Written by: Cece, Ben, Brooke, Theo and Lizzie
Libbey, Izzy, Gus, and Jessi led Group A (also known as the Blisfl Vejjg Cats) into the mountains near Homestake Peak for a second expedition this semester. Most of the students’ days in the snow consisted of carrying heavy sleds, skinning from campsite to campsite, and doing A LOT of shoveling. To make the hard work a little more light-hearted, the students made a habit of using biodegradable glitter and colorful zinc to decorate their faces. Outside of their bootpacking, quigloo mounding, and digging, the students spent some of their free time adventuring out on skins for some spontaneous backcountry skiing. At their second campsite, they were lucky enough to have two ski runs right off the side of their camp named “Shish Kebab” and “Far Strider.” At night, they spent most of their time cooking and trying to stay warm. Their backcountry cooking was delicious and they started each dinner with an appetizer. One night, Vittoria prepared a luxurious four-course meal for her tarp group, The Four Blind Rats, filled with many appetizers and some delicious pasta. Group A had nothing but a blissful (and cold) time on their winter expedition!
Group B’s expedition led by Hayden, Jess, Leslie and Sam had an incredible time. They traveled up and down Mt. Zion, all along the way seeing an incredible view of the Mosquito Range and the Arkansas Valley, including Leadville. They got a giant amount of snow on the fourth day which kept them stuck inside their quigloos. Henry, Theo, and Everett hosted a card game in their quigloo. It was a great way to heat up the space and to bond as group. On their last night, the group had a dinner party at one of the quigloo sites which had a massive snow “table”. The dinner party had many courses, desserts, and had decorations such as seven snow lanterns set up around the exterior. It was a magical, clear night full of great people in a great place.
Group C, led by Jacob, Erik, Brenna, and Joanie, and joined by 11 students, began their expedition by stepping off the bus and into Buckeye Gulch. They skied uphill to the first camp, where students spent hours building tarp sites and kitchens in the snow. That night, all three tarp groups cooked, ate, and laughed in a group kitchen. The next few days were spent mounding and carving out our very first quigloos, where we slept for a total of five nights. The group had a few snowy days at this camp, and students spent many hours cooped up in their quigloos doing schoolwork, while one brave quigmate would venture out to cook meals, or grab a bag of trailmix and hurry back inside. On the 15th, they skied to the next camp, which became their home for the rest of the trip. In these last few days, students were busy with academics: digging snow pits for science, having discussions for P&P and History classes, and sharing their poems with each other. On the 18th, the last full day, the whole group skied to the top of Mount Zion, where they enjoyed the incredible views and listened to music using Erik’s speaker. It was a memorable final day. Overall, the trip was full of unique and exciting experiences: they built homes out of snow, had “beach days” where they drank Kool-Aid, celebrated two birthdays, kept sunscreen, ski boot liners, and blocks of cheese in their jackets to keep them from freezing, and much, much more. It was an unforgettable adventure, and the group was grateful to return to a warm and dry campus.
Group D led by Liz, Alex, and Blake skied through and around the Mosquito mountains. After spending the first two nights at a tarp camp, the group spent the final eight nights in quigloos that they constructed. The trip was bookended by sunny days at the start and end but the middle was characterized by constant snow. On those snowy days, the quigloos were great places to shelter from the weather. The boys’ snow house, notorious for its high ceilings and abundant space, proved an especially comfortable place to hunker from the weather. While the construction and excavation necessary to build a quigloo required hours of hard work, the students still found lots of time for fun and learning. This included activities such as the creation of a minigolf course in the snow, a game of word murder started by Charlotte, and skiing down the nearby slopes. Students also got to enjoy the abundant amount of food they brought and carried with them in sleds. This included appetizers! A fan favorite meal was apple cinnamon granola made with apples that one student, Harris, brought with him. Altogether, Winter Expedition with Group D was an amazing experience that will never be forgotten.
Group E led by Dylan Kane, Garry, Kienan and Nadia, ventured to the Mosquito mountains and camped near a peak called Empire Hill. On the first day they packed their packs, put on Telemark skis and skins and strapped on sleds and made the treacherous journey to the first campsite. Ski touring days were long, hard, and absolutely fantastic! Eight students and four adults journeyed together through thick and thin (snowpack). The paths we took had absolutely astounding views of the sawatch mountains from across the Arkansas Valley. At camp they labored over many quigloos (snow shelters) that they would later sleep and hangout in with their quigloo-mates. The evenings were filled with the yummiest food and the silliest conversations and games. Every day before bed, the entire group got together in “the hottub” for circle, a meaningful space where they shared the deepest parts of themselves. It was great to calm down and reflect on the hectic winter camping experience during circle time. During the days they did a multitude of activities. They went on many day skis, touring the mountains, weaving through trees, enduring blizzards and falling on their faces! One day, the group never left the quigloo due to snow. They read aloud for four hours and talked about anything and everything! Together, Group E shared a cold, wet, funny, frustrating, joyful, and overall silly experience.