THE STUDENT-RUN ATHLETIC CLUB IS CROWDSOURCING FUNDING TO COMPETE AT LAKE PLACID
By Sabrina Acerra, Staff Writer
One of Mason’s newest and most little-known teams is headed to Nationals. Again.
The George Mason Ski and Snowboard Club was founded by students three years ago, and for each of the past three years, the team has successfully made it to Nationals.
“The club was originally founded by Jackson Robic and myself,” said senior John Friedersdorf, an electrical engineering major. Although they started the registration process late, the club was able to participate for the 2015-2016 school year with the help of Doug Grayson, their southeast coordinator.
“We started that year with only eight people on the team,” said Friedersdorf. “The first year, not a single one of us had competed in any form of snowboarding or skiing competition and we did surprisingly well for not having done it before.”
The club has seen significant growth since its founding. Each year, they increased the number of teammates and number of members that went on to Nationals. The team this year will consist of eight to ten members, varying from week to week depending on the final schedule and availability.
“Mason snowboarding team is comprised of perhaps the most relaxed and good natured people I have ever met,” said sophomore member Melanya Ginzburg, a rehabilitation science major. “Everyone is always willing to help each other. Each member brings in their own personality and traditions.”
In the 2017 events, the club’s male snowboarders placed eleventh out of 22 schools, and their female snowboarders placed seventh out of 24 schools. Friedersdorf said that the club was “very happy with these results and extremely excited for the upcoming Nationals this year.”
The 2018 events will be held at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, New York, the same site as the 1980 Winter Olympics.
The team doesn’t have any nearby slopes to practice on, so the club has to travel to sites like Whitetail Ski Resort in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. The majority of the team’s practices take place during competitions by getting there early or staying late.
The Ski and Snowboarding Club is always looking for new members, but also donations. Mason Recreation helps the team out by paying for hotels and refunding competition ski passes, but they are still an underfunded organization. They are currently in a crowdsourcing campaign on GoFundMe to raise money to compete in Nationals.
“To be on the snowboarding team is to find a family you didn’t you know you were missing,” said Ginzburg. “I didn’t know that I could fit in so well with a group of people. I have been on the slopes since I was two, but I always went with my family. So in college, when I don’t have that opportunity, I still have another family to go with.”
Photo by Allie Thompson