The sunny California skies haven’t kept 7th Graders from bonding over a snowy sport.
The Alpine Club, started by Grace ’16, is a ski interest club open for now strictly to 7th Graders. The club meets once a month at lunch to share ski stories, watch ski movies and talk about skiing techniques.
The club, which meets in history instructor Andrea Drobnick’s room, had their first meeting on Oct. 12.
Members ordered food, ate a cookie cake and watched the movie “Warren Miller’s Dynasty,” which highlights impressive ski feats from around the world.
Grace said that she started the club because she wanted to share her love and passion for skiing. Her dad introduced her to the sport at four years old, and she’s loved it ever since.
“I love the speed [you feel] going down the mountain. You feel so free,” she said.
For Grace, skiing is a family affair. Her grandfather was a back-up skier in the 1952 Winter Olympics, and she enjoys skiing with her cousin, who she said is “like a sister” to her. Her family has been skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, where her grandfather has a ranch, for four generations.
Initially, when Grace started the ski club, she hoped to organize a trip to Park City, Utah. However, Middle School Director Robert Bryan had some concerns about the price and chaperoning for the trip.
“The members of Alpine Club, as individuals, are welcome to independently organize a field trip with their parents’ involvement and supervision. Given the costs involved, as well as the issues of liability and supervision, the School is not able to sponsor such a trip at this time, especially as it sets a precedent for other clubs and interest groups for the future,” Bryan said.
Alpine Club member Alanna ’16, whose family has a house in Utah, offered to have students on the trip stay with her. Alanna skis regularly with her family and is on the Park City Ski Team.
Alanna joined the Utah team in fourth grade and flies every weekend from November through April to practice and compete. She has been skiing since she was just 22 months-old.
“Immediately when [my dad] found out I was a girl, he bought my ski gear,” Alanna said with a smile. “I had to wear a hat and sunglasses because they didn’t make goggles or helmets small enough.”
Not all Alpine Club members are such experienced skiers, though, and Drobnick said that the club allows students to find out about a unique extracurricular activity.
“I wasn’t sure that many of our girls would have an interest in Alpine skiing, but apparently they do. I hope that this club heightens their interest in the sport and allows them to pursue the sport in some way, even if that just involves watching video clips or talking about Alpine skiing with their peers,” Drobnick said.
Despite the breadth of experience, there does seem to be a common mindset amongst club members about snowboarding.
“Snowboarding is much harder and takes a lot more effort,” Michelle ’16 said. “I don’t like it as much as skiing.”
“We refer to snowboarding as ‘the dark side,’” Grace joked.