Dartmouth Soundoff: Sochi Olympics

The Sochi Olympics have created quite a stir, from the unfinished city infrastructure and hotel accommodations to reports of the government-sanctioned extermination of stray dogs to public scrutiny of Russia’s extreme hostility toward the LGBTQ community (GQ magazine recently published English professor Jeff Sharlet’s excellent coverage of the issue. Not to mention that Sochi is the warmest city to ever hold the Winter Games; the highs this week are in the 50s, making it difficult to maintain passable course conditions for some events.

While these issues do merit some attention, controversy seems to have detracted from what remains at the heart of the Olympics: competition and athletes. So let’s talk about some U.S. team members and throw in some of their favorite music. (Don’t worry, I screened it—you’d be surprised how many times “Imagine Dragons” appeared). Consider this my disclaimer: I’m talking more about the Olympics and less about music this week. Hopefully after this you’ll actually know a bit of what’s going on, since it’s unlikely that you’re following Sochi as closely as Vancouver.

Kaitlyn Farrington, snowboarding: In the 24-year-old’s first Olympic Games, Farrington outscored silver medalist Torah Bright by just a quarter point in her last two runs of the halfpipe event, earning her first gold.

“Psychic City (Radio Edit)” – YACHT

Courtesy of NBC

J.R. Celski, speed skating: Earlier this week, the short track speed skater finished fourth in the 1500 meter race, the event he took bronze in during the Vancouver Games. Yesterday he began competition for the 1000 meter race. In 2012, Celski set the world record for the 500 meter.

“Didn’t Cha Know” – Erykah Badu

“So Far To Go” – J Dilla

“No Alibi” – The Roots

Courtesy of NBC

Hilary Knight, hockey: The Hanover native and U.S. women’s team forward is competing in her second Olympics. The hockey team showed their strength in a 9-0 victory over Switzerland and is one win away from the gold medal game, despite a 2-3 loss to Canada.

“Turn on the Lights” – Future

Courtesy of NBC

Arielle Gold, snowboarding: The 17 year old became the second youngest winner of a FIS World Snowboarding Championship last year, and was considered a medal contender for Sochi. Unfortunately, after a crash and resulting shoulder injury on Wednesday, she had to drop out of competition.

“Soundtrack 2 My Life” – Kid Cudi

Courtesy of the New York Times

Shaun White, snowboarding: Recently, White has been sporting a new look and a new attitude (maybe?). Love him or hate him, he raised the profile of the sport of snowboarding, and for years his face has decorated the bedroom walls of teenage extreme-sport hopefuls. Unfortunately, the halfpipe favorite finished fourth this week.

“My 1st Song” – Jay-Z

“Bad Kids” – Black Lips

Courtesy of NBC

Heather McPhie, skiing: The seasoned moguls skier made it to the finals last week, but didn’t advance after her first run. However, teammate Hannah Kearney ’15 scored a bronze in the same event.

“The Fear” – Ben Howard

Freestyle Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 1
Courtesy of XL Country

Jessica Jerome, skiing: Though the ski jumper ranked 10th in the finals on Tuesday, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this awesome New York Times multimedia piece featuring Jerome.

“Don’t Move” – Phantogram

“Ghostwriter” – RJD2

“Down on Life” – Elliphant

Jessica Jerome
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Peter Frenette, skiing: Though Frenette wasn’t able to advance to the finals in the normal hill ski jumping event, his road isn’t over yet. The individual large hill and team large hill events are today and Monday, respectively.

“Money Trees” – Kendrick Lamar

Courtesy of First Tracks Online

Elana Meyers, bobsled: Meyers won a bronze in the two-woman event at Vancouver and will be the driver in next week’s competition. Most importantly, like yours truly, her birthday is October 10th and she’s from Atlanta (more power to her for being a bobsledder from Georgia).

“Two Words” – Kanye West

Courtesy of DeVry University

7 Reasons Why the Winter Olympics Are Better Than the Summer Olympics

Once upon a time in ancient Greece, citizens competed in running, boxing and javelin-throwing events to demonstrate their devotion to Zeus. Some would say that we’ve come a long way since then, with our electronic stopwatches and 24/7 television coverage of the Olympic Games. I would argue, however, that the biggest win in the evolution of the Olympics is that we’ve come up with a completely better version of them — the Winter Olympics.

Every four years we are blessed with the chance to watch the seemingly fearless athletes of the world fly through the air strapped to a piece of wood or shoot down an icy slide at terrifying speeds.

Notwithstanding the fact that Sochi seems to be piping polluted water through their faucets (among a slew of other issues), the Winter Olympics is a badass combination of guts, glory and snow.

