Dartmouth prepares for winter outdoor programming traditions
Students shared that they are looking forward to participating in the various outdoor activities the programs office has to offer.
In an email sent on Jan. 4, Interim Provost David Kotz encouraged students to take advantage of the outdoor activities the College has to offer. This year, those activities will include sledding and snowshoeing, as well as winter naturalist classes and cross country ski lessons — all provided for free by the College’s Outdoor Programs Office — according to a follow-up email from The Office of Student Life on Jan. 11.
Programs office director Coz Teplitz said that outdoor equipment such as winter clothing, cross country ski equipment, snowshoes, hiking gear, ice skates, sleds and tubes are available for students to rent for free from the basement of the Dartmouth Outing Club House on Occom Pond.
Teplitz said the DOC house was “very busy” this past weekend with “over 150 rentals over the two days — probably closer to 200.”
Sana Nadkarni ’22 said she began ice skating in winter of 2020, and that she is most excited to skate on the artificial skating rink that is currently being constructed on the Green for the second time in the last 2 years.
Teplitz explained that although the building of the ice-skating rink began this week, the programs office has not announced an opening date yet. He added that there will also be slight modifications to the design of the rink this year — instead of two rinks in front of Baker-Berry, only one will be constructed, noting easier maintenance as the reason for the change.
He added that the programs office hopes to have skate rentals available at the Green skating rink itself.
Maddie Shaw ’25 said that she also feels excited about trying out the winter activities, especially since this is her first winter term on campus.
“This is my first winter in New England, and I've heard a lot about it — so I'm really excited for Winter Carnival and the outdoor activities,” said Shaw. “Also, as a figure skater, I'm particularly excited about getting to skate on Occom Pond.”
Teplitz said that the ice on Occom Pond has not been thick enough for the rink to open, but students will most likely be able to begin skating by next week.
In addition to ice skating, Teplitz said that the programming office has undergone efforts to make programming more accessible — both physically and financially. He said that cross country skiing on the golf course has not always been offered and was implemented last year to give students who could not afford or make the trip to the Dartmouth skiway the opportunity to experience skiing.
The programs office also began offering sled and tube rentals during the pandemic as another more accessible option for winter fun, Teplitz said, adding that snowier conditions in the coming weeks should permit tubing operations to begin soon.
In addition to the activities being offered by the programs office, the 112th annual Winter Carnival will be held Feb. 10-13. This year’s theme is “Mission: Winter Carnival – License to Chill.”
According to director of student involvement David Pack, unlike last year’s carnival — which took place over an extended period of time in order to “de-densify participation” — this year’s carnival will look, for the most part, like it has in traditional, pre-COVID-19 years.
“People will be able to participate again — weather and COVID permitting — in the polar bear swim on Occom pond, a variety of activities like human dog sled races and snowshoe races,” Pack said, adding that a crew has already started preliminary work for the snow sculpture.
Pack said the Winter Carnival Council is currently brainstorming new activities that relate to the spy theme of this year’s Carnival — such as laser tag — to roll out in addition to the usual events. He added that the Winter Carnival Council is also working with the skiway to provide free lift tickets to students during Winter Carnival.
“I almost forget what Winter Carnival is like because it's been two years since it's really happened,” Nadkarni said.
Pack said that in terms of future events, the winter programming board is waiting to hear whether its coffeehouse concert series will take place.
Pack added that BEMA Lights will return for a second year beginning the third weekend in February following Winter Carnival, and that he is working with students to expand the program.