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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Winter Carnival to last three weekends, feature virtual and in-person events


Despite seeing some changes this season, Dartmouth’s Winter Carnival isn’t going anywhere. Instead of a single-weekend event, the carnival will run from Feb. 5 until Feb. 21.

Programming this year will take place over three weekends, with additional events scheduled during weekdays. The longer timeframe will allow traditional events like the ice sculpture contest and human dog sled races to take place over multiple days, in order to keep group sizes small.

“We can space it out but still have as many people participate as possible over the duration of the carnival,” Winter Carnival council chair Colton Wagner ’21 said.

This year’s carnival, themed “Level-Up: Carnival Reloaded,” will feature specific video game franchises and also serve as “an homage to general video gaming,” including arcade, phone and computer games, according to Wagner.

“Every year we try and make the theme reflect the times if possible,” Wagner said, alluding to the many students experiencing Dartmouth virtually this year.

With regard to in-person events, associate director for student involvement and Winter Carnival council adviser David Pack said that students will have to sign up for events ahead of time in order to abide by gathering restrictions.

The Winter Carnival council includes students both on and off campus, according to Pack. After the theme was announced, Pack added, more students joined in response to a second call for new members.

One of these students is Alex Yusen ’21, who is working on “video and virtual gaming opportunities” for the event, he wrote in an email. He added that after finding out the theme, he wanted to participate, since he is active as a co-leader in the Computer Gaming Association and the Super Smash Bros. club at Dartmouth.

Yusen wrote that some of these games and events will be held both virtually and in person, and others will be entirely online. Yusen added that these events will likely be “ongoing” rather than hosted one time. 

Wagner said that the council has been looking at using social media more actively, potentially posting poll questions or short videos to help people “interact and feel the various aspects of Winter Carnival.”

One notable change to this year’s carnival is the traditional snow sculpture on the Green. Instead of the typical single sculpture piece, three teams of students — one per class, with the ’22s and ’24s working together due to fewer local students in these classes — will construct three separate snow sculptures.

“The idea was to have people more spread out,” snow sculpture chair Ethan Goldman ’22 said. 

Each team will design its own sculpture fitting the theme. Over the next few weekends, participants will pack frames with snow to make three eight-foot cubes — one for each team — and then will work to carve them. Participants can sign up to help work on the sculpture outside, and there will be a limit on the number of people constructing the snow sculptures at any given time. Off-campus students are not allowed to help build the sculpture. 

While the opening ceremony is still being planned, Wagner mentioned that it may be moved to the Green from its usual location in Collis Common Ground, which currently has a capacity of 25 people.

One notable absence from the event will be the polar bear plunge, an event that takes place at Occom Pond. Pack said that the event is not conducive to mask-wearing and social distancing.

Another event missing will be the varsity ski team competition, as Dartmouth’s ski teams are not competing this term. However, the Dartmouth Skiway is still open, and Pack noted that there are still plans to give students a free lift ticket to be used during the duration of the carnival. He added that there will have to be some planning to spread out the amount of students using the free lift ticket each day.

Caitlin McCarthy
Caitlin ('23) is a news reporter for The Dartmouth from Mansfield, Massachusetts. She is a prospective geography major and sings in the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir.