It has arrived. That extra chill in the air. That moment when you realize you have to pull your real winter coat out of the closet. That morning when you check the temperature before leaving for class and realize it starts with a “3,” when you were anticipating a “4,” hoping for a “5” and fantasizing about the possibility of a “6.” Winter at Middlebury!
Despite the horror stories I was told before entering my freshman year about kids having to snowshoe to class with ski goggles on, I have to say that after experiencing a few Vermont winters for myself, I remain committed to the belief that the months between November and March are some of the finest of the year.
Rule number one Midd Kids learn to follow? LAYER. LAYER. LAYER. Sometimes, even experienced seniors need to be reminded of this crucial skill; shivering in a single sweatshirt on the sidelines of the field hockey game this weekend, I quickly remembered the importance of my beloved layers.
Once students have mastered this technique, smartly bundling themselves in long sleeved shirts, fleeces, coats and scarves, the sky is the limit. As I learned my first J-Term, Middlebury students do not run from the cold, they embrace it. They catch the shuttle bus to Middlebury’s own ski mountain, the Snow Bowl, on a daily basis; they build snowmen on the quad behind the freshmen dorm Battell (affectionately known as Battell Beach); they slip and slide down hills on anything they can find that may pass as a sled.
The snow may not be here quite yet (though my economics professor did point out the flurries whirling around outside during class today), but even now, students are embracing the fall in all its chilliness. Walking to the dining hall the other day, I noticed a group of Midd Kids shouting with joy as they launched themselves into an impressively large pile of leaves. Even as we sadly set aside t shirts and flip-flops, my friends and I are secretly excited to welcome a new fall wardrobe, as it makes daily raids of each other’s closets that much more exciting (living with six girls multiplies your clothing options substantially). Chilly temperatures also make trips to the Tea House in town that much more frequent.
In the end, Middlebury students enthusiastically greet the onset of winter in the same way they embrace most other changes – with open arms (and a cup of hot chocolate).