We have been having a lot of fun in these two weeks leading up to our winter expedition. In science class, we have been studying the subnivean zone, which includes everything that exists within and under the snowpack. We recently wrapped up our English unit by submitting our first essay about Native Americans, cowboys, and the myth of the West. We had a concert during history class and premiered all of our goofy songs regarding Fredrick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis. It was entertaining to say the least, but also a great way to showcase what we have learned. We have been studying immigration in Spanish class and watched a really interesting documentary on the subject–and Whitney brought donuts for us to eat!
This past week was arguably the coolest on-campus week of the whole semester: Ski Week! In preparation for Winter Expedition, which involves a ton of telemark skiing, the HMI crew drove to the local ski mountain every morning and skied the fresh powder until noon (it snowed nonstop all week). We were split up into groups of varying abilities, from advanced to “never-evers,” but by the end of the week, everyone was cruising down the mountain in style. Each day, after an eventful morning of skiing, we would return to campus and head to class. Friday was a little different, however. Instead of heading to the ski mountain, we ventured off into the backcountry with our expedition groups. We practiced using our skins, which stick to the bottom of a ski to enable you to climb uphill without sliding backwards. Once you are ready to go back down, you take the skins off and are able to enjoy some nice telemark turns through the snow. Since we will be carrying a lot of our gear in sleds on the winter expedition, we also practiced using those. By the end of the week, we were all exhausted and in need of a nice, long nap (and some good quad stretches). All in all though, the exhaustion was worth it and we cannot wait to put our new skills into practice when we travel into the backcountry.
The weekends at HMI have been busy, too. Two weekends ago HMI students and faculty had the opportunity to participate in a local cross-country ski race called the “Leadville Loppet.” Students who were not racing helped out at an aid station, handing out water and snacks while cheering the racers on. It was a great day and in the end HMI took home the award for the best costume. This weekend students went to the Breckenridge recreation center to relax after ski week. Students could choose to swim in the pool, play racquetball, relax in the steam room, or workout in the gym. It has been an awesome and eventful few stretch here at HMI; today we are preparing all of our food and gear for expedition, and tomorrow the expedition adventure will begin!