Snow sculpture gives students new option for PE requirement
By David Jiang, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, January 9, 2009
Snow sculpting, a long-standing Dartmouth tradition, is now a physical education course that can be counted toward the three required PE courses for Dartmouth students.
The class will meet for four three-hour training sessions on snow sculpture construction and participants will be expected to help with the building of the actual snow sculpture -- a long-time staple of Winter Carnival -- in February. The class is being offered on a one-year experimental basis.
The leader of the course is Benjy Meigs '10, who has been involved with making the snow sculpture since his freshman year and is the co-chair of the construction team this year.
"Numbers are always a concern," he said. "The more people the better, especially people who have been with the project from the beginning and know what's going on. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people from all classes to participate in this very important Dartmouth tradition. By teaching the skills required, we guarantee we will always have people who know how to do it for the coming years."
Those looking to sign up for snow sculpting now, however, are far too late. The class' two sections are limited to five people each, meaning a total of ten students will receive credit for their sculpting skills. All spots were filled within a few hours of registration opening on Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Meigs said he was bewildered by the small number of spots offered in the course.
"That was the PE department's decision," he said. "We'd like to have more people, but because it's the first year, they didn't want to get in over their heads, and so decided to keep a low number."
Meigs also dismissed any criticism that building the snow sculpture was not vigorous enough to be considered a PE course.
"Anyone who says that has never helped build a snow sculpture," he said. "You're shoveling buckets, you're climbing giant piles of ice and snow, you're constructing wood frames two stories high, you're chiseling hardened snow with all kinds of tools, you're swinging pickaxes to break up ice chunks."
Meigs said that the ten members of the class will be seen as key members of the snow sculpting team, but those who are not in the class are strongly encouraged to show up to meetings or just stop by.
"We're always looking for people to help," he said.
In addition to snow sculpting, there will be no shortage of PE classes during the Winter term that revolve around snow: There are six sections of downhill skiing, offering Never Ever, Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced levels of instruction. About 300 students participate in a skiing course each year, according to Roger Demment, the senior associate athletic director for PE and Recreation. There are also six sections of beginner snowboarding and three for the intermediate level. The majority of instructors for ski and snowboarding are students who go through a training period with the Snow Sports Director and follow the rules set by the Professional Ski Instructors' Association.
Those who prefer to stay indoors during the winter can look to the Fitness and Lifestyle Improvement Program. This winter will feature a new fitness program called AdrenalZen, which combines the intensity of boxing with the relaxation of yoga.
"This class is for the adrenaline junky who also wants to learn how to reach a calm state," says a description of the class at DartmouthSports.com, "The techniques taught in this class will aid you in dealing with life's stresses while getting you in fantastic shape."
In addition to AdrenalZen, FLIP courses include eight sections of the always-popular spinning class, as well as many types of yoga and a new course titled, "Sports Yoga for Athletes," designed to focus on yoga from an athletic point of view and improve flexibility for better performance in the student's specific sport.
Classes such as yoga and spinning filled quickly, a testament to their growing popularity on campus. However, with sections limited to ten students, some found themselves left out despite their best efforts.
After taking a yoga course with Marie Fourcaut in the fall, Brook Jackling '10 got up early Tuesday hoping to sign up for another one of Fourcaut's classes.
"I love yoga because it is a great way to relax and clear my head after classes and is also a great workout," she said.
By 9:00 a.m., though, all the spots for "Vigorous Vinyasa" yoga were filled.
Jackling is a former member of The Dartmouth Staff.