University Snowsports – How and why you should get involved

In my opinion, one of the best decisions anyone can make is to join a University Sports Club. And the first step you need to do is head down to your university’s sports fayre. From the moment you set foot in the Sports Fayre, you get the sense of a real family community, different to any other sports club or team you have ever been in before, and different to any other kind of society in the university. The Sports Fayre itself is definitely a much friendlier environment than its more popular sister ‘the Fresher’s Fayre’.  When you enter the sports hall (or wherever your sports fayre is being held) it as all quite literally, fun and games!

My folks puppy advertises the club holiday at Dundee Sports Fayre
My folks puppy advertises the club holiday at Dundee Sports Fayre

There will be balls thrown around all over the place, people being towed around in canoes, people practicing judo in the middle of the floor, free pizza being given out, I even brought a puppy to Dundee’s sports fayre one year, she definitely attracted a big crowd and even did a bit of PR for our holiday.

It must be noted at this point that you do not have to have had any previous experience in any sport to join a university club. All clubs welcome any level of participant, from Beginner’s to seasoned Pros. In fact many people join clubs as social members only, with no intention of ever setting foot on a pitch, court or mountain.

Whatever team you choose to join will serve you well throughout your time at uni. As I said there is a real family feel about university clubs, many students will even find themselves living with people they met in a sports club after their first year. But nothing quite compares to strangely amazing group of people that snowsports seems to attract.

Snowsports clubs across the UK have a big reputation, we are loud, we are naked and we most definitely are not role models. But when it comes down to the wire the people involved are some of nicest, most helpful people you will ever meet. For example, articles often get written about obnoxious students skiing and boarding in onesies and bikinis, farting around on the mountain ruining other people’s fun. Please don’t let this scare you away. What they may not realise is these naked skiers and boarders are quite often doing their bit for charity, the annual BUSC Bikini Downhill raises hundreds of pounds for charity, with hundreds of UK students coming together to raise the money. So we normally do have a reason for acting like idiots!

BUSC Bikini Downhill 2014 in aid of the Craif Macfie Foundation. Photo: BUSC Media Crew
BUSC Bikini Downhill 2014 in aid of the Craif Macfie Foundation. Photo: BUSC Media Crew

Snowsports clubs are a bit different to other clubs. For a start, it is generally made up of people who are heavily involved in loads of other sports clubs, and we don’t have any nasty initiations or anything which can sometimes scare people off. Just give your email to the committee at the sports fayre, watch out for an email and head down to the first social or “Snocial” of the year for a chat, a drink and some scran. There are loads of freebies constantly being given away by sponsors, or sometimes it’s just your club committee being nice and splashing out the club funds for your benefit and generally, we are the best dressed club in the sports union.

For those of you who haven’t skied or snowboarded before, or who would like to improve, your university club will most likely be the cheapest way of learning. The club is always run by students and in true student style, they want to make everything as cheap as possible. At Dundee Uni we ran a 6 week block of lessons for beginner’s or intermediates for £60 including equipment hire from BASI qualified instructors. That’s a price that you can’t beat!

There will also be loads of opportunities to get involved with racing or freestyle with regular training sessions available. Just keep an eye on your clubs Facebook page and head down to your weekly socials and tell a committee member you want to get involved. Don’t worry, they will be easy to find as they will be covered in club gear and probably the loudest ones in the pub.

When it comes to competition day, you enter a whole new world. It’s not just competitors who come to the British/Scottish Uni champs. Some clubs bring coachloads of people, everyone just wants to enjoy the atmosphere, and they are not disappointed. The British Dry slope Champs (BUDS) is the biggest Dry Slope event in the world, with over 2000 students and 500 competitors taking over Midlothian Snowsports centre, home to the longest and steepest dry slope in Europe. While the BUSC committee and reps keep everything working smoothly you are left to enjoy the competitions, the freestyle displays, chill out watching a ski movie on a big screen or enjoy the atmosphere at one of the Red Bull bars with the Red Bull DJ van providing the final touches to that festival feel.

BUSC Main Event 2013 Opening Ceremony - Photo: BUSC Media Crew
BUSC Main Event 2013 Opening Ceremony – Photo: BUSC Media Crew

Once the activities at the slope are finished its time to show Edinburgh City Centre what you’re made of, with exclusive venues such Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh’s largest shopping centre, being transformed into a massive night time venue, with big name acts such as Danny Byrd and Shy FX headlining the night, before finishing the weekend off with the infamous BUDS ball, a black tie dinner followed by prize giving and an after party. Easily the best weekend of your life!

If this isn’t enough to wet your appetite, the year’s calendar will be filled with events like this or social events at your uni to keep you entertained throughout the year. And it doesn’t stop after your University’s winter trip.  Your uni will most definitely be running an Easter trip, whether it’s their own or if it’s simply a plan to get booked on BUSC MAIN EVENT, the university Alpine Championships held each year in a different European resort. This is like BUDS on steroids, with an option to do 1 or 2 weeks, it is bigger, louder, scarier and messier than anything you will have ever seen before, and you get the chance to go skiing!

Dragon soop shoot1
Dundee Uni Snowsports during their Dragon Soop Promo Shoot in Tignes 2014. Photo: Jo Hart Creative

After your first year you will have the opportunity to run for a committee position. These range from Social secretary roles to Competition’s Captains, Secretary’s or Presidents. It does involve a lot of work and can be quite time consuming, more than a lot of other sports clubs for sure, but the rewards are totally worth it! You will be able to bag yourself a couple of free holidays, loads of free clothing and kit, you’ll get loads of VIP perks at BUSC events, and you get the chance to do some pretty cool things with your sponsors, whether its training to be a holiday rep and getting to spend even more time in the alps for free! Or just getting creative and helping your own sponsors out with photo shoots and unique events.

Being involved with you University’s snowsports club also opens the doors to loads of opportunities to make some money out of spending time on snow, whether its working as a BUSC or holiday rep, which can eventually lead to bigger and better roles within your chosen holiday company, or bagging yourself a place on the BUSC committee. These positions are great fun, earn you some money and look brilliant on the CV. The experience you will take from these positions will set you up perfectly to go out into the big bad world.

So make sure you get on Facebook and ‘like’ your University Snowsports club page, get yourself down to the Sports Fayre and let the snowsports club take you in.

Let me leave with some highlights videos from my two favourite years of BUDS and MAIN EVENT! Some awesome skiing and snowboarding with the best Après you could ask for!

BUDS 2013 – Highlights from BUSC Events on Vimeo.

BUSC Main Event 2013 Highlights from BUSC Events on Vimeo.

Written by Nick McKelvey

One Comment

  1. lbakerwhite says:

    Reblogged this on followthefreeski and commented:
    Any students out there, especially freshers, take this advice, you will not need anymore convincing!

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