Ski jump trip lets students reach new heights

Ski jump trip lets students reach new heights

02/06/2024 

Most people wouldn’t want their futures up in the air. But nearly 30 SUNY Cortland students will choose to do just that this week while building their resume as volunteers at the men’s FIS Olympic Ski Jumping World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y. 

The group of sport management majors are heading to the snowy Adirondack town famed for hosting the 1980 Winter Olympics to be a part of a competition that welcomes elite athletes from around the world. The event promises experience in managing a high-level global event and a chance to network and learn from industry professionals. 

The trip, from Thursday, Feb. 8 to Sunday, Feb. 11, and organized through the Sport Management Club, will span the entire three-day competition. Cortland’s students will be involved in the logistics of the contest itself, alongside entertainment, games, giveaways and even a genuine polka band. 

“Trips like this offer the students the opportunity to put what they are learning in the classroom into action in real-life events,” said Erin Morris, associate professor in the Sport Management Department. “They get to see and experience how large-scale events run and all the small details that need attention. This can include how security and ticketing gets executed, how to interface with fans and with media, and how to troubleshoot in the moment.” 

Those real-life lessons, when learned at a large event like the Ski Jumping World Cup, can be an exceptional aid to career plans, Morris said. 

“Students are able to think through how aspects of the events could be improved, using the knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom,” she said. “They are able to gain job experience as well, which is important for when they graduate into a competitive job market.” 

Ski-Jump-A.jpg
Students during last year's trip to the Ski Jumping World Cup event in Lake Placid, N.Y.

It will be Cortland’s second trip to the Ski Jumping World Cup. Alum Jonah Trembley ’20, M '21, a former sport management major who’s now an event manager for the Olympic Regional Development Authority, initiated a first visit last year. Morris said that Trembley was once again key to this year’s return to the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex. 

The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex has two hills with jump heights of 330 feet (100 meters) and 420 feet (128 meters). It’s served as a training center for athletes of winter sports at all levels and had a recent modernization that’s attracted new interest from event organizers. 

Watching skiers soar won’t be the last chance for students to be a part of the global sports scene this semester. In April, 40 students led by Morris will head to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Women’s World Championships, held in Utica, N.Y. During two weekends at the tournament, they’ll be able to volunteer in roles that include team services, media services and a fan zone hospitality area. 

“This gives them good hands-on job experience, which can be added to their resumes to help give them an extra boost in a very competitive job market,” Morris said. “It also gives them more experience that they can talk about when they get interviews for positions. ... In the past we have had students get interviews and job offers based on the work they did and connections they made on trips similar to this.” 


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