Smiles in the face of frostbite

By Caitlin Holmquist

Environmental Editor

At a time of year when most people are hunkered down in their rooms wrapped in blankets and you hear fellow students cursing the cold as they walk to class, the members of St. Michael’s Nordic Ski Team head out on the trails, some with smiles on their faces and others looks of intense focus, every afternoon seemingly immune to the effects of Mother Nature.

Photos courtesy of www.

These past two weekends New England has experienced record low temperatures, as the high over the course of the past four races was 10 degrees. Yet, while athletic trainer Renee Breault sent out emails to coaches reminding them about the school policy for practicing in the cold, since activities must be limited when the temperature drops below 15 degrees, the Nordic Team stripped from their puffy jackets and warm-up pants down to a simple spandex race suit. Insanity? Perhaps, but on Saturday in Lake Placid more than 200 college skiers could be seen braving the conditions with high spirits despite knowing the reality of our sport—that frostbite and hypothermia are very real and common outcomes.

So why do we walk out of our warm cozy houses and clip into our skis everyday no matter the weather? The motivation varies: from the overwhelming sense of accomplishment that can be found in pushing the limits of your mental and physical toughness, to simply wanting to breathe in air so fresh and crisp it clears all fog from your brain while being surrounded by trees that glitter under freshly fallen snow and the only sound permeating your mind is the snow squeaking beneath your skis as you glide along.

*Caitlin Holmquist ‘19 is a member of the Nordic Ski Team