Honors project

Foreword:

Many people come to SNC, the heart of Tahoe, and don’t get to try Skiing or snowboarding. I have met a few people who simply do not want to, and that is fine. Knowing the monetary cost of the sport, I figured the main reason someone would not ski or snowboard is that. Lift tickets at Northstar are over 110 dollars for a single day! Having a season pass and my own gear, these costs often don’t cross my mind, but if you are a first timer, not fully committed to the sport, I can completely understand the reluctance.

This interactive map shows some of the many ski resorts within a two-hour drive of SNC. Yet many people who want to ski do not get the opportunity.

Lift tickets are just a fraction of the cost. Many people have never been before and don’t know where to start. Granted, they probably know people like myself who ski and snowboard regularly, and are quite proficient at the sport. Perhaps they do not know anyone who is willing to ski with a complete beginner. Lessons start at around $50 a day for a beginner group lesson, but only last an hour or two. A big saving on money would come from friends teaching friends.

My inspiration to choose this topic for my Honors project was when one of my friends asked me to teach them snowboarding. When I decided to take this project on, I found two other friends who wanted to learn to snowboard, and had never been. In trying to arrange a day and figure out logistics, I learned of some new obstacles to starting that I had not even thought about.

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Forget the snowboard and bindings! this is all the other gear it takes just for a day out on the hill – most of which cannot be rented.

First of all, finding a day that worked was difficult because people are so busy. To me, snowboarding is such a part of my life, I am used so spending 5 days a week out on the hill. I have forced it into my schedule because that is what I care about and love. Other people seem willing, but are caught up with school and work  every day.

I told them that a diamond peak ticket was $35, the cheapest in the area, and they could rent a full setup of snowboard, boots, and bindings for $40. However, I had one extra snowboard and bindings, and one friend had someone else’s they could borrow, so boots only can be rented for $20.  Spending $55 to $75 in one day still seemed a lot to me, so I went online and found that you could rent boots from another place for only $10, and if we went on a Friday to Boreal, a lift ticket was only $15 for college students. I thought we were all set. However, when the day came, one asked me what they should wear. I told them waterproof pants were essential, especially for snowboarding. I made sure the day was to have great weather, so they could get away with wearing a sweatshirt and snow pants. What I realized was that many people don’t even have snow pants, and unlike boots and boards, they cannot be rented, only bought, which is not worth it for one use.

I was inspired to find a way to make snow sports more accessible to students living in Tahoe. I would start with a few of my friends, teaching them personally and lending them my gear. However, I would like to set up a system that can help people beyond my reach.

The solution:

In order to properly solve this problem, I need to get some facts instead of leaning on assumptions, so I put together a survey, asking the following questions:

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19 People did the survey, which I put on social media, and passed around on my phone when I was around people. I put together some graphics to show my findings:

 

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Like I hypothesized, the main reasons seemed to be the lack of gear, and not knowing how to. It turns out that there are other people like me who are willing to teach and have some extra gear.

One solution to consider is to have the SNC gear room rent out snow pants and other snow gear. Another option is  a place where people donate gear, and people in need can borrow it for free. That way, the only cost to the student is the lift ticket, which can be as low as $15 at Boreal.

Me teaching one or two people may not make a big difference, but it gave me the idea of setting up a system for students to teach other students. From personal experience, I was happy to teach my friends for free because I had never taught before. It was something new and exciting, and I wasn’t going to charge them for something I didn’t even know if I could do well. What this system would take is finding a few students who love to ski or snowboard and are willing to teach. In addition, students will have access to used gear through the gear donations mentioned earlier.

In the end unfortunately, after four attempts with three people to find one day that would work for at least one person, I was not able to actually go out and teach someone before the season was out. However, this project has inspired me to do so next season. In addition, I will  take all my old gear from home which I didn’t even bring with me this year. Doing so would get the ball rolling on a item where people can exchange gear and teach each other

 

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a Blog on Blogging

IMG_3271Before this class, I had been blogging for about 6 months, however, I did not make a point to update regularly. I posted whenever I felt inspired. The blog featured writings that mostly related to snowboarding, and the impact it has had on my life. It was less about the recent events of my life, and more a collection of reflective pieces.

Blogging for this class challenged me because I had to update regularly, rather then only when  I felt like it. I also had to include some reflections on outside pieces, such as “snowfall” and “Ira Glass”. I definitely learned a lot about blogging from this class, and I plan to continue my other blog after this, and make a point to update more frequently with events that are going on in my life, like a well-written, online journal.

Something I learned was the importance of using links to other content in blogs. This is an easy way to explain or demonstrate something without adding too much to the blog. If someone knows what you are talking about, they can skip it, but if they are interested, they can click on it.

Something else I learned is the different ways to display photos. I found the use of a slideshow to be the best medium sometimes, and other times, one photo, or a line of photos was better. It got me thinking about not only what photos to include, but how to include them. Another thing I gained from the class was that my blogs should have more photos in general! My other blog was centered on the writing, and may have featured one or two pictures. I think blogs are more interesting if they are broken up with more pictures.

