February 25, 2022 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Tia Vierling | Photo by Aida Hasson

Colorado College students have a reputation for a “work hard, play hard” mentality. During the block, students labor over equations, readings, and artwork; on the weekends and on block breaks, they take a load off.

But the “play hard” part of that mentality comes into the spotlight when extreme weather of all sorts hits campus, from the fall semester windstorm to the sheets of snow settling across CC.

Reactions to the snow are often the most obvious, with students getting outdoors with sleds that get tucked away in closets for the rest of the year.

“I keep a sled at my friend’s apartment, so when there’s a snow day I go sledding,” said Paul Oh ’22. A particularly popular sledding spot is the hill next to the Preserve, which slopes sharply downward to meet Stewart Field.

On a snowy weeknight in block five, apartment residents from Blanca and John Lord Knight — and a few other buildings beside — crowded at the top of the hill. Some students took a sled down the thin sheet of snow already layered over the grass as more continued to fall. Others donned puffy jackets and took to the slopes on their stomachs alone, with Cedar Bennett ’23 even managing to make it from the top of the hill to the first concrete step at the bottom with her very own “penguin dives.”

Photo by Aida Hasson

The snow creativity didn’t stop there. The next day, several members of the campus community decided to build a ski jump from one of the hill’s cement steps, cutting a landing into the large snowbank made by the plows at the bottom of the hill. Then they took to the slope on downhill and tele-skis, making the most of a small hill.

Lucy Capone ’23, a skier herself, said, “some of [the skiers] did 360s, and I think one guy did a backflip.”

Margot Swetich ’25 hasn’t had a chance to go out on the hill, though she “didn’t really witness any of it,” she noted her enjoyment in the idea of the activities. The sledding, skiing, and even snowboarding is a testament to students’ commitment to innovative ways to get outside.

Alyssa Sorensen ’25 said that she knew about the shenanigans on the hill. “I heard it was fun,” she said. “But people got hurt … [it can be] really dangerous.”

Someone from Sorensen’s hall bloodied his hands in an accident; there were other reports of injuries after skiers and sledders rocketed off the bottom step of the hill, which features a knee-high drop to the soccer field.

A much less dangerous winter pastime on campus — though it also features skis — is cross-country skiing. Gillian Lasher ’23 cross-country skied for the first time on Tava Quad.

“The terrain was really great,” Lasher said with a smile. “There was definitely enough snow to just go out on the quad … I didn’t actively see other people cross-country skiing, but I did see tracks.”

Traversing across campus in unique ways hasn’t just been limited to cross-country skiing, either. During the windstorm, some students notoriously brought out bedsheets and skateboards, rigging up “sails” to take them from West to East campus.

“I tried to participate in [windsurfing] during the windstorm,” Lasher said. “But it didn’t work very well.” With trees falling around campus, it was clear that it might’ve been a good time to hold back on the risk factor.

Still, CC students’ willingness to get active in creative and unique ways is a testament to the ‘up-for-anything’ mentality so many of us bring to our college experience.

As Chandler Witt ’22 put it, he thinks that what the sledding, skiing, and windsurfing students get up to is “awesome,” adding with a bit of a laugh, “and anyone who says otherwise is a nit.”

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