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Obstacles

Even though Middlebury’s Winter Carnival has been successful throughout its history, this annual event has been faced with numerous challenges over the years, such as the effects of World War II, lack of snow, limited student interest in the events, a restricted budget, and the fact that Winter Carnival events generate little revenue.

 

Winter Carnival Poster- 1936

 

Because of World War II, there was a considerable decrease in enrollment on the men’s campus in 1943.  It was rumored that Winter Carnival would be cancelled as a result, but instead, it was decided that expenses would be cut back for numerous events.  For example, fraternity dances were held instead of the previous formal gym dance, and rather than riding up to the Breadloaf Mountains in Winter Carnival sponsored trucks, spectators walked to near-by Chipman Hill to watch ski events. Rene Ruthenberg, co-chairman of the 1943 Winter Carnival, responded to the doubts surrounding that year’s events by saying, “This year more than ever, we want to show the people of Middlebury that they can have a good time without spending much money.”  It was also important for the 1943 Winter Carnival to be successful because the college needed a break from the acceleration of the war.

 

Winter Carnival Poster- 1952

 

Another obstacle that Middlebury’s Winter Carnival has faced throughout the years is a lack of snow.  Because several events rely on the presence of snow, it is essential for the different sporting facilities to have acceptable weather conditions, but this was sometimes not the case.  In fact, because there was a very limited amount of snow between 1980 and 1984, only one Winter Carnival was held with a full schedule of skiing events during this period.

 

Winter Carnival Poster- 1953

 

Also, student interest in the Winter Carnival plays a large role in determining the level of success the events produce.  With the growing interest in winter sports that resulted from the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, there was an increasing popularity and enthusiasm for skiing at Middlebury at that time, which was paralleled across the country as well.  But this interest in winter sports, especially skiing, has varied throughout the years and contributes to how well the Winter Carnival performs.

 

Winter Carnival Poster- 1987

 

One of the most difficult challenges that the Winter Carnival organizers face each year is the limited budget available to carry out the events.  Because the Winter Carnival is completely funded by the student organizations and committees of the college, the Mountain Club was and the Carnival Committee is currently struggling with how to put on a spectacular program of events while having severely limited funds to finance them.  It also does not help that the various events held during Winter Carnival do not produce much revenue.  Because profits are not the goal of Winter Carnival, organizers have often struggled to expand the budget and continue to put on extensive events.  But because of the continued support by the college students, community, alumni, and others, Winter Carnival has continued to be one of the most successful and popular traditions of Middlebury, despite the several challenges it has faced throughout its history.

 

*To learn more about the impact Winter Carnival has had on the Middlebury student body and surrounding community, please click here.

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