Twenty-seven D.C.-area students and friends broke their winter break boredom and hit the slopes in Quebec City Jan. 6- 13. The second annual GW Ski and Snowboard Trip, to two Canadian resorts, doubled in size from last year and is already in the works for next year.
Leaving on a 14-hour bus ride from the Health and Wellness Center, the group consisted of 19 GW students, four George Mason students, two Villanova students, an eight-year-old girl, and Aubre Jones, mastermind of the trip.
Last year, Jones, director of recreational sports and fitness services,
did some research on possible places to bring an adventurous group of college students over winter break. A few phone calls later he soon organized what has become an affordable annual winter break trip to Quebec City.
Students paid $400-$475 for six nights in a hotel, transportation and lift tickets.
After arriving Sunday morning, beginning Monday the group skied at
Mont Saint-Anne, a half-hour’s drive from the hotel, every day but Thursday, which was spent at Mt. Stoneham, just north of the city. For those who had stayed out too late the night before and missed the bus to the slopes in the morning, a city bus made two afternoon runs to Mont Saint-Anne for about $13 American.
While some skiers and snowboarders on the trip conquered the black diamonds, the most difficult runs to ski, the first day, others tumbled down the bunny hill. Many beginners were surprised at how difficult some seemingly easy runs turned out to be.
“Mont Saint-Anne was clearly the bigger, more challenging mountain,” Milelli said.
Due to Quebec’s surprising lack of snow this season, many beginning runs didn’t have enough snow to be opened. After a mid-week snowstorm, however, even the most timid novices had taken a crack at a run other than the bunny hill.
Off the slopes, the group soaked up the culture of Old Quebec.
While students took quickly to the scenic surroundings, some had difficulty with simple tasks like ordering hamburgers at McDonald’s in the native French language. Most if not all of the Quebecois, however, speak both French and English.
Historic Old Quebec, a walled city which is 98 percent French, has a distinct European feel.
An abundance of stores, restaurants, museums and pubs were literally at students’ doorstep.
“There was something unexpected and fun around every turn,” GW freshman Tanya Milelli said. “It was truly a treat for those who love exploring.
Many were happily surprised at how far the American dollar stretched against its Canadian counterpart. For example, an enormous plate of pasta and fresh mussels that would have cost $20 in Washington was a mere $12 Canadian, or $7.50 American.
GW senior Wilson VornDick, though bruised, said he was very pleased with his progress after one of his first times skiing.
“Even though it was frustrating at first, my skills by the end of the week had improved dramatically,” he said. “I’ll try to return next year.” Minus a few cuts and bruises, the group came away from the trip unscathed of major injuries.
The group returned the Saturday before classes started Jan. 14. When asked if she and her eight-year-old daughter would go again, GW grad student Giuseppina Kysar exclaimed, “Yes! But why wait another year? How about Spring Break?”