do some fundraising.
“We now have the opportunity to hold events almost any night of the week, where last year we only had a venue for Thursday nights,” said Poulain.
“This year there is definitely more interest, our first trip is almost full from just one day of sign-up, compared to last year where we had to do three or four different registration events,” said Arena.
The club has currently booked the same two trips as last year for this season, but they expect to have a lot more students participate this school year.
“More members equals more discounts and more manpower to make things happen, I get excited thinking about what it could grow into in the future,” Arena explains.
It’s not all just about shredding the pow though, the club executives point-out that it is more of a team than a club.
They also advocate the social aspect of the club, and that you get an opportunity to make great friends on and off the slopes.
“This year we will try to focus on more off-mountain stuff for the group, as it is financially and logistically unrealistic to do more than two trips in a year.”
Arena feels that’s what sets this club apart from other student run clubs at SAIT.
“After both our trips last year a lot of the members who did attend were like family to each other.
“Spending three nights and two days on a mountain with a bunch of strangers with a lot in common and a passion for the sport really brings people together.
“This is why we started it,” Arena said.
Now Matt is looking ahead to the next generation, and to who will take his place as club president, as he will be graduating this year.
“I want the new club president to be able to maintain the connections we’ve made with our sponsors, who have been so great to us,” Arena said.
“Whoever takes over will have to be just as passionate and dedicated to it as Matt, or else it just won’t work,” Poulain stated.
Arena and his team are hoping that the club will continue to grow and that every year will get easier for those who run it.
”Hopefully down the road the club will be able to go on better trips farther away, but that simply takes time,” Arena stated.
With any luck, the future SAIT Ski and Snowboard Club president already has his name on the registration list.