February 07, 2024 | Matt Kucinski

Students in ski gear looking down at a camera that's on the ground.
Calvin's inaugural ski racing team competed in its first race in January 2024.

When Maggie Styf had narrowed down her college search, the tipping point for her was the strength of the academic program she planned to pursue. Three years later, Styf’s course has shifted.

“I knew I wanted to do something in the sciences when I was looking at college,” said Styf. While she originally chose Calvin over another local college because of the strength of its nursing program, she soon found new passions.

“I really like people and am a very social person, so I originally thought nursing would allow me to help people and be around people, but the more I got into it, while I knew I could do it well, I wasn’t sure it was something I loved,” said Styf.

Discovering a new path

So, she started to think about what she was passionate about and being outdoors and doing outdoor activities rose to the top of her list. “So as I read through the list of majors on Calvin’s website, environmental science struck me in a different way,” said Styf.

Now in her junior year at Calvin University, Styf says “taking classes in environmental science I’m realizing the information and material excites me and I’m way more interested in it. I love so many different career paths and with this major I don’t have to stick to just one. I can start in one and move to another. There are a lot more opportunities for me on this path.”

Leading the way

And Styf isn’t just concerned with her own path, she’s a forerunner, putting down first tracks for her peers at Calvin.

“In high school, we had a high school ski racing team,” said Styf. So, when she and some of her peers arrived at Calvin, they wanted to continue to compete. With the help of a couple of professors, administrators, and some peers, Styf and 15 other Calvin students’ experience was soon heading downhill as part of the Calvin Ski Club.

“At Calvin, you can take your passions, speak them to people, and once people pick up on them, they will help you and guide you through the process of making them a reality,” said Styf. “It was a great experience working as a student in a leadership-oriented role, getting to start something, to figure out the logistics, and working with Calvin and the collegiate ski association.”

A successful run

In just the first few weeks of competition, the team has consistently placed third in their conference, which includes Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Central Michigan, and Grand Valley State University, in both Giant Slalom and Slalom. And just this past weekend, the women’s team placed second, only trailing Michigan.

“It’s very exciting the success we’ve had so far,” said Styf. “And I’m excited to see where it goes in the next couple of years.”

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