Touch The Earth’s Ski & Snowboarding Trip
It’s as if the Rocky Mountain knew they were coming. With 24” of fluffy snow falling just before their arrival, 72 trip participants were in for a real treat as they checked into the Steamboat Lodge for Recreational Services’ annual Touch the Earth (TTE) Steamboat Springs ski and snowboarding trip. The Steamboat trip has been offered through Recreational Services for almost 40 years, providing attendees with a first class adventure and luxurious stay at an unbeatable price. With the mountains primed for fantastic powder, this year’s trip, with over six colleges and universities represented and entire families participating together, was definitely one to remember.
From December 16–22, participants enjoyed skiing, snowboarding, hot tubbing, eating and just enjoying the vast beauty of the Rocky Mountains from their lodge at the base of the mountain. For Recreational Services’ Outdoor Coordinator, Carson Tortorige, who coordinates all aspects of the trip, this year’s weather conditions will stand out in his memory for years to come.
The state of Colorado shattered December snowfall records just a day before our arrival on Dec. 16th. These awesome conditions were fantastic, but Georgia State arrived to Steamboat before the crowds, and, during the first two days, we felt like we had the mountain all to ourselves.
– Carson Tortorige
For many participants, the Steamboat trip had a profound impact both on and off the snow.
I gained a rekindling of my love for skiing, which I haven’t done in decades. I also enjoyed the company of other like-minded, intelligent, and adventurous people. I certainly made a number of new friends and deepened friendships with others.
– Mark Bodnar
Bodnar is a Georgia State University graduate, a long-standing Yoga instructor at Student Recreation Center, a part-time professor in the Kinesiology & Health Department and Touch the Earth trip volunteer
For one participant, the Steamboat trip signified a huge milestone in her life, and a huge sacrifice as well.
I skipped the walking ceremony to be in the snow with my brother and sister who both joined me on this trip. I always surprise myself both mentally and physically on TTE trips. I know it sounds cheesy, but there is something to be said about taking yourself out of your comfort zone. There was so much fluffy snow it felt like you were surfing through whipped cream.
– Soraya Farivar, December graduate from Georgia State with a master’s degree
She participated in the Steamboat trip as a graduation present to herself. Farivar says her celebratory trip helped her gain a realization of her self-strength. She fell “A LOT” as a beginner snow-boarder, but always got back up. What she says she’ll remember most, however, is simply celebrating her recent achievement with two of her favorite people on the “champagne powder” of the Rocky Mountains.
Planning and executing these trips is no “cup of tea”. Just ask Tortorige, who has been coordinating this trip and all TTE outdoor trips for roughly seven years.
After weeks of ensuring everyone’s lift tickets, equipment rental records, and payments are 100% correct and as they desire, the day we arrive in Steamboat is when all of this must operate smoothly and effectively. Starting at around 5am, the next 18 hours will involve flights, charter busses, grocery stops, mountain passes, lodging check-in, social gatherings with catering, and distribution of hundreds of leaflets to participants that includes lift passes and rental vouchers.
I could hear hoots & hollers of joy all across the slopes. Participants would exclaim their excitement to me as they saw me throughout the day and our official hashtag, #GAPOW15, was yelled as a greeting to anyone they came across.
All the hard work pays off, though in moments when he hears that. For reference, it is pronounced “Ja-Pow”. It stands for “Georgia Powder”.
It is through trips like this, and all of the other 100+ outdoor adventure trips offered through TTE, that Recreation Services’ commitment to fulfilling the Division of Student Affairs’ value of experiential learning is demonstrated. May the tradition live on! “GAPOW!”