Here’s why:

  1. Freestyle skiing

The fact that this is even an event is unreal. I’d like to see any summer athlete speed through moguls only to pull an aerial trick and then continue banging through more moguls. Check it out.

Which brings me to…

  1. The U.S. ski team
Courtesy of NBC

Not only are they incredibly talented, they are pretty easy on the eyes. No seriously, look at them.

  1. And on a similar note, our snowboarders are looking pretty sweet.
And he just happens to be friends with Shaun White, the second-hottest snowboarder .
Courtesy of Buzzfeed

There’s even a Buzzfeed post called “23 Reasons Why Greg Bretz Should Be Your Valentine This Year.” Good luck ladies.

  1. Hockey

Need I remind you of the speech from “Miracle” (2004)? Seriously people – “Great moments are born from great opportunity.”

  1. Sochi puns

Curling and Russian history jokes are running rampant on Twitter, with snippets like, “What I learned from the Olympics: In sports, you get out what you Putin,” or, “With the Olympics going on I’m making a concerted effort to make as many country related puns as possible. I should start a Czech list.”

What I learned from the Olympics: In sports, you get out what you Putin. #Olympics2014 #puns

— Darius J. Nolan (@da_nolan) February 11, 2014

  1. The U.S. team sweaters
Courtesy of the New York Times

I’m not sure if this was an intentional joke or not, but these uniforms are hilariously amazing. You can’t deny that this would be the ultimate flair for tacky sweater tails.

  1. Sochi’s Olympic program also won with the Russian Police Choir performing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” at the Opening Ceremony:


Even if you can’t get behind this rendition, you have to at least give them an A for effort (and for their outfits).

Winter Carnival Dos and Don’ts

While some people write off Winter Carnival as the grimmest big weekend of the year, the weekend is the perfect time to let off some steam from midterms, enjoy the snowy weather and cross a few items off your Dartmouth bucket list. Be sure to keep these important dos and don’ts in mind as you enjoy the (freezing cold) revelry.

Specatators crowd around the Psi U lawn-rink to watch a student take a turn at the Psi U keg jump, a Winter Carnival tradition discontinued in 2001 amidst controversy due to Psi U's inability to cover the insurance.
Courtesy of the Dartmouth College Library

DO: Go to some of the scheduled daytime activities! Even if jumping into a freezing pond at the Polar Bear Swim isn’t your thing, there are lots of official Carnival events throughout the weekend: the Carnival Tea, ice sculpture competition and human dog sled race. You can check out the entire schedule online here.

Dartmouth students, left to right, Renee Lai (on sled), Jocelyn Powelson, Kristen Flint, and Solomon Rajput took part in the human dog sled race.
Courtesy of The Boston Globe

DON’T: Sleep through everything! The corollary to my previous point. By the time I woke up on Friday of last year’s Carnival, the Polar Bear Swim was long over. Figure out what events you want to go to in advance and set multiple alarms.

Jon Sheller '09 takes the plunge into a frigid Occom Pond during Winter Carnival's annual Polar Bear Swim, which was held on Friday.
Courtesy of Marina Agapakis '09

DO: Go skiing! This Friday, February 7th is 99 Cent Ski Day at the Skiway. Even if the idea of a black diamond slope makes you cower in fear for your personal safety, there’s no better time to get yourself out there and practice. Take advantage of the snow while it lasts!

Dartmouth Skiway
Courtesy of Joseph Mehling ’69

DON’T: Forget to grab a Carnival poster and t-shirt from Collis! The Carnival of Thrones theme this year is pretty awesome, so don’t forget to buy something to commemorate your experience. (I doubt the snow sculpture will last as long.)

Courtesy of the Dartmouth Coop

DO: Stay warm! In the winter, scarves and hot chocolate are the answer to all of life’s problems. When going out at night, bring an extra-warm fracket and do your best to keep track of it. There’s no worse way to end your Carnival weekend than freezing to death.

DON’T: Forget about homework and upcoming midterms! They literally never end, argh.

Winter PE classes help students get comfortable on Skiway slopes

Courtesy of the Hanover Chamber of Commerce
Courtesy of the Hanover Chamber of Commerce

One of the perks of living in the Middle of Nowhere, N.H., is that we have easy access to a variety of outdoor activities to take advantage of in our downtime. In the winter, many students venture to one place in particular — the Dartmouth Skiway. Located 20 minutes north of campus, the Skiway has four lifts and 31 trails spread out over two mountains.

Every winter, hundreds of students enroll in a variety of snow sports classes at the Skiway through Dartmouth for a fraction of what it would cost in the real world. According to the Registrar’s Office, there are currently 228 students enrolled in classes of all skill levels, including downhill skiing, snowboarding and Telemark skiing.

Natalie Shell ’15 took beginner downhill skiing last year and is now enrolled in intermediate lessons.

