Annual family ski trip gets canceled due to icy highway conditions, closures


Photo credit: Olivia Karp

Archer buses that were meant to take students and families to Mammoth are unloaded due to the cancellation of the ski trip. When driving to Mammoth, ninth grader Sara Salehi and her family were stopped due to highway closures, but they intend to ski once they reach Mammoth. “We’re just going to find a hotel to stay at and try again tomorrow morning,” Salehi said.

By Claire Doyle, Staff Reporter

After whiteout conditions on Mammoth Mountain and highway closures, Archer’s 19th annual family ski trip was canceled Friday, Feb. 24. The optional buses Archer provided for students and families attending the ski trip was supposed to leave Feb. 24 and return Feb. 27, but they did not depart due to icy road conditions and closures on highway U.S. 395.

Archer dad and ski trip coordinator Suleman Mohammed has ran the ski trip since 2012, after his first daughter began attending Archer in 2008. According to Mohammed, about 360 Archer students and family members planned on attending the ski trip. Mohammed said organizing a trip for this many people can be stressful but is ultimately worth it.

“With these weather conditions that we’re going into on Friday, a lot of people are concerned and nervous about the drive up,” Mohammed said in a phone interview prior to the cancellation. “I’ve been working really hard trying to figure out what we can do to avoid rain [and] get up early and safely.”

Tenth grader Charlie Clayton has been going on the ski trip for four years. Clayton reflected on moments of bonding with her friends through past ski trips and said the trips have always been unique because something new happens every year.

“It’s always interesting,” Clayton said. “Something interesting always happens, [like] some injuries, and then, this year, it’s a snowstorm.”

Mohammed, along with other Archer parent volunteers, make buying lift tickets, scheduling lessons and ski rentals easier for the participants through sending emails with links. In addition to these tasks, the parent volunteers organize group dinners, snow tubing and other activities, such as bowling.

Despite the challenges this year’s ski trip has faced, Mohammed finds planning the trip rewarding and highlighted its importance to the Archer community.

“I think it was really important for fathers to find a place at an all-girls school,” Mohammed said. “It started as a dads and daughters trip. But, as the community grew and things change, we realized that everyone’s daughter is welcome on the trip.”

Ninth grader Sara Salehi drove with her family to Mammoth for her third Archer ski trip. While driving, they were stopped due to a road closure. Multiple cars, including Salehi’s and other Archer families’, were stopped and forced pull off into a gas station off the highway.

Salehi said she was disappointed some of her friends are not able to make it anymore because they were scheduled to go on the bus. Some families arrived in Mammoth because they drove there before the highway closures, while others are still waiting for the highway to open. For freshmen who couldn’t make it to Mammoth, a bowling night was scheduled in Los Angeles.

“I was really excited to go with new friends that I made this semester and this year,” Salehi said in a phone interview. “It’s just really disappointing.”