Frostbitten fun at the Carnival

This weekend’s annual Williams Winter Carnival, one of only a few student-run carnivals in the country, is the biggest celebration at Williams this side of Homecoming.

“We don’t even get school off for national holidays, and then, we get a day of school off for Winter Carnival,” said carnival chair Liz Dubinsky ’02, who has been involved in carnival planning since she was a first-year. Assisted by Nate Winstanley ’04 and with the support of the Williams Outing Club (WOC), Dubinsky has been working since the fall to arrange a panoply of events and activities in the name of good times and an appreciation of winter.

“This carnival has long been a tradition of the College,” said Scott Lewis, director of the Outing Club, “and it continues to reflect the attitudes set down by Professor Albert Hopkins in the 1800s, who wanted to cultivate a love for the beautiful and to secure healthful and pleasurable outdoor exercise.”

“This year, I think it’s going to be really great. We have a lot more stuff planned than we had in years past,” Dubinsky said. Inspired by this month’s Olympic venue, the Winter Carnival theme is “Ski Mootah!”

A weekend of snow games, skiing and social events of all kinds kicks off this Friday night at 7:30 pm at Goodrich Hall. The ceremony is packed with illustrious speakers and performers.

“Morty Schapiro speaks, all the ski teams perform skits, a capella groups perform; we’re having Sankofa, NBC, Williams College Dance Corps and Ethan Rutherford ’02 perform,” Dubinsky said. “We always invite other ski teams from different schools to do skits, and apparently this year they’re going to do some skits too, and they’re really funny.”

Following two hours of entertainment, the crowds will file down to Weston Field for fireworks. For those students with stamina, WOC is sponsoring a party at Dodd with live music.

While the social functions and performances may be exciting, the centerpiece of Winter Carnival is the ski competition, which takes place Friday and Saturday.

“It’s the top six skiers in each team [from] pretty much all over the northeast,” explained Winstanley, a ski team member. “It’s actually pretty intense, high level skiing. A lot of the people you see there are looking to [compete in the] Olympics.”  With free transportation provided by WOC, this is the only opportunity to see Williams’ Div. I team at Jiminy Peak or Prospect Mountain.Â

“This is our one home event, so it’s kind of a big deal for us,” said Winstanley.

Freed from Friday classes, students will have many opportunities to show off their winter talents. “We have the snow sculpture competition, snow volleyball, snow football [and] a game show on Chapin Steps in the afternoon,” Dubinsky said. With Williams Grassroots performances in the lounge, a Nintendo tournament in the mailroom and hot cocoa and cookies on the house at the Snack Bar, Baxter will be brimming with carnival thrill.Â

Additionally, a broomball tournament will be raging in Lansing Rink during the day, and for more sedentary types, the Log will be showing the Olympics on the big screen starting at 4 p.m on Friday.  To those who worry that choosing which event to attend will be their greatest ordeal, Dubinsky advises, “You could go to the ski races in the morning, come back to campus on the shuttle or in your car, participate in the events on Baxter Lawn in the afternoon, and go to the opening ceremonies at night.”Â

Of on-campus events, Lewis said, “Many of the afternoon activities are on-going, and are designed to be flexible enough for people to come and go.” The ski competition continues Saturday, with hourly shuttles to Jiminy Peak from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and concludes after the awards ceremony at 3:15 p.m. in the Hospitality Tent at Jiminy Peak. Between Dubinsky and Winstanley, the worst fear for the Carnival is that sloth will invade the campus and drain the weekend of all its great potential.

“Don’t sit in your room; get out there. You don’t have school!” said Dubinsky.