"Anyone Wanna Shred?"

By Max Bond, Dartmouth University

For the first week at Camp 17, we experienced nothing but bone-chilling wind and rain. All our gear was soaked through, we were constantly wet and cold, and the weather was starting to take a toll on the group’s morale. Poems, songs, and jokes about the weather kept us sane. For example, Christoph gave an optimistic speech about how the rain “made us closer,” and Jane re-wrote the Pledge of Allegiance on July 4th to include bits about the poor conditions.   

For me, there was one thing I knew would cheer me up, and that was skiing. I’ve always loved making turns, and despite the weather, I knew the glacier was calling my name. I was tired of the weather deciding our actions for us. If I didn’t ski soon, I was going to lose my mind.

One night after lecture, I decided the time was now. Outside it was cold and misting; poor visibility made the Ptarmigan Glacier (“The Gnarmigan”) look like the inside of a ping-pong ball.  Everybody was huddled around the dinner tables of the warm Cookshack enjoying coffee and hot chocolate, which didn’t make skiing seem very attractive. I knew it was going to be difficult to convince somebody, but I needed a release from the weather.

I started asking everybody I could find if they wanted to shred. First I asked Mike, who looked outside and reluctantly declined. Then I asked Evan, who promised he’d go tomorrow. I asked Allie, who gave me a kind “maybe later.” I asked Lara, who gave a hard-fast “no.” I asked Matt, Erin, Justine, Mo, Dani, and Frank; nobody wanted to ski. Finally, after I thought I had exhausted all the staffers, Annie gave me a stern “Go get your skis. We’re leaving in five.”  

I was more excited than ever! I ran to grab my ski boots (neglecting Annie’s rule of “no running” around camp) and rushed to strap them on. Peer pressure must have convinced everyone else, because I ran back to find Matt, Frank, Chris, Evan, Mike, and others also strapping on their boots, getting ready to shred! There was even a single sliver of blue sky (retrospectively, it was probably more of a lesser-gray patch) above us. Other students grouped outside around Avery, who was jamming on his ukulele and singing songs about the weather. Everybody made a tunnel with their ski poles, and one by one, we all dropped in to the foggy ping-pong ball.

 The tunnel of skiers at the top of the Gnarmigan ski hill. Photo credit: Max Bond

The tunnel of skiers at the top of the Gnarmigan ski hill. Photo credit: Max Bond

I’m not a good skier, so while I was busy holding my skis in a “pizza” all the way down the hill, everyone passed by and eventually I was all alone inside the mist. Despite my lack of skill, I was having a blast. When I finally got to the bottom, everybody was cheerful, dancing, laughing, and having a great time, which made me even more stoked. Despite the weather, we were all outside enjoying ourselves and having fun. All it took was a positive attitude and some good skiing. We climbed back up, made another tunnel, and dropped back in for another awesome, misty run.  

 Climbing back up the Gnarmigan after skiing down, inside a ping-pong ball. Photo credit: Max Bond

Climbing back up the Gnarmigan after skiing down, inside a ping-pong ball. Photo credit: Max Bond