Last Friday, I quite literally sprinted out of my last class the second the clock turned to 12:20 pm. By 12:30, I was in my car, driving around gathering friends and skis; by 1:00, we were unloading the car at the foot of the Dartmouth Skiway, eager to get in a few hours on freshly fallen powder before the mountain closed. We were supposed to head back around 3 for a social event. I checked my watch for the first time that afternoon at 3:30 and decided it wouldn’t hurt to just finish out the day. At many schools, snow means cancelled classes or burrowing up inside; at Dartmouth, for me, snow means it’s time to play. It’s my collegiate version of recess and I love it. While many of my friends have passes for nearby mountains like Stowe, Okemo, Jay Peak, or Killington, just as many have opted for a pass to the Skiway, which is our college’s very own ski mountain. Fun fact: Dartmouth is one of only two schools in the country that has its own ski mountain! Twenty minutes from campus, it means that skiing or snowboarding no longer needs to be a full-day endeavor, and can be as simple as an hour-long study break or a quick adventure before 10 am class. While my car makes it super easy to get to the mountain, there is also a free, hourly bus service to transport students back and forth throughout the day! On the Friday of Winter Carnival, the Skiway has 99-cent Ski Day, where (if the name didn’t clue you in) students can purchase a lift pass for 99 cents! It’s such a great deal, but this winter was the first time I went because in past years I’ve always thought it would be too crowded. Turns out a lot of my peers feel similarly, because even with super-cheap tickets, my friends and I never had to wait on line for the chairlift. Another cool thing about the Skiway is its location, because like Dartmouth, it’s also located directly on the Appalachian Trail. Holt’s Ledge, which is home to the Skiway’s more challenging terrain, is also the third summit from Hanover (after Velvet Rocks and Moose Mountain) on the AT. While the Trail leads up the side of the mountain, there’s also a small hiking path from the top of the chairlift up to the cliff’s edge, so it’s easy to get the same views while hiking very minimally as long as the chairlift is running!
The Skiway isn’t the only way to get outside in the snow – over time, Dartmouth has developed a number of traditions embracing the weather. Over Winter Carnival, students can participate in the Human Dogsled Race, where groups of three people pull a fourth person across the snow-covered Green in a sled! Of course, no such race would be complete without ridiculous outfits. The Green also plays host to a big snow sculpture each year – in accordance with this year’s theme, “Carnival of Thrones,” the sculpture was a massive throne, which is still reigning over the center of campus.
One non-Carnival tradition special to Dartmouth is the Ledyard Canoe Club’s annual snowyaking adventure. Snowyaking, as the name suggests, is essentially just kayaking on snow. Members of Ledyard bring the canoes and kayaks from their home by the Connecticut River all the way up to the golf course, which turns into a fantastic sledding hill when there’s enough snow. We then proceed to – what else? – sled down the hill whilst attempting to stay on top of our canoes and kayaks, which is just as fun to watch as it is to do.