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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Ski Patrol holds sixth annual Pond Skim at Dartmouth Skiway

The event highlights the Ski Patrols’ work at the Dartmouth Skiway, where they provide emergency care.

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On April 1, the Dartmouth Ski Patrol hosted its sixth annual Pond Skim at the Dartmouth Skiway. The event kicked off at 11 a.m. with youth (U17) skiers taking the first lap of the day down the trail and through the pond, followed by Dartmouth students and community members. The event wrapped up with a concert from Dartmouth’s student band Milk inside the Ski Lodge. This year, all of the proceeds from the Pond Skim went to the Veterans Affairs Adaptive Sports Program. 

At many ski resorts, including Killington and Sugarbush in Vermont, pond skimming serves as a way to close out the ski season and celebrate the start of spring. At Dartmouth, the tradition of the pond skim is relatively new, and participants ski or snowboard down a short run and skim across a pond created by the Ski Patrol. The pond is patrolled by members of the Ski Patrol that retrieve lost skis or snowboards and help participants out of the water when needed. 

As part of the tradition, participants of the pond skim also dress in “flair” –– crazy, loud or strange attire that represents a Dartmouth tradition and makes a silly fashion statement. At her first Pond Skim this year, Genevieve Schaefer ’26 wore a fluffy cow onesie with bright pink ski goggles. 

“I was really nervous to go down the run at first, but once I was on the skis, it was so fun and I wanted to do it again almost immediately,” Schaefer said. “I loved having all of my friends watch me, and I think that having the support and cheers from the crowd made it all so much more fun.” 

To organize the event, the Ski Patrol Board — a group of elected patrollers who oversee the Ski Patrol — collaborated with the Management Team and Mountain Operations Crew at the Skiway. 

On the day of Pond Skim, members of the board and the Mountain Operations Crew dug a hole in the snow, covered it with tarp and filled it to the brim with water. Starting at 7 a.m. that morning, members of Ski Patrol had various tasks, such as watching over different sides of the mountain, grilling food or playing music. 

The Ski Patrol also booked Milk to perform inside the ski lodge and the Trailbreak Taco Truck to cater lunch for participants and viewers. Katherine Takoudes ’24, assistant director of Ski Patrol, said the club’s hard work in planning the event paid off. 

“I think that this event brings a ton of people out to the Skiway and shows everyone what we do, and what [Ski Patrol] experiences every single winter,” Takoudes said. “It was really cool to see a bunch of people experience this magic in a new way.”  

The Dartmouth Ski Patrol is a community service organization that teaches students and community members emergency medicine and preparedness. Members of the Dartmouth Ski Patrol are trained in first aid, CPR and Outdoor Emergency Care and primarily serve the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, New Hampshire. In the winter, patrollers have two shifts on the mountain each week and are assigned to oversee different trails. 

Every year, around 30 first-year students out of approximately 60 to 70 applicants are chosen by the current Ski Patrol members to interview for participation in the apprentice program. The apprentice program teaches future patrollers the necessary skills and certifications to treat people on the mountain. After an average of 200 hours of training, first-year patrollers participate in hands-on training under the supervision of experienced instructors. Ian Moulton ’26, a current apprentice, explained that Ski Patrol’s commitment has contributed to new, exciting experiences and a profound knowledge of emergency care. 

“We ski, help injured skiers and have fun on the mountain,” Moulton said. “It’s about 10 hours per week at the mountain, and we can assess anyone who was injured and is on the mountain, in the lodge or anyone who walks into the aid room.” 

Off the mountain, Ski Patrol is known for being an extremely social and tight-knit group. Moulton explained that the close group dynamic of Ski Patrol often translates to their work on the mountain. 

“It really feels like a big team because we all trust each other so much…it makes it so much more fun and makes it feel like less of a job,” Moulton said. 

Takoudes echoed this sentiment and said that spending so much time together always makes the commitment worth it. 

“While we are, first and foremost, a medical professional organization and qualified OEC technician, I think [members of Ski Patrol] really buy into the Pond Skim and buy into the grueling setup of it because of how fun it is,” Takoudes said. “We all get to do it together as a team.”