On Jan. 19 at Pine Knob Ski Resort in Clarkston, Detroit resident Alicia Hosea makes her way down the hill during her first skiing experience thanks to fundraising and volunteering by local high school seniors Calum Schulz and Lilian Wege.

On Jan. 19 at Pine Knob Ski Resort in Clarkston, Detroit resident Alicia Hosea makes her way down the hill during her first skiing experience thanks to fundraising and volunteering by local high school seniors Calum Schulz and Lilian Wege.

Photo by Brian Sevald


Local high school seniors expand skiing opportunities for Detroit students

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 24, 2019

 Detroit resident Michael Foreman smiles as he makes his way down the hill during his first skiing experience Jan. 19 at Pine Knob in Clarkston.

Detroit resident Michael Foreman smiles as he makes his way down the hill during his first skiing experience Jan. 19 at Pine Knob in Clarkston.

Photo by Brian Sevald

 West Bloomfield High School student Calum Schulz waits for the lift while volunteering his time helping Detroit residents Michael Foreman, Alicia Hosea and Andrea Griggs with their first skiing experience Jan. 19 at Pine Knob Ski Resort.

West Bloomfield High School student Calum Schulz waits for the lift while volunteering his time helping Detroit residents Michael Foreman, Alicia Hosea and Andrea Griggs with their first skiing experience Jan. 19 at Pine Knob Ski Resort.

Photo by Brian Sevald

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — The snow-capped peaks and valleys that West Bloomfield High School senior Calum Schulz effortlessly skis on — and receives recognition from — are a fun part of his youth.

But he realized that there is some disparity on the ski slopes.

The Sylvan Lake resident and his friend, Lillian Wege, a senior at Bloomfield Hills-based Cranbrook Kingswood School, are avid skiers and wanted to introduce the sport to local schools.

“As skiers, we’ve noticed the lack of participation from young students from urban areas, like our neighboring Detroit,” they wrote on their fundraising website, www.gofundme.com/city-to-slopes.

The duo didn’t stop there. They started the City to Slopes initiative “to encourage students from Detroit to try their hand at skiing.”

The nascent program holds weekly meetings to introduce technique, and it is raising money for warm clothing; transportation; food; the rental of boots, skis and poles; and the purchasing of ski passes.

On Jan. 19, when it was about 24 degrees, Michael Foreman, Alicia Hosea and Andrea Griggs, eighth-graders at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy in Detroit — who had never skied — took to the ski slopes at Pine Knob in Clarkston with Schulz and Wege after they raised the funds for ski equipment.

Schulz said that over the summer, he and Wege had partnered together to meet at an enrichment course where they made a discovery.

“(We) both realized we were very addicted to skiing, and both looking for some sort of service project,” Schulz said, adding that the duo realized that when they reflected on their experience with skiing, it wasn’t “diverse.”

Schulz has traveled throughout the state and country to ski.

“Wherever I’ve gone, (it’s) been extremely Caucasian,” he said, adding that the timing was right to start the program and introduce students to skiing.

“They all loved it — perfect day,” he said, noting the fresh snow that fell and the temperature. “They all really enjoyed it.”

Wege, who skis recreationally, said that the event was successful.

“We ended up with fewer kids than we started with, but it worked out. We could work one on one with the kids, which was great — ended up great,” she said. Initially, 10 students had signed up, but several had other commitments.

“The kids we traveled with had a lot of fun and were satisfied with their experience and themselves and what they did. That really matters,” she said.

Brian Schulz, Calum Schulz’s father, said that he and his wife, Melissa, are proud “of the time and effort they put into developing the idea, coordinating the event and bringing it to life.”

Brian Schulz said that he and his family are “avid recreational skiers.”

“Calum and his younger sister, Ava, were both on skis around the age of 3. We’ve skied together as a family ever since,” he said. “Their passion for ski racing began in high school, and they are both on the West Bloomfield ski team.”

He added that “Calum and Lillian did all the heavy lifting,” which included —with the help of an SAT tutor they shared — identifying a school to partner with, recruiting kids and coordinating fundraising activities.   

The pair also met with the students at a Detroit community center a few times prior to the event to help prepare them for the big day.   

“Calum’s mother (Melissa) helped find deals on all the ski clothing — ski pants, jackets, gloves, goggles, socks, etc. — and along with Lillian’s parents helped coordinate professional transportation for the day,” Brian Schulz said.  “Pine Knob was very supportive of the event.”

On the GoFundMe page, the pair had raised $3,560 of a $5,000 goal from 25 people in four months as of Jan. 23.

Calum Schulz said that next year, a junior from Grosse Pointe South High School will take over leadership of City to Slopes due to the founders graduating.

Brian Schulz added that the next person who takes over will be able to “build on this inaugural event, double the number of kids that participate, and make City to Slopes an even bigger success next year.”

Calum Schulz added that there was a lot of work involved in making the ski trip come to fruition, and it cost the group about $2,500 in transportation, tickets, gear and more.

The initiative is not school-related. “I think we didn’t expect it would take organization and coordination. … Couldn’t have done it without my parents,” Calum Schulz said, adding that when he goes to college, he will be pursuing a law degree and would like to get into politics.

Brian Schulz said that he has been a spectator at his son’s ski races since his son was a high school freshman, and Brian Schulz has watched the training, focus and effort that his son puts into being better and faster with each race.

“It was nice to see him slow down and take the time to help someone whose only goal was to make it 50 feet without falling or running into somebody and celebrate their accomplishment with the same high-fiving enthusiasm as he has after a successful race,” he said.

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