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UAS, Eaglecrest Provide Affordable Lift Tickets

Many people enjoy rocketing down a steep, snowy mountain slope on a pair of skis or a snowboard with no prior knowledge of that what they are doing.

By: Mallory Millay

  Many people enjoy rocketing down a steep, snowy mountain slope on a pair of skis or a snowboard with no prior knowledge of that what they are doing.  For those who would like to know the basics, like how to turn and, more importantly, how to stop before testing any luck out on the bigger runs, the free skiing and snowboarding lessons being offered is just what students have been looking for.
  From Jan. 24 to Feb. 7, UAS has teamed up with Eaglecrest, offering free skiing and snowboarding lessons to students who sign up.
  “We wanted to get students out there and having fun. When I was a student I couldn’t afford lessons, so I didn’t learn to snowboard until I was older. We wanted to offer the students an opportunity to learn,” UAS Assistant Recreation Manager Shea Mack stated.
  It turns out that people were really interested in the idea of free lessons. According to Mack, the program had such a successful response last year, the first year it was offered, that it was offered again this year with the same results.
  “We offered the program last year, had good results and decided to do it again this year.” Mack also said that there are only a few spots left for the remaining sessions.
  New to the slopes is 23-year-old Emily Eckert, an environmental science major from St. Louis, Mo..  With minimal skiing experience, she decided to give the lessons a try, signing up for the first of the sessions on Jan. 24.
  “I just  wanted to get out and put the homework aside.  I figured, ‘I’m in Alaska.’ The closest things we have in Missouri are some big ditches—you might be able to ski down or a few hills, but we don’t really have a place like Eaglecrest.”  Eckert thought that the lessons were a lot of fun and plans on heading back to the mountain for more.
It is up for debate for many students whether it is best to take lessons and learn from an instructor or if learning from a friend is the way to go.
Kaydee Burroughs, a 19-year-old marine biology major from Lambertville, New Jersey decided to take lessons after her first time snowboarding didn’t go as well as hoped.
  “It was horrible, especially if you don’t know how to stand up.” Burroughs also decided that having an instructor show you the ropes might be for the best. “Some friends know how to teach you, but most were skiers. It’ll be easier to have an instructor who can teach you slowly.”
Some students like to sample the best of both worlds. 23-year-old C.J. Reeves II, an English major from Miami Fl., tried out the free lessons on January 24 and plans on having one of her friends teach her as well.
  “I get frustrated really easily, so the instructor guy was trying to teach me and I was like ‘No I want to do it myself!’  Then I’d jump up to do it and fall, then get frustrated when I couldn’t do it. I’m going to go with a friend who is supposed to teach me. I’m hoping friends are easier to learn with because they know me better and they know I get frustrated really easily. Hopefully they can teach me in a way I can learn.” 
Michelle Fournet, Marketing Assistant at Eaglecrest, said it was definitely to the advantage of the first timer to take lessons.
  “It is a lot easier to build confidents by learning the basics first. The teachers we have here are mostly in their mid-twenties so they are closer in age to a lot of the students so they can relate better. Taking lessons makes you feel less petrified of falling or making a fool of yourself. Lessons also make skiing or snowboarding more successful and enjoyable for you,” Foumet said.
Fournet also said that there will be a UAS Day at Eagle Crest on Feb. 14 to encourage more students to head up the mountain.  “Valentine’s Day, we will be sending a snow bus down to Dehart’s to pick up students at around 9:30 a.m. The bus will be free to students if they have their student ID. When students arrive there will be registration tables and tents set up where students can sign in,” Foumet said.
Lift tickets will be offered for $10—they normally cost $39.  Lessons will also be available to students for $14 including lift tickets and rentals.  A raffle will also take place with Valentine’s Day prizes as well as an all-levels obstacle course. Students will receive a $4 voucher for food service, according to Foumet.
Students must bring their student I.D. in order to receive any discounts.
  UAS was able to offer the sessions completely free to students.   When asked how the university got the funds to run such an expensive program, Mack explained that most of the money came from the Rec. Center’s intramurals budget.
  “Eaglecrest coordinates with UAS by offering lift tickets, lessons, rentals and bus passes for about half price and that is what the university buys them at.” Fournet said.
  The final session will be offered on Feb. 7.

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