Faculty bond on ski slopes


Eric Hays had never gone skiing before.

Not because he didn’t want to, not because he’d never thought about it.

Of course he had.

He’s the epitome of an adventurous guy. He lives for a good challenge. But somewhere between big hills, fast speeds, trees and broken bones, he lost interest in skiing.

“I always wanted to try it,” Hays, academic support coordinator, said. “I just never got around to doing it.”

That all changed Saturday.

It changed when Hays, along with several other members of the Baker University faculty, decided to take on the challenge, decided to venture outside of their typical climate, decided to put down their books and lesson plans and hit the slopes at Snow Creek Ski Resort.

Or, to put it more accurately, hit the bunny slopes.

“I did a little class, tried to give them some pointers,” Rob Flaherty, associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, said. “I was really the only one with a lot of experience.”

Flaherty admitted he’s no stranger to the slopes, saying he spent some of his college years training to be a ski instructor.

But even Flaherty’s knowledge of the sport couldn’t save some participants from getting bruised up.

“Eric fell a lot,” Flaherty said. “When you are just trying to start out, it’s hard.”

Even Hays isn’t afraid to admit he struggled with some aspects of skiing.

“It started out a bit rough, but it was good,” he said. “I haven’t quite figured out how to stop.”

Hays wasn’t the only faculty member who had trouble getting started. Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kelly Bach is no professional skier either.

“I had gone a long time ago,” she said. “I did a lot of watching other people ski, but after I got the hang of it, it was fun.”

Fun is exactly what Flaherty wanted to have.

“We went as part of the Faculty Growth Enrichment committee,” he said. “We’re trying to do more fun things to get people to hang out and have fun. Just another way to get some faculty development.”

Mission accomplished.

“The whole thing was just a lot of fun,” Flaherty said. “It’s good to see people outside of work.”

Along with Flaherty, Bach and Hays, four other Baker faculty members took advantage of the night skiing trip, held from 4-9 p.m.

“I would definitely go again,” Hays said. “It was fun hanging out with the other people that went.”