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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Department to offer winter sports courses

Registration will soon begin for students interested in the downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and curling courses offered next semester through the Physical Education Department.

The downhill skiing and snowboarding programs take place at Swiss Valley in Jones, Mich., and is offered Tuesday evenings starting Jan. 22. While the courses require an additional fee, physical education instructor Diana Scherzer said students will get a lot for their money.

"For $225, students receive four lift tickets, bus rides, rentals and lessons," Scherzer said. "Lessons are taught by certified ski and snowboard instructors from Swiss Valley. The lessons are about an hour long and then the students get to try out their newly acquired skills."

Scherzer recommended these classes not only for fitness-related benefits but also for the opportunity to find an interest in a new sport.

"Remember, lifetime sports such as skiing, boarding, skating and curling are good for the body, heart and soul," Scherzer said. "Learn now and it will last you a lifetime."

Freshmen have first access to the 35 available seats in the course, but Scherzer said she expects there to be open seats for upperclassmen.

Sophomore Meaghan Hannon, an experienced snowboarder and skier, participated in the Swiss Valley program last spring and said the course was worthwhile.

"It was a great way to improve your snowboarding [and skiing] skills as well as to meet new people," Hannon said. "Our Tuesday nights were something to look forward to, and it was a perfect homework break and stress reliever. My friends and I all had a lot of fun and would definitely consider signing up again this year."

The class is also open to novice snowboarders or skiers. Sophomore Nikki Reyes had never seen snow in person before coming to South Bend, but was able to take part in the course last spring.

"They placed us in groups based on skills, so I was in the beginner's group," Reyes said. "It was tough to learn and we were sore afterwards, but I had a great time. The instructors were very helpful, and I learned a lot."

For those interested in learning cross-country skiing, a free on-campus class will take place during Unit 4 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Scherzer will teach the class, which will run from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

"Ski equipment is provided, and there is no cost involved," Scherzer said. "We learn the basics of cross-country skiing as well as skiing safety and dressing appropriately in the outdoors. We meet four times during the unit and ski on Burke Golf Course and around the lakes."

Although both skiing programs were offered last year, the curling program starting in spring is new to the University, she said.

"Curling is a new class for us," Scherzer said. "Because it takes two to three hours for ice preparation, curling is coupled with beginning ice skating."

Scherzer will teach the course on curling, a sport she considers to be about more than just coordination on ice.

"Curling is known as 'chess on ice,'" Scherzer said. "It's about strategy, thinking ahead. Curling will be taught on Monday mornings starting January 21 at 8:30 [a.m.] and 9:35 [a.m.]. Wednesdays will be dedicated to beginning ice skating."

Freshmen can register after Dec. 7 when the classes will be displayed on the schedule for second semester, and upperclassmen can contact the instructor to see if there is room to join.