After two months of national media attention on South Carolina over Mark Sinford-gate, my first reaction was, please don’t let this be in South Carolina.
Turns out it’s not in South Carolina. The first synthetic ski slope in North America has gone to Liberty University located in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Before you get carried away picturing a region of lovely snow-capped mountains, I want to mention that Lynchburg isn’t in that part of Virginia. At mostly 795 feet above sea level, the gentle rolling landscape of Lynchburg, sees an average of only 18 inches of snow per year. That means many years there is much less than that.
These days Lynchburg is perhaps best known nationally as the home of Liberty University which was founded by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell.
According to this article, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, son of the late Falwell, at the grand opening said that it was his father’s hope that a campus ski slope would bring more students to Liberty University and to Christ. He described several relatively unorthodox techniques the university had used in the past to attract students, such as having campus dorms located on an island in the middle of the James River. Then there was this:
“Alumni from the ’70s tell me they came here because Dad had this big DC-3 World War II airplane that he used to take students around in … they came here to ride on the plane,”
Snowflex, the company that constructed synthetic snow system, bills its product as offering something similar to a street sport, but with more thrill and less risk. The slopes can be built anywhere and used year round.
Among the many adjectives used to tout Snowflex’s viability as a successful business operation, these two caught my attention;
Addictive and Age- Inclusive
Reminds me of a certain beverage favored among college students that is:
Addictive and Age-Exclusive
(not to mention illegal, double dare so, at a Baptist University)
Before I go on, I should mention that I am not a Baptist. Underage drinking is a problem, but I think for a vast majority of college students there are many other things that should also give a parent pause.
Here are two confessions:
I would rather my child drink a Budweiser before flying around on a plane with Reverend Jerry Falwell.
Without going into the unpleasant details, I have personal experience that has fostered my unique concerns about anything where one loses friction. This includes skiing. I’d rather my children do a few tequila shots in college than go anywhere near a ski slope, real or not. I’d rather they not even watch cold weather sports on television. This may be irrational, but it is true.
In the article, Falwell the younger refers to the university’s philosophy of “saturation evangelism,” which is meant to reach every person, by every means. The term is often used in association with mass mailings.
Then he said this:
“We really believe they can have just as much fun without binge parties and coed dorms.”
Do I hear singing? It’s a choir! Of evangelical parents-of already evangelical kids who, if their goal is to saturate, perhaps should expand their reach far beyond a fake ski slope and Alcatraz-isolated dorm rooms.
I get it though. Hey, a college needs students, and have I got a plan for Liberty University:
How about recruiting potential transfer students from the slovenly drunken masses at other universities across the country? Student and professional recruiters alike could canvas fraternity parties offering ski passes, backside 180 lessons and whatever other rocking good times they have up their sleeves. Liberty students could score extra credit for each slovenly drunk who is successfully transferred.
As the mother of two daughters who will someday be in college, clearly, this is the perfect solution.
If this doesn’t work out, perhaps someone knows of a school with the girls’ dorms on an island?