“I learned when I was little but had not skied since I was about eight, so there was a good 11 year gap where I forgot everything,” said Shell, who grew up in California.

The lessons gave Shell “a lot of confidence on the slopes, and really taught [her] how to reposition [herself] on the skis.”

Blake Osborn ’15, another warm-weather native who hails from Texas, usually goes “skiing once every couple of years” and wanted to capitalize on the nearby facilities to work on her technique.

“I used to not take the lessons because I could just get down the mountain and apparently my form has been completely wrong,” said Osborn, who said she feels that she has “already gotten better at turning” in her two intermediate lessons so far this season.

So who teaches these lessons? Dartmouth students themselves! Joshua Wang ’15, a snowboard instructor since last winter, was certified at the end of last season on Mount Snow, about two hours south of Hanover.

Wang went the extra mile, as “most instructors at the Skiway aren’t certified.”

Not to fret, as all hired instructors go through “a few clinics at the beginning of the term, so [they] know what to teach and feel more comfortable,” Wang explained.

Wang also mentioned that being an instructor “makes [him] more motivated to go to the Skiway.”

Osborn agrees, saying that she “really wanted to go to the Skiway and knew the only way [she would] get out there was through a class.”

Aside from actually learning how to ski, getting to know other Dartmouth students was another advantage of taking the lessons. Shell said she forged a special bond with her instructor, mentioning that there was “a lot of time on the ski lift between runs [when] she would give me her perspective on Dartmouth as a senior when I was a freshman.”

Osborn said she enjoys getting to know students from different classes at Dartmouth.

“It’s actually really cool because [my instructors] are ‘16s so you get to know underclassmen too,” she said.

Once you get over the initial fear of heading out on to the slopes, there’s no turning back.

Shell said she looks forward to continuing her foray into skiing, and hopes to “take intermediate or advanced [lessons] senior winter, or just ski on my own.”

So the next time you have a few hours to kill on a Tuesday after your 10A, maybe head up to the Skiway to see what you have been missing out on.

Chosing the right ski pass for this winter

Snow in Oc­to­ber?!? There are a lot of rea­sons to be dis­tressed about this mid-fall snow shower, but I can’t help but get ex­cited for ski sea­son after see­ing some real snow on the ground. Ski sea­son doesn’t begin until the end of De­cem­ber (ear­lier if you’re hard­core and are will­ing to scrape down lightly pow­dered back-coun­try trails), but now is the time to pur­chase sea­son passes. Though the win­ters in Hanover can be bru­tal, being here puts you in a prime lo­ca­tion to ac­cess amaz­ing ski­ing. Here’s a break­down of the passes for re­sorts in the area:

  1. The SOS Col­lege Pass gives you ac­cess to Mt. Sunapee, Okemo and Strat­ton. If you pur­chase it by Dec. 19 it’s $315, and if you’re look­ing for a va­ri­ety of slopes with pretty good snow-mak­ing equip­ment this is a solid choice.
  2. The Triple Major lets you ski Bolton Val­ley, Jay Peak and Mad River Glen. It’s $299 if you buy it by Nov. 7. Great for ski­iers in­ter­ested in more back-coun­try style slopes, but snow­board­ers should take note that they won’t be able to ride the trails at Mad River Glen.
  3. A Stowe sea­son past will cost you $399 if you buy by Oct. 30, so act quick if you’re de­bat­ing about this one. Stowe’s big and has lots of trails, but un­like the first two op­tions won’t let you switch be­tween moun­tains de­pend­ing on your mood.
  4. Killing­ton is an­other big moun­tain with lots of trails, slightly less than Stowe at $329 until Dec. 8.
  5. The Dart­mouth Ski­way of­fers stu­dents sea­son passes at $150 for the win­ter. While more ex­pe­ri­enced ski­iers may get bored with the shorter runs, this could prove to be great for be­gin­ners look­ing for an op­tion close to cam­pus.

These are just a few of the more pop­u­lar op­tions for Dart­mouth stu­dents. Also note that you do ac­tu­ally have to be an en­rolled stu­dent to get in on these deals — most slopes will re­quire proof of en­roll­ment in the form of a let­ter from the reg­is­trar and a peek at your stu­dent ID. If you’re try­ing to fig­ure out where to go this win­ter, the DOC Win­ter Sports Club has com­piled a Google Doc in which stu­dents can list where they have bought a pass. This will help later for car­pool­ing and now when you’re try­ing to fig­ure out which pass is the best fit for you.

Per­son­ally, I’m lean­ing to­wards the SOS pass, but I have yet to de­cide. These moun­tains are all pretty close, the price is good and they all have solid ski­ing.

Here’s hop­ing for an amaz­ing snow-filled sea­son!