Semester 44: Ski Week

Written by: Gabe, Molly, Georgia, Max, & Clea

Last week we had activities on Tuesday and Thursday, each of us had options to choose what we wanted to do for an activity, I chose basketball in a survey we took before activities started and it listed the options to do for an activity, and I was placed in basketball which was great. We eventually drove with other students that had also chosen basketball, into Leadville’s basketball gym that lets HMI use for their students. We first played basketball, then it led to soccer because we wanted to try playing something different. It’s clear that all the students had fun because we were all really loud and our apprentice later told us to quiet down because we were having so much fun.

The annual HMI coffee house took place this Saturday. Students and Faculty alike gathered for the iconic event. Chairs lined up, costumes on, and audience seated, the MCs took center stage. Joined at the hip, wearing one rainbow unicorn onesie between the two of them, they cracked a joke and introduced the first act—improv. As suggestions and shouts from the audience came pouring in, Beyonce began getting a divorce from baby Yoda, with Danny Divito and Kermit the Frog as lawyers. The next improv took place at a middle school dance. We learned how to slow dance and reflected on the days of 9:30pm bedtimes and crushes who just never seemed to like us back. Then there were the vocalists and instrumentalists. From violin to the flute HMI does not lack musical talent! Even our student lead dances involved props, overly flamboyant sunglasses, and a vast array of moves. We all went to bed tired but content, with cookies in our stomachs and smiles on our faces.

This week at HMI students are finishing up their last week of school before their second winter expedition. Many classes are ending this week with projects, so academics feel very intense but exciting. In Jacob’s English class, the students have to complete a critical analysis on a poem as the students have been reading a lot of poetry. One of the main topics we have been exploring is whether poetry should be interpreted, and if so, how? Using this idea in the poetry critical analysis project, we have to choose a line that stands out to us, not because of what it means or how we interpreted it, but for how it sounds. In Sadie’s Spanish class, students have a project due; we get to plan out our dream trip to a Spanish-speaking country. For the assignment we choose which hostel we stay at, what locations and sights we want to see, and then we present it to the class. Last week in our Practices and Principles of the Natural World class, students were divided into groups of three or four and assigned a standpoint; PETA, Young Farmers Coalition, or the Tyson Meat Company. We had a week to prepare, and then debated in class. The main point was whether animal husbandry is moral in today’s day and age, and we argued as if we were a member of PETA, Young Farmers Coalition, or the Tyson Meat Company, respectively. Each class had this debate, and almost each class had a different debate winner. Each team brought up great arguments, and some were so powerful that a couple of people have become vegetarian! While there is a lot of studying and happening this week, the spirits are all high as everyone is super excited for second expedition!

We have been on campus for the past three weeks doing AMX (morning exercise), taking classes, having fun activities, and last but not least, skiing! This past week we had “Ski Week.” During Ski Week, we ski at Ski Cooper in the morning and in the afternoon we return to campus for afternoon classes. At Ski Cooper we are learning the ropes of telemark skiing- falling in powder, getting up in powder, and of course, skiing in powder!!! Telemark skiing is when instead of having your heel locked in to the back of the ski binding, your heel lifts up and you can ski in a lunge like position. For the week, the students were split into groups based on our prior experience ranging from beginners, never having skied before, to advanced, being comfortable on alpine skis and being able to ski advanced terrain like black diamonds. The first day we were all ready to head to the local mountain, Ski Cooper, and one of the buses broke down! We relocated all the skis and people to other buses and got to the mountain only a little bit behind schedule. We learned how to up our skis on, the tele-stance and how to properly fall. The next ski day we got some fresh powder to free ski on and learned more about how to telemark as well. All the teachers are really good at skiing and are teaching us how to “free the heel and free the mind”. We have two more days of skiing this week, one is a backcountry ski day where we will hike to where we ski and the other is another day at Ski Cooper.

We are now halfway through ski-week and starting to feel confident for winter expedition, where telemark skiing will be our mode of transportation. This Friday we will be assigned expedition leaders and groups and head out on our first backcountry telemark ski to practice for the journey we will embark on next Wednesday, March 4th. Next Monday and Tuesday will be prep days where we will ration food and group gear, pack our bags, and learn all the nuts and bolts for our snowy adventure. Semester 44 is pumped to start their new chapter of HMI in the backcountry where we will surely cook many cheesy bagels, build epic quigloos, ski through tons of powder, and learn hands on about our surroundings and the natural world.