It’s 6 p.m. on a Wednesday evening – what are you doing?

While many of us are eating dinner or starting that philosophy homework, 53 lucky Gannon University students are arriving at Holiday Valley, a ski resort in New York for their weekly skiing class.

The six-hour class, taught by Abbey Bower, Ph.D., of the sport and exercise science department, meets once a week for six weeks and is worth two elective credits. Students meet on campus at 4 p.m. to take a bus to the resort, which is about two hours away.

“Teaching the class gives me the opportunity to interact with students in many varied majors at Gannon,” Bower said. “Most of whom I would never know if not for the class.”

The class is open to students of all experience levels from beginner to expert. Those who have never skied before should not be turned off to the idea of taking a skiing class – students are required to take lessons for four of the six classes they attend, even if the skier is experienced.

Even the most seasoned skier or snowboarder can benefit from these lessons. Snowboarder and senior pre-med major Stan Krysiak has been riding the slopes for nine years, but said he loves the class.

“I actually love the lessons, even if they are required,” Krysiak said, “because it allows everyone to get a little bit better or try something new. Who doesn’t love that?”

Students can rent equipment from Holiday Valley or bring their own if they have their absolute favorite pair of skis. Participants also have the option of learning to snowboard.

After the lessons are over, students are free to enjoy the slopes on their own and practice for next week. Chelsea Pluta, a senior pre-med/English major and a level-five skier is currently tackling moguls and working on her technique. She says that besides playing in the snow for credit, her favorite part of the class is that it can be an individual or a group experience.

“I enjoy the people I meet on the ski lift,” she said. “They all have such neat stories to tell, and for some reason I am lucky enough to hear them.”

The skiing class offers Gannon students an opportunity to get some exercise, learn or improve upon a new skill and meet new people. It’s a chance to have some fun and take a break from the day to day campus life that can get a little dreary during the winter months.

Next Wednesday, while you’re doing laundry or having coffee with friends, keep in mind that there’s a great class going on right now that could be worth looking into for next year!

If you liked this, check out our full coverage of Gannon sports and recreational activities on Edge.