Students glide down the snowy mountains this season

As students at Newbury Park High School get ready for the cold, winter weather, they look forward to strapping on their skis or snowboards and sliding down the snowy slopes of a variety of mountain resorts all over the country. 

Christina Michael, junior, first started skiing at the age of six, but switched to snowboarding just two years ago. “My brothers all snowboard,” Michael said. “I loved to ski but I decided to start snowboarding so I could be with the family.” Seeming that Michael just began snowboarding, she quickly fell in love with it because of the community. “It is really open to join and everyone is super encouraging on the snow,” she said. 

Although Michael and her family go up at least once every month during the winter and spring seasons, she also makes a few shorter weekend trips a year with her friends that share the love of winter sports. “My favorite memory in the snow was getting lost in the trails with my friends because we weren’t even worried we were so focused on having fun and exploring,” Michael explained. 

With a certain stigma surrounding snowboarding typically being a male sport, Michael challenges this idea and continues to grow and learn as a snowboarder. “I enjoy snowboarding because it was definitely more challenging to learn than skiing,” Michael said. “Being a skilled skier is definitely respectable, but the journey in learning the snowboard swag as a girl definitely has been really fun because I am learning all different types of tricks on park.”

In addition to Michael being a prominent snowboarder, Mia Maher, senior, has enjoyed snowboarding in Mammoth since she was eight years old. “Since my dad grew up in Mammoth, he wanted to teach me,” Maher said. “He first taught me how to ski because it’s usually a little easier to start with but I eventually graduated to snowboarding which I find more enjoyable.”

Since Maher has taken so many trips with her family and friends up to the snowy mountains, she appreciates the sense of nostalgia she feels each time she goes back. “I have a lot of nostalgic memories of going, especially around New Years because we always go up to celebrate,” Maher said. 

Although Maher was exposed to both skiing and snowboarding at a young age, she finds snowboarding more thrilling due to the amount of tricks she can learn and the serenity she feels in the mountains. “I love snowboarding because being in the mountains […] is just so peaceful and when you’re going up the ski lift you get so excited for the adrenaline rush you feel when you’re snowboarding down,” Maher said. 

Although some enjoy the excitement attached to snowboarding, others find joy in skiing. Brent Johnson, senior, is an avid skier, who started at the age of 13 due to the inspiration of his father. 

Johnson and his family make multiple trips to Utah each year, but he especially appreciates visiting in the winter time so he can indulge in his love for skiing. “I’ve visited many ski resorts both in California and in Utah, and I find Snowbird to be my favorite,” Johnson said. “Utah has snow that is special because it’s soft and lays on the ground like powder making you glide easier, whereas somewhere like California has harder snow that is rough to ski on.”

Johnson expressed how at first, he was hesitant to learn how to ski. However, with the encouragement of his family, it became one of his favorite sports. As he continues skiing, he understands the amount of skill and dedication this sport takes. “Skiing is a very special skill that takes a rhythm to get into and once you’re locked it feels pretty amazing,” Johnson said. “It’s breathtaking how many people love and appreciate the sport and how skiing can create such a big community.”

Whether you ski or snowboard, all students who share a love of winter sports can appreciate the sense of community created while learning and perfecting the sports. “Although I love both sports, overall my favorite aspect is the people and the vibe of ski resorts,” Michael said. “There’s something so encouraging about the people there that push me to continue making an effort.”