Students Push To Reopen Colgate’s Ski Hill

Recognizing the need for more winter activities at Colgate, a group of students is pushing to reopen the ski hill on Colgate’s campus, Trainer Hill, in a Thought into Action (TIA)  initiative named “SkiGate.” Located next to Huntington Gymnasium, the hill once had eight operational trails, according to the group’s Instagram post

In the absence of SkiGate co-founders and Colgate alumna Ruth Kissel ‘20 and Tess Bedingfield ‘20, the project is being led by junior Owen Gordon and sophomores Emma Goodman, Matt Mckenna and Andrew Derrickson.

The goals of SkiGate are to make skiing available to everyone in the community, regardless of skill or financial status, according to Gordan, the operations chair.

“Skiing is such a big part of our lives and we want to give every student at Colgate the opportunity to ski,” Gordon said.

The initiative hopes to offer programs to the Hamilton community as well as Colgate students. According to Gordon, they plan to offer after-school programs, ski lessons and open skiing to the public. 

In an effort to get students involved, plans include offering ski patrol certifications to pre-med students, as well as student employment opportunities in leading lessons and maintaining the hill.

“Long-term, we are trying to create a place that is not only for the Colgate community, […] but for all of Hamilton,” Goodman, the communications chair, said. “[We hope to] turn Colgate’s biggest liability into its asset.”

Working as an official venture through Colgate’s TIA entrepreneurship program, SkiGate is creating a business plan that will account for all expenses and logistics of reopening the ski hill before presenting the proposal to administration. TIA works with many Colgate alumni that wish to give back to the Colgate community, Project Manager and sophomore Andrew Derrickson said.

SkiGate has also advertised its movement on social media, using Instagram to engage students and gauge interest. Posts have included archival images from when Trainer Hill was open to Colgate students as well as updates on the progress of the campaign.

Student response to the possibility of reopening the ski hill has so far been positive, according to sophomore Jessie Sulger, who supports SkiGate’s plan for reopening the ski hill.

“I think opening the ski hill would provide an easily accessible activity for many to engage with beyond outdoor adventure,” Sulger said. “It would allow students that haven’t had the chance to ski to try it out.”

Understanding the environmental concerns that may arise with the reopening of the ski hill, McKenna, SkiGate’s financial chair, said that the venture plans to work with Director of Sustainability Jon Pumilio to reduce the environmental impact of this venture. 

“A lot of students, and the ski team, drive super far multiple times a week to ski and we are looking to see how [by eliminating that travel] we could offset the increased electricity and water usage from the hill,” McKenna said.

Still constructing an official business plan, SkiGate hopes to present their proposal by the end of 2021.