Semester 36: Life on Campus

This past week was jam-packed with academics! Because we had half days on Thursday and Friday due to Ski Week, the beginning of the week had extra classes. Needless to say, we were very busy! In history, we finished up essays about the importance of history in the 21st century; in science we did snow-based temperature gradient labs; and in English we completed a literary analysis of Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony. All Spanish classes learned about Latin American artists while in math, everybody continued to move right through the material while having some fun along the way. In P&P we’ve been developing are own environmental ethics and were able to reflect on the readings we’ve done so far to see where we’re at in terms of our current ideas. Though study halls were hyper-focused, and the library was generally more full than usual in the mornings, we know how to balance working hard and playing hard here at HMI. One of the main ways we de-stressed this past week was through a series of pranks–one of which was on our Dean of Students, Becca. Needless to say, hilarity ensued. After a week of such intense learning, it’ll be nice for everyone to take a little time to decompress in the Colorado backcountry for the next 10 days.

This past Saturday, half of the semester took the SATs in the morning. After a few hours of testing, we all sat out on the porch and ate lunch. Our cook, Stephan, even made us brownie balls that are a favorite among all the students. In groups we then traveled to Safeway and bought food for our second expedition, since we are allowed to bring one extra pound each. After that, we drove into town and watched the ski joring competition. Many people also had ice cream and went to the “Mule Kick,” the local thrift shop. Our class reps planned a fun night for us and we drove to a turf field and played a huge game of Capture the Flag. It was such an awesome way to end a busy week. Finally, we all drove back to campus and gathered in Who’s Hall to watch “The Incredibles” and eat a lot of popcorn. It was definitely a Saturday to remember.

This Sunday we were presented with two very unique opportunities in the town of Leadville. In the morning, students could chose to either ski or volunteer for the a paintball biathlon at the Nordic center next to Ski Cooper. Eight students enjoyed skiing the 5k, and two people skied the 10k. We woke up early to gather costumes and eat breakfast in preparation for the race. The majority of us had never skied before, or only a couple of times so we arrived early to learn the art of Nordic skiing. Those who had skied before taught the rest of us how to glide on the flats, use a pizza-wedge on the downhills, and “herringbone” up the hills. In addition, we got to practice our shooting skills with a paintball gun before the race so that we could hit the target and get seconds deducted from our times. Though most of us fell many times in the race, everyone had huge smiles on their faces and laughed the whole time. In the afternoon we had the choice to go into the town of Leadville to watch skijoring. Skijoring is when horses pull skiers through the streets of Leadville (which are filled with snow) and the skiers launch off of jumps. It was a unique experience for sure, and great to feel part of the larger Leadville community. Overall, Sunday was a very fun-filled and successful day.

For the past couple of days, we have been busy prepping for our upcoming winter expedition, and the campus is buzzing with excitement. We took a preliminary trip to the backcountry last week to learn how to use our tracking devices and get a feel for traveling in the backcountry using skins (something that many of us have never done). This week, we finished up our academic classes then split into our expedition groups to ration food, establish group goals, learn about avalanche awareness, and learn how to build the snow shelters we will be living in. As we finish up packing the busses with our packs, skis, and sleds, we get ready to say goodbye to campus for 10 days. When we get back, expect another update from us about our adventures in the backcountry!

Student photos by Liv Henrikson, Maddie Kauffman, and Liv Henrikson

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