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Overall, my experience with blogging both in and out of this class has been positive. I definitely see the value in blogging, and aspire for more people to read my writing. I have seen how blogging can be used to promote a company, without seeming like an advertisement. For example, Thrivemarket’s blog, which is run by the company and features their products. I hope to integrate blogging into my future career.

Nationals in Colorado

This is my third year doing competitive snowboarding, and my second time going to the USASA National championships in Copper, Colorado. You qualify by competing in local events. This season was difficult because of my two injuries, but I had made it.

I left on Thursday, March 31, getting a ride in the car with one of my good friends. The drive took about 20 hours total, and we did it over 2 days. Finally, on Friday evening, we arrived in Copper Colorado, ready for a full day of practicing on Saturday. I was to compete in Slopestyle, Rail Jam, and snowboard cross over the next week.

The most difficult part about this year was the fact that I did not have a coach with me there, unlike almost everyone else competing. although I knew what to do, I was lonely, and had no one to check in with, or talk to about my competition. I remember on Saturday, Practice day, I fell hard on my first practice run in snowboard cross. With no one to talk about it to, and no one to tell me how I could improve, I felt my day go downhill from there. I tried to pull myself out of it and be mentally strong, but it was very difficult.

Sunday was one of my best days. It was another practice day, and I spend the day riding in the course where my slopestyle competition would be held on Tuesday. After many runs trying to get the correct speed for the jumps, I finally felt confident and ready to conquer it! Later that day, I had a job interview with the resort, because I had applied to work in their summer snowboarding camp. Hopefully I get to spend my summer there snowboarding!

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On Tuesday, I had both Slopestyle and Rail Jam competitions. The weather was not ideal. It snowed all day, and with fresh snow on the ground, it was almost impossible to get enough speed to do the jumps. It turned from a Slopestyle competition into a brave-the-weather competition. However, I stayed on my feet and ended up in 11th place! I still wish I had been able to do as well as I had on Sunday, but I can’t control the weather, so there’s no point in being mad.

Although I do not consider myself a racer, snowboard cross went pretty well. Snowboard cross is the event where four people ride down a course with jumps, banked turns and other obstacles at the same time. Between Saturday and the competition on Wednesday, I got to ride the race course about 5 times. Every time, I fell coming out of the start gate. It was embarrassing, but the start gate was a vertical drop, leading up to a jump with a gap to clear. Having no coach didn’t help either. Finally, the run before my competition, I made it past the start! I fell in the middle of the course but I had the hardest part on lock. My goal was to go through the whole course without falling. Finally, in my race with other people, I made it through the course! Unfortunately, only the first place winner of the race advances to the next heat to race other winners. The other racer got in front of me in the beginning, and I stayed about 10 feet behind for the whole race. I still ended up in 9th overall because of my time trial, which is when they time you going through the course to solve any tiebreakers.

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Now that I am back from Nationals, it was a pretty fun week. I got to stay with my friend and we had some good times off the slopes as well. I am disappointed about the conditions on the slopestyle day, but there’s nothing I can do about it. The biggest thing I learned was the importance of having a coach. When I found out last minute that my coach from SNC would not be coming, I thought I could do it all myself. I did manage it, but it was difficult, and I felt it would have been a lot better with one. Although I knew what to do and how to snowboard, it was difficult being all by myself. My competition season may be over, but my season still has a few days left! The day after I got back, I left early to go to Squaw Valley and train freestyle with some awesome people. Competitions aren’t my motivation. I see them more as a by product of my hard work which is brought on by passion and love for doing my sport.

Using Twitter

I remember I first got a twitter about a year ago just so I could participate in a “twitter party” where a bunch of people go on twitter at the same time and use the same hashtags and comment on each others stuff about a topic. After the twitter party, I promptly unsubscribed from all their emails and stopped using the account. I just saw no reason to use another social media on top of what I already use. I was also annoyed by the number of emails they sent and didn’t see the need for another social media account.

After a few months of using Twitter for Journalism class. I can see some benefits. Some of the pages I follow post different things on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Some companies do give outs and competitions exclusively on Twitter, so there’s another advantage. (I have yet to win something though) I also had fun live tweeting an event. I know this can be done on Facebook, but people don’t do it. If I’m on Facebook and someone is updating their status every few minutes I might find it annoying because that is not how Facebook is commonly used. However, people often live tweet things on twitter, so it didn’t feel too weird tweeting every few hours of my journey to Colorado.

A drawback to twitter is yet another distraction. I will often take the time to scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and twitter, and I will see many of the same stuff. The things I post as well on twitter are often posted on my other social media sites, so it seemed a little redundant. As for using Twitter as a news source, it did bring me some of the latest news. However, I find I get a lot of this stuff from Facebook as well.

After this class I may continue to use Twitter. Like I said, some things are posted exclusively on Twitter instead of across all social media platforms. From a journalist’s point of view, I think twitter is good for sharing links, or giving very brief headlines or breaking news. Facebook seems more for personal stuff, while twitter is slightly different because of the character limit. I don’t think one social media is the best, but Facebook is more fun for me because I have had it the longest, so I have the most friends on it.