College ski break: the art of balancing work and
Collegient weeks at Killington, Jan. 6-18
"I didn't select Dartmouth College solely because it's so near
great skiing but the skiing helped clinch the deal!" comments one
college student. "I ski almost every Tuesday and Thursday and most
Sit in any of the base lodges at Killington after New Year's and
it's almost impossible not to see a large array of college
students. Some attend nearby schools. Many don't. Some to ski hard.
Many don't. Some to train for upcoming races. Many don't. Some come
to simply enjoy an escape before classes resume. They ski. They
play. They party.
Listen to the conversations and it's surprising to hear the
large differences among the students. Invariably, though, by the
end of the week more then a few will idly speculate on what it
would be like to attend school near the mountains. Some dream of
skiing almost daily.
Who or whom dares to live that dream?
In point of fact, college students typically choose colleges
based on an array of variables. Academics are certainly important.
But it's also true that students consider colleges because of
sports programs, proximity to desirable cities, supportive areas of
interest such as fine arts, as well as geography. Face facts! Some
students also attend colleges in Florida or California, for
instance, because of the proximity to surfing. And skiers sometimes
consider schools based on their proximity to the slopes.
There! It's in print. Ski schools can include college.
Teasing aside, many skiers travel to Vermont shortly after New
Year's in order to order to enjoy a college ski break before
classes resume. The skiing can be great. And the break from
academics, with healthy outdoor activity, can often help recharge
"This is a great week," noted one student, last January, who
drove with her friend from North Carolina. "It was a long drive but
we'd never skied Killington before… It's massive! We might do this
again before we graduate. It's just a great break before we get
back into our classes."
Skiing can offer a great escape, and experts agree.
"Skiing and sports can offer a nice balance to academics,"
suggests Professor Robert Leve, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., a Clinical
Psychologist and Sport Psychologist in Avon, Connecticut. The
Director of the M.A. Program in Clinical Practices in Psychology at
The University of Hartford as well as a core faculty member in
their doctoral program, Professor Leve believes deeply that sports
can help create a truly healthy lifestyle. "Sports can add a great
balance in life. I, myself, balanced a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at
Harvard University with active involvement in sports."
Understand, then, skiing can be healthy and healthful. In fact,
Professor Leve is one of those rare individuals who has balanced a
successful career and academic life with multiple sports interests
ranging from coaching the United States Soaring Team to numerous
sailing adventures all over the globe. And, similarly, both his
daughters have crafted highly successful careers with world-wide
travel, international research, as well an adventurous
Sitting in the base lodge, last season, during the college ski
break after the New Year's, many students were chatting about
And some were talking about pending applications to graduate
One fellow was making an application to law school. His top
choice? Vermont Law School, nationally known for its contributions
to environmental law. Still, this was not the sole student
exploring advanced academic programs within the region. Another
student was making an application to a doctoral program in clinical
psychology? His top choice? Antioch University in Keene, NH.
"I grew up skiing weekends," he commented. "But, I'd like
to attend a program nearer to the mountains. I'm thinking it will
provide the opportunity to see if it's a place I might like to live
permanently. It's a good program and I'd live in my parents winter
place in Vermont."
In short, then, both undergraduates and graduate students make
choices based, at least in part, on their access to skiing here in
the mountains. Some travel weekends. Some ski on semester break.
Some attend nearby colleges and universities.
Honestly, given the nations' rising rates of obesity, and with
national concerns about our health, learning to create a healthy
balance of work and athletic play may be more important then we all
"Sports truly can truly enhance your life," emphasizes Leve.
How well balanced is your life? Have you turned off your cell to
truly enjoy your escape? Have you selected a healthy lunch? How do
you balance sports (i.e. skiing) with your daily life? Here at The
Mountain Times and at many other local businesses, we treasure our
adventures on and around the mountains. Several folks who live and
work here now, once attended schools nearby. Afterall, with
institutions as respected as Middlebury College and Dartmouth
College so close, and many many others, there is no shortage of
programs in higher education.
In college, or out, balancing work and play can still be
challenging, perhaps even more so when options for play are so
accessible! But the rewards exceed the costs everytime!
As you sit in the lodges the next few weeks do not be surprised
if you see and hear college students - and graduate students -
taking a break from the books. January 6-18 are the Colligent Weeks
So take a moment and turn off the cell; take a break from
texting. Savor your time on the mountain. And join the students for
a real "break!"
You'll be smiling from that first run to that last run.
Columnist Tony Crespi is a former ski school
supervisor and coach whose column is published throughout the
season. He is a frequent contributor to publications throughout