The snow must go on: How UVM SSC gets you to the mountain
February 21, 2023
The start of the spring semester at UVM marks the moment thousands of students have anxiously been waiting for all year: ski and snowboard season.
Each winter, many UVM students find community through their love for skiing or snowboarding by joining the UVM Ski & Snowboard Club.
The UVM SSC is the largest collegiate ski and snowboard club in the U.S., according to its website.
As an entirely student-led organization, the SSC is dedicated to making skiing and snowboarding more accessible to UVM students.
This year, the SSC currently has over 3,100 members, said junior Ava Perryman, the club’s trips and transportation officer.
Nearly every weekend between Jan. 21 and April 9, crowds of students shuffle out of their dorms and onto the free buses provided by the SSC to take students to their preferred mountains.
Perryman is the sole leader responsible for coordinating these buses, she said.
“Basically, my day-to-day responsibility is getting as many people to the mountain as I physically can,” Perryman said.
The buses have been successfully transporting about 300-500 students across Vermont to their preferred ski hills each weekend, Perryman said.
However, there has still been some unfortunate trial and error that has occurred in this system over the past few years.
On Jan. 21, one of the buses that was supposed to take about 25 students to their mountain never showed up, stranding the students at the pick-up spot outside Patrick Gym, said first-years Jillian Talley and Braedyn Efaw, two of the students who were not picked up.
“My roommate and I woke up early, and we were waiting for the bus to take us to the gym from Trinity,” Talley said. “It’s supposed to come at 8:15, but it was just not there.”
Eventually, the students were picked up from Trinity around 9 a.m. and taken to Patrick Gym, but upon arrival, they were informed that one bus had not shown up, meaning they would not be taken to the hill that day.
“We watched every other bus drive away from the Patrick gymnasium, except for one,” Efaw said. “All of the other buses were already full and had already left for the mountain.”
Perryman had ordered the correct number of buses for that day, so she had no control over the no-show. However, the SSC still compensated for this fault by offering all of the affected students priority seating on the bus for the next day, Jan. 22, she said.
Because Trinity campus is the furthest campus away from Patrick Gym, most students are unable to walk the distance with all of their ski gear to get on the buses. So, Trinity campus students rely on transfer buses to take them to the gym.
Perryman believes there has been a slight recurring issue of Trinity campus students not being picked up to ski, which began before she became the SSC’s trips and transportation officer.
“Apparently even before me this was an issue, but it’s an issue that I’m trying really, really hard to rectify,” Perryman said.
Luckily, since the first weekend, all transportation to the hills has been running smoothly and there have been no other large-scale issues with buses failing to bring students to their ski hill this year, she said.
Going forward, Perryman said the SSC is working hard year-round to resolve any issues that may arise within trips and transportation.
Monetarily, the SSC is a costly club because of the buses, which is their greatest expenditure, Perryman said.
“We would need more money to get us more buses,” Perryman said, on how to remedy the transportation issue. “That’s just what it comes down to.”
In addition to the buses, Perryman is also looking to launch a carpool program to get as many students to the hills as possible to improve the accessibility of the club, she said.
“I just love the accessibility that the club gives,” she said. “The entire point of the club is to get as many people as we can into the community and to help bolster the community that’s already here.”
Even for students who do not utilize the free buses to get to the mountains, the many perks of being an SSC member still makes skiing and snowboarding more accessible for its members.
“Being a member of the ski club financially allowed me to ski this season,” said sophomore Emma White, a student who drives herself to the mountain. “Without the discounts, I would not have been able to afford a season pass and have the freedom to ski whenever I want.”
With its current budget, it would be impossible for the SSC to transport its 3000-plus members to the ski hills for free by bus every weekend, Perryman said. But still, the SSC is continuing to transport as many students as possible.
“With 3000 members, I’m still not really helping everyone that I would love to,” Perryman said. “But, okay, there’s 300 kids that are going to the mountain today, right? That’s awesome.”
Students can sign up to become a member of the SSC community year-round. More information can be found on the UVM SSC website.