Spotlight on Matt Wenzel

News, Spotlight — By on February 13, 2014 4:58 pm

MAN OF THE SLOPES

By Trevor Baty

Most students at Mount Vernon High School have gone skiing before, due to the Middle School’s ski trip. But for Matt Wenzel, a junior, skiing has become one of his favorite winter pastimes.

Matt Wenzel

Matt Wenzel

For most middle school kids here in Mount Vernon, the ski trip is their first skiing experience. Matt’s first trip wasn’t with the whole middle school though. He has gone skiing since around 5th grade, the first year of the middle school ski trip; however, he skied prior to this opportunity. This experience came with the middle school ski club. The club consisted of around 20 kids and they would go to Sundown five times every winter. By the time the ski trip came around, the ski club already had Matt looking like a pro.

His family came to enjoy skiing so much that later in his middle school, they decided to take a trip to Colorado every year, a trip that has happened since Matt was in seventh grade. Matt loved this trip. He enjoys the different types of slopes that Colorado offers and said that Colorado is more fun because the mountains are bigger and they have “fresh powder” on the slopes. “Fresh powder” is natural snow and is found on the mountain as a result mountains’ height. In Iowa, it is rare to get a ton of fresh snow on ski slopes, so ski resorts make their own snow to use, and then shoot out using cannon-like machines. This results in packed down snow that is not very fresh on the slopes .

Some of Matt’s favorite memories have come from skiing trips. One time in Colorado, Matt recalled his brother accidentally going off a rather large ramp. “The ramp was around 15 feet and James (`13) didn’t plan on going off of it,” Matt recounted, “Things got a little more interesting when James landed early, crashed and blacked out, only for a moment.” The worst part was that James had lost his ski pass, which you have to have to get on the ski lift. When they realized this, the whole family had to go up the mountain searching for James’ lost pass. After several minutes they were able to find it and continued the family fun.

For some, skiing is a once a year, seasonal type of deal, but to Matt it means a lot more. His family’s trip often occurs over spring break. They are able to go in the spring because Colorado mountains often have snow year round, as they are so high. Before he goes skiing in the spring, he goes skiing as many times as possible over the winter. Even though Matt thinks Colorado is better he often skis at the resorts around here, like Sundown or Chestnut, allowing him to go more often. He enjoys going to places like Chestnut with his two brothers, James and Thomas (`12). “It’s not the quality of the slope that matters,” Matt explains, “It’s just fun to go out and go down the slopes. Part of the fun is just being with friends and family.”

Matt has had a great time skiing, “It’s just fun to fly down the mountain really fast,” he said. He has stated interest in going skiing for as long as he can, even once he leaves for college. Because Matt has been skiing for so long he has some tips for beginners. He says, “If you pizza, you should be ok.” This refers to making a “/\” shape with your skis, which allows you to control direction and speed a lot easier. He said, “It’s rough when you start out, but if you do it enough it’s a really fun time.”

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