Spending countless hours on a snow-covered hill isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it does hold plenty of appeal for the volunteers of the Apex Freestyle Club.
A core of 20 helpers scrambled around Apex Mountain to help put on five major events this season that attracted skiers ranging from young children to Olympic champions. It takes 35 to ensure everything goes well during an event.
Their jobs range from erecting fencing to handling media calls to grooming the courses, but they all say they do it for the kids and the camaraderie.
“We thought it was a way for us to give back to the ski community,” said John Kapusty, who has volunteered for five years and watched his children grow up through the club.
“It’s a fun group of people. When we have a board meeting, we actually laugh at the board meeting. We’re skiers. By our nature we like to enjoy life and have some fun.”
Brian Spence, the club’s chief of competitions, said it takes months of planning to host a successful event and he enjoys every minute of it.
“It’s the camaraderie with everybody that you are working with. It’s the pride of hosting the good event,” he said.
“You’re doing it because the kids are involved in the sport and somebody needs to host the events,” said Spence, who has three children in the club and is a six-year volunteer veteran.
Evan Phillips said being surrounded by a large group of like-minded people helps lighten the load.
“It wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have lots of hands on deck to make it happen,” he said.
“We get our turns in,” and, “we get a lot of opportunities to go skiing, get a chance to meet other people. There is a huge social network that we engage in. The hours that we spend are really fun for us.”
Phillips noted, however, that the volunteers don’t forget why they’re out in the snow in the first place.
“We do it for the kids…. We’re here to see the big smiles and personal victories,” said the third-year volunteer and father of two club members.
“The big thing is connecting with your kids on a deeper level. When you play together, you tend to stay together.”
Phillips added that the Apex Freestyle Club isn’t unique in its community spirit.
“There has been an incredible effort from all the parents of all the clubs from all around the province,” he said.