Ellie Huh

Smack in the middle of midterm season? Hundreds of pages of readings to do? Papers to write? Quizzes to study for? Need to figure out summer plans? 

An email pops up in your inbox: [insert college name here] Ski Trip. 

Never been skiing before? Doesn’t matter. One of your friends calls you in the middle of class, and another sends three texts.

It reads: ski trip sign up is out. it fills up fast. lets go nowww.

Why not? Sign up for waking up at 5 a.m. — after going to bed at 2 a.m. the night before — to go skiing. You’ve only been skiing once before but that shouldn’t really matter right? You’re fine. Magically you have cash lying around. It was meant to be Woad’s money, but it’s fine, you can always withdraw from the bank some other time. After all, $40 for a day pass for all the lifts and renting all the equipment you need–really, that’s a steal. Thank goodness Yale is a billion dollar institution and can subsidize these ski trips for its students. You fill out all the forms and leave the college office. 

The ski trip consists of a lot of falling down, getting back up, going down slopes that are way too hard for you, eating a packed dining hall lunch while sitting on the snow — you will never be more thankful for snow pants — struggling off of ski lifts — lift your tips — and bonding with your fellow college mates — or whatever they’re called. 

At the end of the day when you’re on your way back home, whether that is [insert your college name here], or another — less good — resco, it feels like it was an exciting day. Maybe you learned how to ski for the first time, maybe you learned you shouldn’t be going down the black slopes, maybe you learned that you have a really really good friend who will wait for you at the bottom and make sure you’re okay after you fell face first in the snow, maybe you never want to go skiing again, and maybe you’re already planning your next ski trip. 

But what could almost go unnoticed, as a result of being part of one of the most elite institutions in the world, is that skiing isn’t as accessible as walking over to the [insert your residential college here] College Office, signing up, and paying a $40 fee. The entire reason the ski trip is a tradition at Yale at all is because it is a tradition of elites, and at this elite institution, it’s the sort of activity its students “should” be partaking in. 

Don’t get me wrong, the resco ski trips are amazing — not only accessible for all Yalies, rescos do provide financial aid for those who cannot pay the fee, but also a bonding experience and just plain fun — yet they also reflect a portion of what Yale continues to be, at its core, an elite.