Downhill Skiing?

It’s the unusual class you’ve never heard of. It’s hidden in a section of the course catalog you’ve never looked at. It gives you a chance to be active, learn new skills and get school credit. It’s a 30 minute drive from campus. What is this mystery class we’ve all been overlooking?

Surprise… it’s downhill skiing. NKU has offered this class at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg,IN every spring since 1987. Students have the opportunity to step outside the classroom, learn how to ski and receive a credit hour for doing it. So why aren’t more students taking advantage of this interactive class?

Sue Roth, wellness coordinator for employees at NKU and downhill skiing instructor, believes students aren’t aware the class is even offered.

“The class is listed under ‘special topics’ in physical education,” Roth said. “I don’t think many students get that far through the course catalog to even notice it.”

Not everyone is overlooking this exhilarating class. Junior, social work major, Jennifer Wertz took downhill skiing in the spring of 2001. Wertz said she decided to take the class because she “wanted to learn to be a better skier and be able to go down more hills than the Far Side.”

Wertz noticed the class was available when she considered becoming a physical education major. “I saw it in the catalog and thought it would be an interesting elective,” Wertz explained.

So what does one do in a downhill skiing class? Well, ski of course…but that’s not all. Every student who takes the class has to participate in lessons taught by nationally certified instructions at Perfect North. These instructors educate the students on different techniques and ways to maneuver their skis, offering the students feedback each time.

Is downhill skiing the class for you? Roth said the course is geared toward everyone, from beginners to pros. For those who have never been skiing, the class offers all the basics from stopping to turning, and most importantly, learning to control yourself. For the more advanced skiers there is the opportunity to slide down the slopes once a week for a good price and receive school credit. What more could the average student want?

What are students getting out of downhill skiing? Wertz said she gained a lot from her experience in the class. “I learned how to ski better, felt more confident and overcame my fears,” she said.

Wertz admits that taking downhill skiing gave her the courage to go down slopes she’d never even dreamed of venturing on before the class. She also believes it is a challenging physical activity. Wertz said, “Once a week I had the opportunity to learn a valuable skill, get a great workout and get school credit for it!”

Roth believes students get a lot out of the course as well. “This class gives students lifelong skills they can take with them anywhere,” Roth said. “Having the ability to ski can be very beneficial to them for the rest of their lives in keeping them active and healthy.”

So can anyone learn how to ski, or are some of us too uncoordinated to master the skill? Roth believes everyone has the ability to ski, but they have to want to be out there. “I have seen students really struggle in the beginning, but by the end they are confident skiers,” Roth said.

Requirements for the class includes one up-front payment of $210, which includes a lift ticket, lessons and equipment rental once a week, for a period of eight weeks. The costs average out to about $26 a week. With the lift ticket students have the privilege of skiing anytime before the lessons begin (from 2-6 p.m.) and after the lessons are over (from 9 p.m -close). Students receive one credit hour for downhill skiing, much like any other recreational class. To receive this credit Roth said students are graded on attendance, participation in the lesson, a journal they keep of their experiences and a test given at the end of the semester.

So next time you’re flipping through the course catalog, why not give downhill skiing a glance? If you’ve never gone skiing, have only tried it a few times or consider yourself an avid skier, downhill skiing is a class for anyone and everyone.