Plattsburgh State senior Francis Zuber said he wanted to go to a college where he could join the ski and snowboarding club.The only problem? He couldn’t at first.
Zuber said geographically, he liked that Whiteface Mountain was only 45 minutes from campus, so he decided to attend PSUC in hopes of joining the club on campus. When he came to PSUC, he asked his resident assistant when the ski and snowboarding club met. To his surprise, Zuber’s RA said there currently wasn’t a ski and snowboarding club. Zuber was surprised considering the Adirondacks were only an hour away from campus.
“I thought this whole time during my application process that there was a ski club and it was a huge part of the campus,” he said. “Like it blew my mind that there wasn’t a ski club already established.”
So Zuber decided to fix that.
Since then, Zuber founded the club with a few other interested students and is currently the president of the PSUC Ski and Snowboarding Club. He said in the past, there have been ski clubs, but they haven’t stuck. He said after being involved with the club, he realized how much work it actually is to maintain the club.
“It’s a huge commitment and takes up a lot of your time,” he said. “If you don’t have the right crew, it just kind of falls apart. Nothing gets done.”
Senior environmental science major Devon Rosh had skied with Zuber a few times and had a couple of mutual friends when they met, but they bonded especially during the ski and snowboarding club meetings.
“Through the club meetings, we ended up becoming roommates and have been adventuring together ever since,” he said. “Fran is really personable and down to do something he’s never tried before, which is really fun. He’s just really nice and always has a smile on his face.”
Rosh said Zuber came from Long Island and has just really immersed himself in the outdoors and all that Plattsburgh has to offer.
“I don’t see him going back to Long Island,” Rosh said. “In the future, I see him somewhere on the side of a hill, shooting pictures of his friends.”
Zuber is currently a double major in marketing and business administration and a minor in photography. He said that there are other subjects that interests him besides business, but he liked the opportunities with a marketing and business major. He said he was never interested in math or science, and couldn’t find a career path for history, so he chose a more creative path.
“There are a lot of creative opportunities with a marketing degree, so that’s how I ended up with that because I like the right-brained aspect of it,” he said. “I like creativity.”
Additionally, he has been shooting photos since 2009. He said what really got him into photography was skateboarding. He said his friends were always better at skateboarding than he was, so he looked for another passion. One day, he took his mom’s camera, and started taking photos.
“I enjoy taking landscapes the most, just because it’s just so easy to do,” he said. “You see this beautiful landscape and you just have to point the camera in the direction.”
However, Zuber said he also really likes action photography and wants to dip his toes in a little of everything when it comes to photography.
“I really loved it and that developed a lot when I came here and had the Adirondacks to go into, and all these beautiful things that we didn’t have growing up in Long Island,” he said.
Senior graphic design major Zoe Tyler met Zuber through the ski and snowboarding club as well. Tyler transferred to PSUC and was nervous about making friends, but Zuber welcomed Tyler into his friend group.
“He calls me zo-bro. He didn’t let that I was new get in the way and quickly broke that boundary,” Tyler said.
In their club, Tyler said Zuber takes photos too, which allows them to capture moments. She said she is impressed by how he is able to incorporate his marketing major and photography minor into his other passions like skiing and snowboarding.
“Even though it might be 20 below zero, and it’s freezing rain, he’ll try to lighten the mood and make jokes,” she said. “We call it ‘type two fun.’ Sometimes, it’s not all bundles of laughs.”
Zuber said the club wasn’t doing much during his first year, but it has grown since then. Currently, they are planning their Rail Jump, which will be held Nov. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. on Memorial Field. Skiers and riders of Plattsburgh will do some of their best tricks on some rails provided by Whiteface Mountain.
“Once it’s done, it’s going to be exciting, and we’re leaving a blueprint of how to get something like that to happen with this club,” he said.
Zuber is also a member of the Outing Club and Platty Slack and a resident assistant . One of Zuber’s biggest accomplishments has been climbing the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks. He said since he grew up in Long Island, he didn’t even know what the 46 High Peaks were.
“It’s pretty crazy. We’re only a couple hours away from these beautiful mountains, and there have been people who have never been,” he said.
Zuber said he has to thank Stephen Larson for introducing him to hiking in the first place. During a weekend of Zuber’s sophomore year, Larson asked if anyone wanted to join him on a hike called “The Great Range.”
“I was like all right. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought we’d hike for a couple hours, go up a hill, nothing too crazy,” Zuber said, “This hike was like 18 miles over two days. I was completely exhausted after that hike, but I was hooked. I wanted to do this again.”
Zuber said that’s when he first learned about the 46 Peaks. He said after learning about it, he was determined to do it.
“Pretty much what the 46 High Peaks are, so there’s 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks State Park,” he said. “They’re about 4,000 feet. If you climb all 46 of them, you’re a 46er.”
As Zuber reflects on his experience, he has some future advice for students.
“Get involved. Whatever you like doing, or think you might like doing, then just go to that club,” he said. “Hiking, backpacking and camping are like way outside my comfort zone, but now I love doing them.”
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org