Ski club president keeps UA students cool in the desert
Many University of Arizona students are still wearing shorts during the sunny Tucson winter, but Tyler Armstrong is searching for new ski pants and a jacket.
This time of the year, he is studying for his agricultural business and economics exams, working 15 hours each week at Frog & Firkin and finalizing details for Elevation Ski and Snowboard Club’s trip to Steamboat, Colo. Even in the desert, it’s that time of year to hit the slopes.
“Life is best when it’s packed with fulfilling and fun things,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong, the president of the Elevation Ski and Snowboard Club, came to the UA in 2015 to study nutritional science before switching majors during his sophomore year. His passion for food made him interested in nutrition, and agriculture business was a transition that allowed him to study both business and food production.
One way Armstrong likes to show off his skills is through food. While interning for Sambrailo Packaging’s quality department, he learned to produce results by designing recyclable cardboard fruit packaging. He says food brings people together, and he loves getting others involved in what he loves.
For Armstrong, the most valuable character trait is being able to encourage others to have fun.
His love for culinary production may be why he likes working at restaurants like Frog & Firkin, but the fast-paced environment also fulfills his desire for an action-packed lifestyle. His definition of success is having fun doing things that other people don’t get the opportunity to do.
Armstrong added snowboarding to his repertoire on a trip to Tahoe in the fourth grade, but it was difficult to sharpen those skills while growing up in the agricultural valley of Hollister, Calif. Ironically, his inner ski bum has blossomed in the desert.
“I love telling people I’m in a ski and snowboard club in Arizona,” Armstrong said. “It’s extremely ironic.”
After being a member of Elevation Ski and Snowboard Club for three years, Armstrong has combined his passions for business and fast-paced action by becoming the club’s president.
Armstrong said his club offers the best skiing deal in town, where members get transportation, housing and ski passes to as many as four different mountain resorts over a three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend trip for less than $600. Past trips have taken hundreds of students to resorts in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.
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For many members of the club, Armstrong is a tangible connection to an essential link for winter sports. From this platform, Armstrong is fulfilling his mission of involving others with something he sees as fun. Many club members have enjoyed mountain resorts for years and miss the snow while studying in Arizona. This year, the team's packing three charter buses with 170 members.
“He’s the most normal president I remember," club member Arielle Ruda said. "A regular member who is able to make the club what a regular member would want it to be, which is really cool.”
Armstrong’s road to leadership in the Elevation Ski and Snowboard club started when he began acquiring and managing relationships with the club's more than 20 business sponsors that send the club free gear in exchange for product publicity. Memorable sponsorships from Armstrong’s time on executive board include discounts on sunglasses, energy drinks and ski poles that also serve as flasks.
The following year, he served as the club’s vice president. Now, as president, he is the main point of contact with the package-deal travel agency that has organized the club's trips for as long as anyone currently in the club can remember.
Armstrong described his duties as “keeping the club going by making sure my executive board is doing their job. We all have input together to come up with a strategy to make our trips successful.”
Elevation Ski and Snowboard club faculty adviser Kyle Tusing from the Department of Communication validated that Armstrong is up to the task.
“I can tell he’s on it because I get Elevation’s ASUA authorization forms months in advance,” Tusing said.
Armstrong keeps the travel agency relationship alive by leading an executive board that recruits new members, markets to the student community and gains new product sponsors.
“Although it is sometimes a lot of work, I love it,” Armstrong said. “I was elected to this position and it’s been my freakin’ honor.”
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