Looking Back on a Year of Trips During the Pandemic With SUU Outdoors

suu outdoors

As the semester is coming to a close, SUU Outdoors is finishing off their season of outdoor recreation trips. The semester of hiking, skiing, climbing and rafting trips went relatively smoothly despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a big win for SUU’s outdoorsy students.

SUU Outdoors is an organization on campus that hosts various trips in Utah and neighboring states that are open for students to attend. They visit different parks and recreation areas and partake in a wide variety of activities. Additionally, SUU Outdoors offers equipment rentals and challenge courses.

SUU Outdoors was unable to hold the majority of their trips during the Fall 2020 Semester due to COVID-19 restrictions and a cut in student fees resulting in less funding. Once they were given permission from the university to start hosting trips again midway through the semester, they were only able to hold a couple of trips before Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared a new COVID-19 state of emergency which limited social gatherings, and their activities were halted once again.

However, during this past semester SUU Outdoors was able to hold trips regularly again during the weekends and holidays.

“One of the favorites is the cross-country ski trip to the Puffer Lake yurt,” said Jessica Eddington, a junior majoring in outdoor recreation who works at SUU Outdoors as a trip leader. “It’s an overnight cross-country ski trip. They’ll ski in with all of their sleeping gear and food and everything to this yurt up in the mountains and then they stay the night.” 

SUU Outdoors also held a three-day rafting trip to the Grand Canyon, and a three-day kayaking trip in the Black Canyon near the Hoover Dam, during which students and leaders kayaked, hiked alongside the river and visited nearby hot springs.

Aside from several day trips getting cancelled, SUU Outdoors did not face too many struggles during the Spring 2021 Semester. Most of the experiences on the trips were normal, aside from minor differences such as the requirement to wear masks while riding in the vans. 

However, attendance and signup numbers were occasionally lower than usual.

“I think because in the fall we weren’t really able to do trips, a lot of people didn’t know totally if we were having trips in the spring,” said Eddington. “So maybe some people weren’t aware that we could do it, maybe some people didn’t want to do it because they were trying to be extra safe for COVID.”

Although the SUU Outdoors summer trip schedule has yet to be finalized, the organization will be putting these plans together in the upcoming weeks leading up to the summer semester and plans to hold a full summer of trips.

To stay informed on upcoming SUU Outdoors plans and to find out how to partake in future activities, visit the SUU Outdoors website.


Story by: Sasha Johnson
Photo by: SUU Outdoors