For many students, waiting in line for basketball games is a key component of the Gonzaga experience. Whether sleeping in a tent on Herak lawn, or finishing homework in a lawn chair outside of McCarthey, the tradition of ticket distributions unifies a campuswide community. Another form of ticket distribution, however, focuses not on the events on the basketball court, but instead on the trails of a snow-capped mountain. While some eagerly anticipate the beginning of the Saint Mary’s or Loyola games, others are preparing for a weekendlong trip to Canada, skis and snowboards in tow.
GU’s Ski and Snowboard Club hosts six trips throughout the spring semester, including two leading up to the first week of classes and four during the semester including two upcoming trips on Friday and March 9. These expeditions offer a unique opportunity to practice or take on one of these snow sports in the mountains of Canada, while staying in hostels and bonding with students of similar interests. Club officers, such as senior and President Charles Wenzel, strive to create a convenient, relaxing and fun experience for new and experienced skiers, alike.
“Our main goal is to build a community that loves the mountains,” Wenzel said. “The biggest things that we focus on are obviously getting people up to the mountain. Our trips are anywhere from $150 to $200, but they’re all-inclusive. So, if you go on a trip, you don’t have to worry about anything. You just have to go up there and have fun.”
Due to the limited number of available spots, aspiring participants complete a process similar to basketball ticket distributions. Bridgette Janicki, the club’s marketing and communications officer, said promotions begin with an email and social media post, informing club members when the next trip sign-up will occur. Although sign-ups in College Hall 424 take place at 8:30 p.m., for the more popular trips, such as Fernie in British Columbia, the line forms as early as noon or 1 p.m.
Senior club member and lifelong skier Quinn Kensey tagged along for Big White in mid-January, and was waiting after his last class at 6 p.m. on Feb. 5, in the hopes of joining 17 other students for Revelstoke, the last trip of the semester.
“It’s over spring break from March 10 to 13, it costs $225 and that includes transportation, lodging, food and two lift tickets, so two days of skiing. It’s a great deal,” Kensey said. “The price is subsidized by the club, so the membership fee, which is a $40 fee we pay in the beginning, gets pulled together which reduces the price for people to go on these trips.”
At 8:30 p.m., Ski and Snowboard Club officers conduct a final roll call and release a Cashnet link to the individuals who signed their names and email addresses on the list. Club members must stay in line, excluding 30-minute breaks for food, water and other necessities. Friends are allowed to hold spots in line for other friends, but they may not stand in for more than one person. As is the case with ticket distributions, those waiting to sign up for a Canada trip often bring homework to complete while they wait.
This passion for snow sports is not limited to the ski resorts; officers maintain a bonded community through a plethora of other activities, both on and away from GU’s campus, such as ski-related films, barbecues and the three free board waxing sessions included in the club’s membership fee. Janicki describes encounters on the chair lift as a relaxing way to meet new people and enjoy the outdoors.
“I think [the club community] has such an awesome vibe, it’s very chill and down to earth, that’s what I love about it,” Janicki said. “And it’s awesome because it’s for all abilities. There are some people who have never skied before in their lives and some people who are doing flips off of cliffs.”
For students interested in cheering on the Zags at a home game, or tackling one of six Canadian mountains over the weekend, these two different kinds of ticket distributions ensure that GU sports fans always have an event to look forward to.
Alyssa Cink is a contributor.