8:30am: Busses filled with Brentwood students begin arriving at Mt Washington. Windshield wipers work furiously to combat the bitter wind and driving snow that is pelting from the grey sky, and skiers nervously peer out into the white-washed landscape, feeling perhaps just a little underprepared for the heavy, wet, wind-blown snow.
9:00am: The first chairlift of the morning departs up the snowy mountain, and eager members of the Brentwood community begin to grin as the sky clears from dark grey to a perfect bluebird day. As if anticipating our arrival on the slopes, the sun breaks through the retreating cloud cover, setting the stage for a magnificent Winterlude 2020!
Winterlude is the highlight of second term for many Brentwood students and staff alike. Complete with options of downhill skiing, snowboarding, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, or skiing lessons, Winterlude provides a fun-filled day in the snow for students of all interests and prior experience. The day also gives the students involved in Brentwood’s annual musical, Spamalot, a valuable opportunity for an extra full day of rehearsal back at school.
After an early breakfast in Crooks Hall, almost 93% of the school’s population loaded into buses, and departed the school as early as 6:00am, allowing the most avid powder enthusiasts to arrive at Mt Washington in time to catch the first chair up!
Amidst all of the other snow related-activities, a few students participated in an Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 course. Baya I, Hope ‘23 observed that “The avalanche training taught me how important it is to be prepared.”
Strapping climbing skins on to our backcountry skis, we took a single chair lift up, and then worked our way along a ridge and into the magnificent backcountry. We spent the day skinning up the mountain, skiing down slopes of fresh, untouched powder, and of course, engaging in avalanche safety training. Besides learning how to use avalanche response equipment like probes and beacons, we were taught how to utilize various tests and visual analysis to examine a snowpack for potential avalanche risks, and safe practices to manage avalanche risk.
Jack P, Whitall ‘22 enjoyed that “It felt less like a strict class, and more like a fun ski trip with friends where we learn a lot of useful knowledge. The atmosphere in the group was also great: while it would sometimes be serious when talking about thousands of tons of snow burying someone, we would also find a way to have fun in the training scenario. It was an awesome day out!”
Back in the ski resort, all of the participating students had a blast playing in the snow. Avid skier and Resident Faculty Assistant Ms Ackert confirmed that the “amazing weather” and “tons of fresh powder” was the cherry on top of the already fantastic day.
On behalf of everyone who enjoyed an amazing Winterlude, I would like to extend a huge thank you to Mr Lee for all of the time and effort he put into organizing the day!
Sarah R, Mackenzie ‘20