Chase Frishman: ‘No Choice But to Warm up the Snow’
By: Chase Frishman
KRONPLATZ, IT — How did I get here?
Belly full of bread at a cafe in Venice, Italy, taking my last sip of a local lager. Weaving through a city I’ve never been to, guided by an inner compass with the sole agenda of, at one point, indulging in some of that famous Italian gelato. Stumbling upon the sights, sounds, and smells of the floating city as I drift, unattached and uninhibited.
And here I sit, seven days into an adventure that feels more like a movie than real life. Reflecting on all the things I thought I knew.
“We could probably just learn on YouTube…”
Four guys without a lick of experience driving a manual transmission decide that a trip through the winding, up and down, Dolomites mountain pass is the best place to start. Oh, did I mention that it starts to snow… Sardined in a Fiat Qubo, led by our fearless leader/stick-shift guinea pig, Travis Mewhirter, we embark towards Venice with zero expectations and an underlying concern for our livelihoods. You could imagine we ran into some adversity. But for anyone who knows Eric Zaun, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Middle of the night, stalled out on a decent uphill grade, Chris Vaughan feigns a reassured voice as he explains what his dad taught him about the clutch 15 years ago. We slip, we slide, we make it. Team effort.
Zoom back, again.
Seriously, how did I get here?
You can’t blame me for being a little confused. What a sloppy, extraordinary mess this snow volleyball is… Running/jumping around in cleats, kicking up snow in a McFlurry of fun and surprisingly solid play. When we got the call from Eric Zaun (the mastermind behind this ragtag crew of misfits), nobody knew what to expect. And that’s the beauty of it. His quote sticks with me: “You know what Randy (he calls everyone Randy btw), not knowing where we’ll end up is what really gets me going.”
Well, we’re here.
The inaugural men’s snow volleyball team representing the USA. Novelty unsurpassed. We just finished 5th in our first ever snow volleyball tournament (yes, that’s a thing) in Wagrain, Austria, three days prior. A sport that is making a strong push to become a recognized competition in the 2026 Winter Olympics, and we’re cluelessly, happily at the center of it all.
A team that among its members had rarely seen snow, let alone attempted to move around athletically in it. No reps, no touches, merely camaraderie and an intrigue to see how far we could take it. We adapted and, at times, even thrived in one of the most memorable events of my life. We wrestled, we cheered, we were a spectacle: a hate us or love us type of polarity. And we get a chance to do it all again. The grand finale starts tomorrow at the World Champs in Kronplatz, IT, leaving us with no choice but to warm up to the snow.
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