Fresh from the snow fields, Bridget Gunn takes us inside the rivalries, camaraderie and competition of the 2016 Snow University Games.
If someone were to ask me what exactly the Australian UniGames are, I think I could summarise them into the following two words: fun, and insane.
The 2016 Snow University Games wrapped up over the weekend, and I think if you were looking for any team member from Newcastle University Snow Sports (NU-SS) today, you would probably find them crying at a bar somewhere. Why, you may ask? Here is your answer.
For those who have never been a part of the life changing experience that is UniGames, the games are a national competition between students at different universities. This year’s winter UniGames saw 47 of Newcastle’s finest winter athletes take to the slopes of Victoria’s Mount Buller from August 30 to September 3. The NU-SS team fought 500 competitors on and off the slopes, and came home victorious.
As this year’s team was the biggest Newcastle has ever had, and the biggest on the mountain, we had high hopes for our results at the end of the week. Our aim was never for the overall gold, as that would be a true miracle the likes of which have never been seen before, but for (debatably) the most prestigious award available at the Snow UniGames – the Spirit of the Mountain.
This being said, NU-SS put up a serious fight in every event they competed in. Amongst a number of fantastic results, NU-SS received a bronze in the snowboard slopestyle for Vice President Rohan Clarke, and a silver medal in the boys skier cross from all round shredder Ryan Pelluchon, who did very well in the majority of the events.
Although NU-SS definitely has a number of strong skiers and boarders, the team is mostly renowned among the UniGames competitors for being easy-going, fun-loving and (of course) incredible partiers. Placing a huge focus on having fun and participation, NU-SS members are particularly supportive of events that are fun to spectate and support, such as the mogul event and the cross-country relay.
This enthusiasm saw NU-SS awarded the trophy for ‘Spirit of the Mountain’ in 2012 and 2014 UniGames. Following the devastating loss of the award last year, which has traumatised the minds of many a NU-SS member over the last 12 months, NU-SS competitors were ecstatic to bring the award back to its rightful home.
Throughout the duration of the games, alliances were formed between unlikely rival universities, mascots and banners were ‘borrowed’, chants were sung and there was a fair bit of tomfoolery and banter. Of course, being the mature young adults we are, NU-SS never ever partook in these activities, but if the occasional snowball hit a member of the Macquarie Uni team we definitely weren’t going to be upset. But at the end of the day, all banter was in good spirit and the week prompted friendships and inter-university relationships which, after surviving UniGames, could probably survive just about anything.
If you are shaking your head with shame at having missed the week of a lifetime with the coolest club on campus, never fear, there is always next year. To check out more about what events NU-SS have coming up or to learn more about UniGames, check out the NU-SS Facebook page. Even if the snow isn’t really your thing, NU-SS encourages many of the other fine things in life, such as drinking, partying, and building friendships with all different sorts of people. If you are a legend or it has been your life long dream to morph into a legend, NU-SS is the club for you.
Other images: Chris Neale and Bridget Gunn.