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The Dartmouth
April 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

The College on the Slopes

Students talk about learning to ski and snowboard at Dartmouth

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Welcome to the Woods. A big part of Dartmouth culture is being outdoors — from First-Year Trips to the Connecticut River to the central location of the Green, many students are eager for the opportunity to feel the hill winds in their veins. 

Especially in the winter, skiing and snowboarding are integral  outdoor activities, especially with the accessibility of the Dartmouth Skiway. But what is it like for those who had never learned to ski or snowboard before Dartmouth? College is a time for firsts, and I heard from three students who took advantage of being at Dartmouth to gain some new skills on the slopes.

Fabiana Araujo Rincon ’26 grew up in Venezuela before moving to San Antonio about five years ago. Growing up in these warmer climates, Rincon had never skied before experiencing Hanover winters, but said she appreciated her friends’ encouraging attitudes when she started skiing.

“Everyone I tell that I don’t know how to ski, even if they have skied their entire lives, they’re so understanding and eager to teach me how to ski, which is so exciting,” Rincon said. 

For Rincon, learning to ski meant an opportunity to get some fresh air in between the demands of student life.

“The prospect of being able to [ski] between studying, it makes me feel like being outdoors is such a good break from studying and pressures from the world,” Rincon said. “Skiing is a leisurely activity for most, and they try to sneak it into parts of their day, so they’ll go to the Skiway for two hours a day and come back and do homework.”

I’ve seen many people in the library with their snow pants on directly after skiing, which just goes to show how integrated ski culture is into Dartmouth life — so much so that people will take valuable time out of their weekdays to take a few runs at the Skiway.

I also talked to Hatley Post ’23, who said she learned how to snowboard her freshman year through ski lessons offered by Dartmouth. She is from Houston, Texas and similar to Rincon, skiing just wasn’t a part of her life before college. But now, after taking snowboarding lessons with her friends, Post said she eagerly anticipates the next snowfall.

“The whole experience still has a magical aura to me, where I still get excited when it snows,” Post said. 

The snow sometimes feels like the most burdensome part of the term, but Post’s comments were a reminder of how special winters can be in our neck of the woods.

She added that she does not spend much time comparing herself with others, even if they have skied for much longer.  

“Let’s go explore and have fun with it and not worry too much about how good I am,” Post said of her attitude toward snowboarding. Hitting the slopes is more about enjoying yourself and not taking yourself too seriously, she said

I also was able to talk to Taylor Hickey ’23, who is from New Jersey. Hickey started to ski while pursuing a physical education credit in her freshman year — she would lug her skis to her French class, after which she’d head directly to the Skiway. 

“I am proud of my freshman self,” Hickey said. “I signed up for lessons where I didn’t know anyone. I had to lug my skis around class all morning, but I’m happy I put the time in back then.”

For Hickey, learning to ski was a way to be more a part of Dartmouth’s winter culture. Like Post, it’s about challenging her own limits rather than needing to be the best one.

“I can make it down the mountain but I am definitely not the most skilled,” Hickey said. “On top of having fun, I wanna get better.” 

It gets pretty cold here at Dartmouth, but learning to ski is a great way to get outside, try something new and spend time with friends in the season where those things seem more difficult than usual. Looking out your window, it’s great to have a reason to be excited about plunging knee-deep into the snow with every step. 

“It is a way to make the most of the winter,” Post said. “To really lean into what makes winter special.”