I noticed it slowly, as one begins to notice the sweat accumulating in a professor’s armpit througout a lecture. Slowly, like the 16 bus; s l o w l y, like Global Village brews my 4th cup of coffee for the day.
It’s a Tuesday or Wednesday in the Breezeway. I feel the caffeine and the other caffeine and also the Adderall clenching my veins. I am a reporter of solid gold. Of steel. Of merit and power. City on A Hill Press could not and should not be responsible for the intensity I am about to bring to this piece.
I should tell you where this story begins. In one of my first quarry jaunts of 2017, I was stopped dead straight in the quarry by a puzzling cluster of students. Their shirts declared them a group, a group with shared interests. “Ski and Snowboard Club”. When they turned, I saw that the back of their uniforms emblazoned with a list of sponsors from Woodstock’s to the Ikon ski pass. Though the front of the shirt featured Sammy D. Slug in the cutest little winter outfit, notably, UC Santa Cruz was not a t-shirt celebrated sponsor.
My research began that day. Too afraid to approach the clump of students glaring down passersby and discussing amongst themselves about something called a “sesh” happening later, I turned to the trusty world wide web.
From Youtube to Reddit to the SOAR website here is what I found:
•a Youtube video from 2014 that highlights snowboard tricks, wild parties, ALCOHOL AND DRUGS (nice), and “Dirty Dancing”
•a variety of Reddit posts asking “where the party at”
•A statement on the Student Organization, Advising, and Resources website claiming that Ski and Snowboard Club is a “non-recognized group that has no relationship with the University … [Ski and Snowboard Club] incurred risk management violations and failed to comply with University policies …[Ski and Snowboard Club] has been dismissed at this university.”
AND YET. There they were, in matching shirts, discussingin open campus air the daygers and seshes on the dockett.
From then on, I saw them constantly. Ski and Snowboard, though not in any way affiliated with the University, loitered at the corners of Greek Life Rush, set up booths at Study Abroad, Grad School, and Professional Fairs, at incoming student tours, at Stevenson College Night, at Climate Marches, at political protests and “Die-Ins”, and even, at vigils.
I sought out members of their team for a brief interview. Really I just had one question: Why do you table so much in the Quarry and also do you guys even go to the snow and also how do you get there and also where do you get all the jello? Simple stuff.
I met with Gavin Chadsmith, staff member of the club who was eager to answer my one question.
“It’s about building a Community with a hard C. That C stands for chutes, chillers, and also, cocaine. Yeah we ride, to the snow and on it, but also. We chill. And we love. And we party hard.”
When pressed about their consistent presence at events where they have no place being, Chadsmith nodded solemnly and said, “it’s just that, you know, all are welcome,” I watched a tear escape his eye, landing gently on his blue and gold football jersey made for a snow sports. “I just want people to know, everyones’ $20 membership fee is welcome. Except narcs. Wait, who are you again?”