Since its founding in October, Freeride Academy, the new skiing and snowboarding club at BYU, has been gaining popularity on campus.
Freeride Academy was founded by Michael Didier, who is president of the club, and Tyler Mahoney, vice-president of the club. They saw the need to create a club that catered to students who shared their love of skiing and snowboarding.
“A big issue that we face at BYU is that a lot of people come here and because of the specific culture that Provo has, a lot of people don’t really feel like they fit in … because they have their own style, they’re unique, or they express themselves in different ways than the stereotypical BYU student,” Didier said. “We really started this to get people out, get them active, get them involved and create events and a student life and community for students that are into action sports.”
Freeride Academy also helps to make skiing and snowboarding more affordable for students. One of the biggest complaints among college students is that skiing and snowboarding are too expensive, so a lot of students don’t go or never learn. One of the primary purposes of the the club is to make skiing and snowboarding more accessible to first-time and experienced skiiers and snowboarders.
Not only do club members get a $150 discount on a season pass, they also get discounts to local venues like Get Air Hang Time and Lowes Xtreme Air Sports, discounts on skiing and snowboarding gear, and free or discounted entrance to the club’s events.
“Once we started getting momentum, we had people coming to us,” Mahoney said. “We’ve had a lot of gear companies contacting us, saying that they’d like to help us out and get our club involved in their events. It really is a great commmunity. A lot of people do it just because they love it and they want to be involved and promote the sport.”
Freeride Academy is hosting an event Dec. 1. They will be premiering “TGR Dream Factory,” a popular skiing and snowboarding movie. The premiere, which includes a live DJ and gear giveaways, is free for club members and $5 for everyone else. It will be held in Room 151 of the Tanner Building at 6:30 p.m., and students can get their tickets at byutickets.com or the BYU ticket office.
The club has already been a success, and since it began last month, more than 250 students have signed up. Sam Call, another Freeride Academy club officer, talked about how rewarding it is working with the club.
“We have people go nuts when they see our booth and find out there’s a skiing and snowboarding club,” Call said. “One of my friends said, ‘I was ready to leave and transfer from BYU if I didn’t find more people like me. I didn’t think I would be able to find anyone like me and I was going to be snowboarding by myself this semester.’ But he has really lit up since he’s found the club. The reactions really make the work worth it. This is something that we love and that the students are excited about. We want students to know that there are other cool people here and cool things to do on campus.”
Students looking to get involved can go to Freeride Academy’s booth in the Wilkinson Center anytime from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.