Sun and snow collide at Red Bull event

Sun and snow collide at Red Bull event

Alex Goodlett

by Christine Whitman

Normally San Diego State students wouldn’t be enthusiastic about waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday; most students have issues getting up by noon. But on Saturday, March 29 several SDSU students eagerly hopped out of bed with nothing but pure anticipation for the 4th annual Red Bull Switchboard event. Switchboard is an adrenaline-satisfying event sponsored by Red Bull that consists of surfing in the morning at Huntington Beach and La Jolla Shores with professional surfer Ian Walsh, then gathering onto busses for a two-hour trip up to Bear Mountain for an afternoon of snowboarding with professional snowboarder Denis “Bonus” Leontyev.

Switchboard gives 600 students from 25 different Southern California colleges an opportunity to participate in this California-centric event, being one of the only states where you can go surfing and snowboarding in the same day.

This year’s SDSU participants included several members of the surf and snow team, as well as members from five Greek organizations.

“It’s sick to do things that are such polar opposites like Switchboard, going from a sunny beach all the way to the snow in one day—it’s awesome,” SDSU surf team President Brandon Carney said.


Walsh started surfing at a young age following in his father’s footsteps. He said his favorite thing about surfing is the creativity within it.

“No two waves are the same, and everyone has a different style and approach to reading the wave, and I just love the freedom of the sport. You can just take off and it is basically like having a blank canvas, and nobody can tell you what to do.”

Walsh said his favorite thing about Switchboard is the energy and the atmosphere.

“Just being around all these kids from the colleges, they’re having such a good time, it’s like a big day party,” Walsh said. “It makes the day so much more fun, and it really makes you appreciate what it is you are doing when you see how much fun everyone is having, and the day just flies by.”

After finally reaching the Big Bear slopes, the 25 participating members of SDSU’s Ski & Snowboarding Team found themselves in their element. Many members of the team have participated in Switchboard since its conception four years ago. One such member is Vice President Kyle Vander Schaff who has been snowboarding for 12 years.


“I lived in Minnesota and basically grew up in the snow,” Vander Schaff said. “Everything about Switchboard is awesome. The whole concept is really my favorite thing about it. It’s such a cool thing to do, and an amazing way to end the season.”

After a long day of physically-draining activities, the students slowly got back on the buses utterly exhausted from the day. However, when getting on the bus, television, film and new media sophomore Sam Skolnik summed up Red Bull’s Switchboard event by calling it, “the California challenge,” which seems to be outstandingly accurate.

Photos courtesy of Derrick Kapalla

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