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'Summiting a Century'

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Winter Carnival celebrates 100 years of the Dartmouth Outing Club

carnival

 

Winter Carnival, one of the College's core traditions, this year pays tribute to the centennial of its founding organization, the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC). Fred Harris, Class of 1911, created the DOC in a dorm room (4 South Fayerweather Hall) on Dec. 14, 1909, "to stimulate interest in out-of-door winter sports." The now year-round DOC did that and more, as its legendary history and pioneering innovations-such as outdoor orientation trips for first-year students-make it one of the largest and most emulated outing clubs in the nation.

To recognize the theme of Winter Carnival 2009-Summiting a Century: 100 Years of the DOC-students are building a snow sculpture replica of the DOC's Ravine Lodge on the Green. Of the many facilities overseen by the DOC, the Ravine Lodge on Moosilauke Mountain is the largest and most frequently visited by Dartmouth students.

On a recent sunny, 10-degree afternoon, Benjy Meigs '10, co-chair of the sculpture project, was hauling buckets of snow into a pile surrounded by wooden planks. "We wanted the sculpture to be bigger and interactive, to celebrate the DOC centennial," he said, explaining that visitors may be able to walk through the sculpture and peer out its snow windows. An engineering major who has helped build past Dartmouth snow sculptures and bonfires, Meigs added, "We need to pretty much build a house up to code. It's ambitious, and we have a ways to go."

The DOC created Winter Carnival in its second winter to showcase snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and to invite women to campus for a lavish Outing Club Dance.

Carnival grew over the years to include extravagant musical and dramatic productions, the crowning of a Snow Queen, bonfires, toboggan races, snow sculpting competitions, fireworks, and parades.

Ninety-eight years later, Dartmouth students continue to showcase their winter skills in NCAA ski races, and visitors come to admire the snow sculpture on the Green and watch their children slide down the ice castle at the Occom Pond Party (see event information on page 3). Other events this year include the human dogsled race, the polar bear swim, and the costumed Carnival Classic cross-country ski race (see event listings on calendar for details).

The DOC is celebrating its centennial with events throughout the year including Woodsmen's Weekend (April 24-25), a canoe Trip-to-the-Sea down the Connecticut River, a coordinated "bagging" of 100 mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire during Homecoming, and events at the Ravine Lodge and Organic Farm. The DOC also aims to orchestrate an all-Dartmouth hike of the entire Appalachian Trail on Oct. 10.

By STEVEN J. SMITH


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Last Updated: 1/29/09