Everything has been falling into place for Illinois State University’s skiing and snowboarding club this year as it has been collaborating with three other schools for its first multi-school winter trip in January.

Since the school year began, club president Garrett Englund has felt that this will be the club’s biggest and most successful year yet.

“For me, it’s because it’s my last year running the club, I kind of want to make it go out with a bang and show far we’ve grown since I started running it two years ago,” Englund said.

The Snow Birds have amped up their social calendar in between trips to include fundraisers, dinners, and are currently in the planning stages of implementing a Snow Birds study group, where members and friends can come and work together on homework, taking the occasional break to discuss the club.

“We’ve become a much more member-oriented group,” Englund said. “We are really including a lot of our members in the decision making and for me, it’s a new vibe for the club.”

“We’re not just using the seven board members,” executive board member and future club president Wes Garbutt said. “When we have meetings, we bring our ideas for apparel or events or get-togethers and we share it with them and when we get feedback, we use it.”

With its new member-centered mentality, the club attracted over 400 interested students during Festival ISU, the majority of which were underclassmen.

The spike in members has translated into event attendance, causing a turnout of 100 members signing up for the upcoming trip to Crested Butte, Colo., an estimated 65 percent of which are freshmen and sophomores.

“Planning everything for this club is pretty fun,” Englund said of collaborating with three other schools for the trip to Crested Butte. Two of the schools that will be joining ISU in Colorado are Iowa State and the University of Minnesota.

The club will travel by coach bus to Crested Butte on Jan. 5, where they plan to snowboard, ski and participate in other events set up for them by Echo Tours trip coordinators before returning on Jan. 10.

Executive board member Sara Marshall was able to tour Crested Butte with Echo Tours prior to planning the trip.

“It was really cool to work with Echo Tours personally because they really get to know you and what your group wants and the whole time I was getting so excited about everything,” Marshall said.

Skiing and snowboarding are not all the Snow Birds plan on doing in Crested Butte.

“There will be a concert, some social events and DJ parties that Echo Tours set up for us that are open to all ages, so that will be a fun time,” Marshall said.

With 100 people signed up for the trip and a goal of 150, the club remains hopeful that it everything will fall into place much like it has been for the Snow Birds lately.

“It seems like everything this year is working in our favor,” Englund said. “Sara got to go visit Crested Butte which has never happened before, we got started early and got other schools in on the trip, we got help marketing which is usually where we struggle … we have so many things helping us that there’s no way we can’t do well.”

“It helps that they already have snow,” Garbutt added excitedly.

Before the Snow Birds head down to Colorado, they will hold a fundraiser at Jason’s Deli from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Nov. 12. The club will receive a portion of the profits from that night to help fund apparel and travel expenses. The fundraiser gives students who are considering joining the club a chance to meet some of the members before signing on for the trip.

“I didn’t know anyone when I joined this club and I got thrown in a random room with people and now they have become some of my better friends through the club,” Garbutt said. “We are a really laid back group and open to everyone, so we want people to just come out and have a good time.”

“Whether you’re in a sport, you’re a foreign exchange student, you’re a band member, in Greek life, everyone’s welcome,” Englund added.

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