Fun with family and friends highlighted the Escape to Silver Star Mountain Resort earlier this month.
The annual event, sponsored by UBC Aboriginal Programs & Services (APS), promotes a healthy lifestyle and is one of the department’s two signature off-campus events held throughout the academic year. This year marked the highest participation of Aboriginal students.
“In the past, we have not been able to fill the bus with strictly Aboriginal students. After the registration deadline, we always leave time for International students to sign up because they appreciate getting off campus and seeing the North Okanagan,” said Aboriginal Program Administrator Dan Odenbach. “In the past few years we have promoted it as more of a family event and encouraged our students to sign up their loved ones and friends. And this year, we filled the bus with Aboriginal students almost a week before the deadline. We even had a waiting list.”
Participants had the option of downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating or tubing. Some students participated in more than one activity, including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing which have both increased in popularity.
With reduced rental and lift ticket costs, many students looked at it as a cost effective way to get their families on the mountain.
“I took my 9-year-old son on the winter getaway trip to Silver Star, and it was amazing! It was our first time ever at Silver Star and we made memories that we will never forget. I really enjoyed meeting new people in a relaxed and fun environment,” recounts third year nursing student Crystal Smallboy. “The highlight of my day was near the end when my son Isaiah said to me, ‘I can’t wait to grow up and go to UBCO.’”
Stephanie Mason also appreciated spending time off campus with her fellow students, friends and family.
“I’m truly grateful to Aboriginal Programs & Services for taking my family to Silver Star for a day filled with fun in the snow and to spend quality time together. It was a nice break from the hectic stresses of schoolwork,” said Mason whose family took part in tubing and skating on Brewer’s Pond. “I sure appreciate the effort put forth to plan and get everything going for all the students and their families or friends to take the bus together to go and have a good time up on the mountain.”
Aboriginal Peer Mentors Nicholas Clark, Sarah Jacknife and Candice Loring took the opportunity to spend time with their mentees away from an academic setting. At the dinner in the Chilcoot Conference Centre, APS staff and student mentors each shared stories about winter or snow. These ranged from falling off the community hill T-bar to getting into mischief in the snow as a child. The stories proved a positive way to wrap up the day before participants boarded the bus.
“Dinner was beautiful and I really enjoyed hearing about the mentor’s experiences in the winter months. It gave us all something to laugh about,” recalls transfer student Elora Bascello.
Door prizes were supplied by Silver Star Mountain Resort and Aboriginal Programs & Services.