Old Main Hill has tradition of winter sports -- including skiing
In the college atmosphere, where 50 cents can seem like a small fortune, it makes sense that students would capitalize on a free slope to ski, snowboard or sled on. And this tradition isn't just for newcomers to the university, either.
Ski classes and races were run down Old Main until the late 1960s or early 1970s, says Ted Secholzer, owner of Beaver Mountain Ski Resort and former Old Main ski bum. With a rope tow on the north side of the main steps, students would enjoy learning to ski just steps away from their other classes.
"I have seen people over the years doing beautiful . . . telemark skiing down that hill," says Linda Keith, university editor and longtime resident of Logan. "But it seems that lately the hill's been taken over by boards."
Old Main, like most popular ski-runs, has learned there comes a time to start a fresh look and jump on the board-bandwagon.
"Snowboarding is the fastest-growing winter sport in the United States," said Alton Thygerson, professor of health sciences at Brigham Young University, in an article for the Deseret News. "It was even introduced as an Olympic sport at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan."
But you don't need to go to Japan or even down the canyon to Salt Lake to catch the spirit of the games. According to Olivia Sanford, USU student, you can get the talent from the games right on Old Main Hill.
"There had to be 20 people snowboarding and skiing down the hill after it had snowed. This guy from our office even ran down to join them," says Sanford. "It was beautiful."
"If the action at Snowbasin is as good as it was here at Old Main Hill, I am in for a real treat," says Sabrina Sandry, USU graduate and future SLOC employee.
But what about the road at the bottom of the hill? Hasn't that been a downfall for winter sports? Until this year, university facilities have placed straw bales at the bottom of the hill, not to be a cushion, just to make sure that they didn't go too far.
"We used to put little bales down not as a bumper but just for caution, but they got moved and broken. It was a maintenance nightmare," says Ellen Newell, USU landscape manager. "Then we switched to bigger bales, but the wires and metal bands would get broken when they tried to move them. Two years ago they even got set on fire."