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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Van Wie

A Winter Carnival Without Skiing? Unbelievable.

Updated: Feb 6, 2020

DVW Photo - 2011 Winter Carnival

Silly me. Until yesterday, I thought that there would actually be ski racing events at this year's Dartmouth Winter Carnival as there has been for the past 109 Carnivals.

I clearly missed the memo, or in this case the small paragraph at the bottom of an article in The Dartmouth student newspaper last Thursday: "One iconic piece of Winter Carnival will be missing this year, however: the annual ski carnival at the Dartmouth Skiway."

I see now from the schedule that the Dartmouth ski team will be away this weekend at the Bates Carnival in Newry/Rumford, Maine.

This is the first Dartmouth Winter Carnival without a home intercollegiate skiing event since 1915, as far as I can gather.

Umm, why wasn't this bigger news? Why didn't we see a Blizzard of this Unbelievable Bad News?

With a little research I learned that the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) adopted a new schedule this year to allow other colleges to host ski carnivals. Apparently, there aren't enough snowy weekends to go around, so now there is some type of rotation. This year Harvard hosted its first ever ski carnival earlier in January at Waterville Valley ski area in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, just a hop, skid and a stem-christie from downtown Cambridge.

Dartmouth College photo archive

And Bates College, which in past years has combined its Carnival with the NCAA East Regional races at the end of the season, slid into the traditional Dartmouth slot of the single digit February weekend. And Dartmouth will not host a home race this season for the first time in a lifetime. And then some.

Thankfully, the women's and men's ice hockey teams play at home or we might not have any home varsity athletic events that involve frozen water.

I was pumped to go watch the races on Worden's this year. The snow is great and there is more coming. I guess I'll go to the Skiway anyway.

I'm heartened to see the students building an ambitious snow sculpture on the Green: The Beast of Baker - which falls under the 2020 Carnival theme of A Blizzard of Unbelievable Beasts. And there will be the ice sculpting contest, pond hockey and the Polar Bear swim in Occom Pond, the human "sled-dog" races on the Green, and many more fun outdoor winter events.

But a Winter Carnival without skiing is like an Oreo with no creme filling, like an Old Fashioned with no bourbon, like a song with no music.

Maybe we in the future when the ski team doesn't get a timely slot in the Carnival rotation, we can host a citizens' race or an alumni event on Dartmouth Winter Carnival weekend.

It would give us something.

In the meantime, no ski racing. Unbelievable.

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