group of students on the slopes

GHC PHED 1420: Be immersed in ‘ski culture’ at Appalachian Ski Mountain this January

For nearly 45 years, students at Georgia Highlands College (GHC) have had the opportunity to complete a physical education credit, PHED 1420, while hitting the slopes. In the beginning of January 2023, students interested in skiing and snowboarding will have the opportunity to spend four days on the Appalachian Ski Mountain and one day on Sugar Mountain in Boone, North Carolina. 

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Wellness Jonathan Howard will be taking on his fourth ski trip this winter, following in the footsteps of School of Health Sciences instructor and part-time retiree Ken Weatherman, who began the course and taught it for nearly 40 years.  

Howard said the course is amazing, and is perfect for those who may have no previous experience with skiing or snowboarding, as well as seasoned pros. 

“Everyone that takes this course learns something new,” Howard said. “Even people that have been skiing for 18 years talk about how much of a better skier they became with just a few lessons.” 

On his first trip, Howard received the same professional lessons as students receive and within the five days the group was on the mountain, he became much more proficient and fell in love with skiing. 

“Students will be immersed in ski culture for five-straight-days and will leave with an activity they can do for the rest of their lives,” Howard said. “They may even fall in love with skiing so much they choose to stay an extra couple of days to ski some more or go up back the next weekend to ski again.” 

The course starts with two in-person class meetings on December 6 and December 13 which will cover the basics of skiing, such as safety, dress, how to ski and more. The meetings will also go over expectations for students and it gives them a chance to meet the other people in the course and set up room and travel arrangements.  

Students will travel to Appalachian Ski Mountain on Monday, Jan. 2, during which they will receive a ski lesson and will ski into the night. They will continue at Ski Mountain on Tuesday and Wednesday, will head to Sugar Mountain to ski on Thursday, Jan. 5, then back to Ski Mountain for a final day of skiing on Friday, Jan. 6. 

Students will have to provide their own transportation for the trip. 

“While students are responsible for all meals, I make reservations at a reasonable restaurant on Thursday night for us all to share a meal together, if students would like to participate,” Howard said. “Students enjoy this as we all get to talk about all the fun and sometimes crazy experiences we had throughout the week.” 

A zoom information session will be held Wednesday, Nov. 2, for anyone that wants to learn more or ask questions. For more information via email and can be reached at