Freeskier mag features Service Learning hoedown

The foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ music from the Lost Sierra Hoedown is lingering long past the Sept. 20-22 event, as refrains of the student-led fundraiser for a shuttered ski area spread through the ski community.

This time, Freeskier magazine took note, and interviewed Interdisciplinary Studies students Drew Fisher, Rachael Blum and Cody Wilkins for an article about the event, “Sierra Nevada College students aim to preserve Johnsville Ski Bowl with Lost Sierra Hoedown.”

LSH2Besides detailing how the event was conceived and created, the Freeskier story explains the goals of the Interdisciplinary Studies. Read the story on the link above, but also consider how Sierra Nevada College’s “experiential learning” is lauded in the final paragraphs of the article:

The project certainly met the underlying goal of the Interdisciplinary Studies service learning project; the event taught them more about leadership in the outdoor adventure arena than anything in a lecture hall ever could have. The school encouraged Drew Fisher, Cody Wilkins, and Rachael Blum to try something different, and then provided the support to meet that objective.

“Once we got the ball rolling we just had endless support from every department,” describes Fisher. “We had mentors in every department who were more than happy to help guide us in the process, from business and entrepreneurship to journalism and leadership.”

The project goals were attainable thanks in large part to the mountain community that surrounds Sierra Nevada College. Colleges and Universities in mountain towns everywhere foster these kinds of possibilities, but it all starts with a single idea. This idea can inspire a group of like-minded people to come together for a singular cause, such as the Johnsville Ski Bowl and Lost Sierra Hoedown, allowing students to think across boundaries and apply leadership skills to objectives on environmental, social and economic levels.

“The environment at Sierra Nevada College is just ripe for big ideas,” says Fisher. “Katie Zanto had us looking at big complex problems, and actually looking for solutions. My topic was on becoming a stakeholder in the ski industry and making skiing more accessible. I was learning about issues that I’m very passionate about from all different angles.”

The Lake Tahoe community is an ideal backdrop for investing in these values, thanks to a bounty of outdoor recreational opportunities in its backyard, a thriving mountain tourism industry, and a tight knit population inhabiting its shores.

“The roots of skiing exist in our back yard,” says Blum. “We’re simply trying to continue and contribute to the legacy.”


A band plays in the lodge at the Johnsville, Calif. ski resort during Lost Sierra Hoedown.

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