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The Dartmouth
May 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dartmouth Skiway hosts seventh annual Pond Skim

Two hundred students participated in the annual Pond Skim — an event organized by Dartmouth ski patrol to celebrate the end of the winter ski season.

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On March 30, 200 students gathered at the Dartmouth Skiway to participate in Pond Skim — an annual College tradition celebrating the end of the winter ski season. Participants skied down a short run and then skimmed across a pool of water dressed in “flair” — wacky and colorful clothing emblematic of Dartmouth’s silly traditions. 

For the past seven years, the Dartmouth Ski Patrol has hosted the event in conjunction with the Ski Patrol Board, which works at the Skiway. The event brings the Dartmouth and Upper Valley communities together to celebrate the patrollers’ work throughout the ski season. 

Any Dartmouth student is welcome to sign up and skim for $10 per attempt, according to Dartmouth Ski Patrol member Brant Warner ’27.

All proceeds from the event went to the White River Junction VA Adaptive Ski Program, a program within the Geisel School of Medicine that teaches disabled veterans how to ski using adaptive equipment. Ski Patrol member Emma Bonz ’25 said  ski patrollers volunteer to partner with veteran adaptive skiers a few times per year, spending a day together on the slopes. 

Warner said he was excited about the event’s student turnout this year. 

“All the skimming spots were booked days in advance,” Warner said. “[There were] 200 skimmers, and a ton of people came who didn’t even skim.”

In a campus wide email, ski patrol guarenteed a spot to the first 150 students who signed up to skim.  

The length of the pond was extended this year to make each skimmer’s journey more difficult — a move deemed controversial by some students. 

“It’s kind of a thing, to do it and to make it across,” Club Ski team member Mia Steinberg ’25 said. “I think [people who think it should be longer are] a little overconfident.” 

Other students, however, said they appreciated the added difficulty.

“Last year [the pond] was shorter [than this year], and it was too easy,” Warner said.

Club Ski team member Carter Bartel ’27 agreed that the pond being too short last year had “taken away from the competitive aspect of the event.” 

Steinberg, an avid participant of the annual Pond Skim, said more participants failed the skim this year, adding that this season’s warmer conditions and softer snow made the task especially difficult.

Other skimmers also noted this year’s particularly soft snow. Skiers said the unusually warm winter — and the broader effects of climate change — had negatively impacted skiing conditions in the Upper Valley. 

​​New Hampshire had its warmest winter on record, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. With an average temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit, this winter was the warmest in New Hampshire history, according to NHPR.

Steinberg expressed concern over holding the Pond Skim in the first week of spring term, which she said might not be viable in years to come due to warming temperatures. 

“I really hope not, at least not during our time,” Steinberg said. 

In addition to the skim itself, ski patrol arranged a food truck to park outside the Dartmouth Ski Lodge, while inside, two student bands — The Stripers and Tightrope — performed during the event.

While Warner said the bands were “a smash hit,” he said he hopes to make some improvements to better integrate the entertainment into the event next year. 

“Some of the bands overlapped with some of the skimming,” Warner said. “[We want to] bring the bands outside, and upgrade the sound and stereo system.”

Despite the event’s success, Warner said one issue with the event was transportation. 

“One of the big issues was people getting there, especially for [freshmen],” Warner said. “If you don’t have a car, it wasn’t super obvious how you could get there” as there was no shuttle service to the ski way. Overall, skimmers and observers were happy with the seventh annual pond skim, Bartel said

“They had music, food, bands, everything you could want on a beautiful, sunny Saturday,” Bartel said.