Semester 32: Ski Week and the Leadville Loppett

On Saturday, February 23rd, many students rose early and raced in or volunteered for the Leadville Loppet—an annual Nordic ski race held in town. Costumes, cold, and craziness were rampant as HMI cheered on both fellow students and Leadville residents who were racing. Student racers loved the tasty treats they received from aid stations throughout the race, including cheesecake and cookies! Five students participated in the 10k race and six in the 5k race, where they proved themselves masters of silly costumes and PMA(positive mental attitude). Fun was had by all of us—both skiers and volunteers alike—and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to talk to the Leadville locals. It was an exciting introduction to the town of Leadville and a great opportunity to get to know some of its residents.

Following the Loppet, we were introduced to ski week! Ski week was possibly the most memorable week of school we have ever had. At any other school, Monday through Friday would be spent going through our usual classes while pining for the weekend. During HMI ski week, though, we spent mornings at Ski Cooper—the local Leadville mountain—and afternoons in class back on campus. Quiet and beautiful, Ski Cooper was an ideal place to practice our telemark turns!

We had an incredible time learning to ski with friends. Flying and falling, there was never a dull moment. Whether bonding with lift partners on the 12-minute chairlift ride or cutting our turns quite close to one another, we had a blast! The weather was incredible and we were so spoiled with the conditions overall. Every day was a new, fun experience, and by the end of the week, everyone was thoroughly exhausted. However, we can’t imagine any other students having as much fun as we did this week! We’re so thankful that HMI let us have this unique experience.

This past Sunday, we had another chance to participate in a Leadville tradition!  Another group of bold, young HMI-ers rose early and attempted not to disturb their blissfully sleeping cabin mates as the donned their ski gear in the cold morning air. They, happy and sleepy, yawned their way onto the bus and drove to the Leadville Nordic center for a paintball biathlon—a combination of Nordic skiing and target practice. HMI spirit was felt throughout the day as students completed both 5k and 10k races in costumes as others cheered from the sidelines. While some students were more competitive than others, we were all awed by the athleticism and competitive spirit of the Leadville locals. Our very own Asher Brown placed 4th at the 10k Leadville Loppet the week before and won the 5k race by a large margin! Meanwhile, HMI won the spirit award in both the 5k and 10k races and had another great weekend interacting with the Leadville community—something we’re excited we’ve had the chance to do multiple weekends in a row!

It’s been a great week (#shreddingthegnar), and we’ve got more updates coming for you in the next few days!  We’ll update you on our expedition preparations and a few other exciting events from the previous week before we ski off into the mountains of Leadville for our second expedition.

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