While the peppered sky swirled with ashen clouds, nine Sierra Nevada College students arrived on Friday, Feb. 9 at Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, preparing for the three day Leadership 201 backpacking trip on snowshoes to Ludlow Hut.
As fragile snowflakes dusted her jacket, Sophomore Chelsea Hollingsworth strapped on her bulky snowshoes and hoisted the heavy pack onto her back at General Creek Campground.
“I knew I was in for an adventure, but I had no clue what an adventure it would be!” said Hollingsworth. “Rain, snow, slush, crossing rivers, frozen lakes. It ended up being the experience of a lifetime!”
Supervised by Rosie Hackett, Outdoor Adventure Leadership program director and Chuck Roesch, a former Leadership 201 student who excelled on the trip in spring 2013, the Leadership class practiced map reading, compass and navigating skills to traverse the mountains.
Because of the recent snowfall and the sharp angle of slopes around them, the class was constantly wary of any avalanche threats. It took the Leadership group about six hours to navigate seven miles through the dense woods before reaching Ludlow Hut, a wooden A-Frame built in the 1950’s that offers refuge against the elements with two wood-burning stoves inside.
On Sunday, Feb. 11, the group departed from Ludlow Hut at 8:30 a.m., in anticipation of the imminent rain storm that inched closer with each minute. The journey back to General Creek Campground proved to be the most challenging part of their weekend.
“It was the most fun I never want to have again,” said Junior Christian Cattell.
The torrential downpour was unforgiving and took its toll on the students throughout the day.
“I definitely reached a point where I didn’t even notice being soaked to the bone and absolutely cold,” said Cattell. “It was something about the fact that I couldn’t properly manipulate my fingers that made me laugh at everything.”
The harsh weather put the students on edge and made navigating difficult.
“They were monsoon rains in winter,” said Freshman Aidan Drumstas. “Sure it was challenging, but that is what ODAL is about. Being uncomfortable is necessary in order to be part of a team and learn- it’s just pushing past the pain.”
Arriving back at the campground around 4:30 p.m., everyone in the Leadership class was soaking wet, exhausted and proud.
“If it hadn’t been so cold and wet and challenging, we wouldn’t have learned so much about ourselves,” Hollingsworth said. “It prepared us to get through future situations where things don’t go as planned.”
Senior Heath Pierson, an Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Art major at Sierra Nevada College, presented his exhibit “67 lbs.” in the Tahoe Gallery on Nov. 14.
Daryl Teittinen strides across the bustling office to the copy machine, flipping through papers he has prepared for his next class. The incandescent fluorescent lighting paired with the cool air conditioned breeze filtering through the hallway seems like an odd environment for Teittinen, who is much more comfortable working outdoors. With a passion for adventure and outdoor education, Teittinen has worn through more than one pair of hiking boots. “I’ve worked on backpacking trips, guided rock climbing, and worked as a ski patroller and whitewater rafting guide,” Teittinen said.
We’ve got a lot to be excited about at Diamond Peak. New events in the works, a new website coming online in the very near future and of course, a new season. We wanted to take this opportunity to call out some things that we’re pretty sure will be of interest to you college students. For starters, we raised the age restriction on our Youth Pass from 17 to 23 years old (most resorts are capped at 18, some at 22). Why the change in age structure?
“Young adults are struggling to find full time jobs in this economy, going to college later, or paying for their own education,” said Brad Wilson, Diamond Peak’s General Manager.
Through internships and service learning, Sierra Nevada College students are involved in a local nonprofit organization called Sustainable Tahoe, whose goal is to shift Tahoe’s outdated tourism model to one that connects visitors with Lake Tahoe and inspires a passion to interact with the lake in a sustainable way.
At Sierra Nevada College, success is not only measured in grades and degrees, but also in the grandeur of one’s goggle tan.