Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Maybe it was an early bout of senioritis, or maybe it was the recent cold weather spell (I’m from Florida; when the temperature is below 50°, it’s cold), but for the past two weeks or so I have wanted out of Swat. Don’t get me wrong: I love Swat with all my heart and soul (Go Garnet!), but facts are facts. Swarthmore is a small school next to an even smaller town. It’s adorable, but ultimately not super exciting. I wanted to do something fresh, different – new! So I found myself asking: what can I do at Swat when there’s nothing new to do at Swat?
Again, I’m not trying to bash Swat life. Between parties, movies, chores, jobs, and extracurriculars (and let’s not forget our ever-looming – and often ignored – homework), we have more than enough to entertain (or torture) ourselves with in our well earned free time. However, there are really only so many movies you can watch, extracurriculars you can do, or parties you can go to before you find get a bit bored. As a freshman, while everything still felt new and exciting, I didn’t notice this as much, but now I’m a second semester junior, and I’ve seen it before. It’s like pasta bar: cool the first few times, but after a while you start dreading Sunday dinners. Really I was looking for something to save me from the monotonous cycle that had become my week (and to a certain degree, my life).
Out and About Rating Chart: Swat Ski Trip
|Time||Full Day Event|
|Frequency||Low: 1-2 times Spring Semester|
|Dining||Fair: Essie’s Quality|
|Availability||Limited: Sign up quick!|
|New/Exciting Factor||High: unusual to do at Swat|
|Overall Experience||Awesome: Lots of fun, good times. Go up if you get the chance (and sign up quickly for that chance).|
|Advice||Pack a lunch, and save yourself $10.Also, be sure to be safe; I would definitely suggest that you rent a helmet ($12).Don’t over pack; you’ll need lip balm, some cash, a phone, and maybe a lunch, but that’s pretty much it. Also, if you want to use a locker, bring quarters and see if you can share with a friend.Bring 1 book or MP3 device to entertain yourself on the bus ride.If you are unsure about your skill level, print out a trail map before you go, and see how many slopes you would be comfortable going on and how to get to them. For beginners, you can ask to get ski lessons.|
Courtesy of the Swat Ski Club, I found my heavily subsidized answer: a skiing day trip. I haven’t skied for years, and for the $20 sign-up fee, I was more than ready to give it another shot. Having tried (and failed) to sign up freshman year, I knew that getting on to the list was going to be tough – maybe even tougher than trying to get into a preferred First Year Seminar – so when the sign up was released at 10am, I was there at 10:01 with my submission ready. When I found out I was going to be able to go (which given the ridiculously intense timing of my sign-up should not have been a surprise), I was ecstatic. My friends got to hear (and I’m sure hate) my multiple anticipatory ramblings of my upcoming trip: how I was going to have so much fun, how it was going to be a nice break, how Shaun White and I were going to race and high-five down trails, etc.
I tend to get a bit carried away (if you couldn’t tell already), but, with the exception of missing my buddy Shaun on the slopes, I was not disappointed. Not to say that it was all fun and games – going on the trip required about 2 hours of travel time via bus to Camelback followed by another half hour in lines getting rentals. Though we woke up to leave at 7:15, it was only at around 11 that we got to hit the slopes. Also, though the trip was heavily subsidized, it was a bit on the pricey side. Though the skis, poles, and boots were included in the $20 rental fee, if you wanted or needed a helmet, it cost an extra $12. That in and of itself is not too bad, but if you didn’t pack a lunch, you could find yourself paying anywhere from $5-15 extra. All together the originally $20 ski trip (for me anyways) just about doubled in cost. However, if you follow the tips (see Out and About Rating Chart), you can avoid a lot of these extra costs.
That said, I’m taking the Mastercard approach for this trip (Ski equipment: $32; Lunch: $10; experience: priceless). Altogether, this trip was a very enjoyable experience for me. There’s nothing quite like skiing (and falling) down the slopes, even with my limited ski experience. I highly encourage those who are able to go in the near future to do so, because let’s face it, we can’t all wait for spring break to take a short Swat vacation.
Photos by Martin Froger Silva ’16/The Daily Gazette