For students who crave participation in a sport but lack the time to commit to varsity athletics, sophomores Lowell Ruck and Mackey O’Keefe started a new club for recreational Nordic skiers. The group received more than 50 sign ups at the student activities fair and is expected to become official by the beginning of October.
Ruck said he felt like a part of himself was missing after a year without competitive skiing. He and O’Keefe started to look for a way to Nordic ski with a group of people informally.
“[O’Keefe] and I knew a bunch of people that had Nordic Skied in high school, but didn’t continue in college because the varsity team is a very large commitment,” Ruck said. “We were looking for a way to ski with other people without training as intensely.”
Gabby Farrell ’21 had been competitively skiing since she was in sixth grade and also wished to continue skiing at a lesser commitment level.
“I have skied for a long time and raced competitively,” she said. “I really look forward to teaching people. I have a lot of friends who are joining the club who have never skied before and I’m excited to teach them.”
One of the club’s goals is to make Nordic skiing more accessible on campus for experienced skiers and beginners alike. The club aims to create a community around a shared interest in skiing.
“We want to try to make this club as inclusive as possible,” Ruck said. “Nordic skiing is a lifelong sport and a full body workout. All the benefits are there. It’s a really great community too.”
Recognizing that the high cost of equipment often poses a barrier to students looking to try skiing, the group hopes to expand its reach to students across income brackets.
“Nordic skiing is an expensive sport,” said Ruck. “So one thing we will try to do is get some used equipment that we can have for people that want to try it.”
The club will also be a way for students to be active in the winter. The club’s leaders noted that, once snow covers campus, it can become easy to stay inside and stop exercising.
“Being outside during the winter can do wonders for one’s mental health, and it’s super fun,” Farrell said.
The club has not yet officially been chartered with Bowdoin Student Government or Student Activities and leaders are in the process of submitting a budget and writing a mission statement. After this process is complete, the club will hold official meetings and practices.
Practices will be held two times a week and members will compete in races on the weekends, if they choose. The races will include the Zak and Eastern cup, the NENSA circuit and other marathon races.
“Hopefully it will progress pretty quickly so we can start practicing in an official capacity,” Ruck said.
[Lowell Ruck and Mackey O’Keefe are members of Orient Staff.]