Winter Carnival preview: Preparing to premiere “Pirates of the Cowibbean”

Katy Perry could have been addressing this year’s winter weather and snowfall when she sang, “You’re hot, then you’re cold; you’re yes, then you’re no; you’re in, then you’re out; you’re up, then you’re down.”

This winter has certainly had weather all over the spectrum. And at this time, it seems unlikely that there will be very much, if any, of the typical Williamstown snow for Winter Carnival this year.

As a result of the lack of wintry weather, the nordic team will not be able to ski at its home venue, Prospect Mountain, but will have to travel to northern Vermont to ski. This comes as a disappointment to much of the community, as the College decided four years ago to host carnivals only every other year to ensure that skiers from other schools got a chance to race at least once at home, where their schoolmates could cheer them on. “Williams is the only team that shared its ski races,” said Scott Lewis, director of the Williams Outing Club (WOC). Because of this policy, however, skiers at the College only get to race at home every other year and now have to give up that chance because of this snowless weather. The dearth of snow also means that Winter Carnival staples, such as sledding and snow sculptures on Paresky lawn, will likely be canceled this year. Never fear though, fellow Ephs – despite these weather-related disappointments, WOC and All Campus Entertainment have teamed up to make this snowless Winter Carnival a blast.

Beginning on Thursday evening and continuing on through Saturday, the College’s 96th Winter Carnival will offer a break from schoolwork in order to allow students to enjoy the surroundings, winter sports and classmates’ company. This year’s theme is “Pirates of the Cowibbean.” Accordingly, there will be activities including “Pirate Battle Laser Tag,” “WOC the Plank: Polarrrg Beard Swim,” a “Cowibbean Carnival Dinner” featuring Caribbean food, “Make Your Own Booty” (hats, flags and more) and a campus-wide treasure hunt. There will also be a showing of the film Pirates of the Caribbean.

Because Winter Carnival began as an event centered around ski racing, it still bears traces of its origin despite its primary focus having shifted away from the slopes. At Jiminy Peak, there will be “Learn to Ski Day,” alpine’s carnival and “Weenie Jam,” an event involving free hot dogs from Jack’s in North Adams, free rides on the Mountain Roller Coaster, 50 free lift tickets and 25 free ski rentals to the first students to arrive.

“I really want to encourage students to come out to Jiminy to cheer on the ski team,” Lewis said. “These kids rarely get the chance to have people from the school supporting them, so it would be nice to have a crowd of Ephs there. Also, ‘Learn to Ski Day’ is an amazing deal. You pay $25 for lift tickets, lessons and equipment. It’s hard to beat.”

This year, the band Seal Team 6 (comprised of Kevin Lawkins ’13, Matt Staiger ’12, Su-Gi Min ’13, Matt Schuck ’12 and special guest drummer Sam Kapala ’09, a member of Darlingside) will also be playing in Goodrich to raise money for The Spruces, the local residental community that was badly damaged by Tropical Storm Irene at the beginning of the school year. While the concert is technically free, there is a suggested $1 to $2 donation. “We will be playing about 20 songs, mostly rock, and 90 percent of them are covers,” Schuck said. “We’re covering greats like The Strokes, Kings of Leon, The Beatles, Queen and many more. People should get excited because it’s going to be an awesome show!”

Other activities this year will include a figure skating show, free ice skating and ice skating lessons, an ice sculpture on Paresky steps, an amazing fireworks display, a huge campfire and s’mores, a carnival ceremony and several parties, including a study party for those concerned about finishing their work. “If you only do one thing during Winter Carnival, I’d recommend seeing the fireworks,” Lewis said. “They’re real Fourth-of-July fireworks, and it’s always a great show.”

So, even though our weather is closer to the “Cowibbean” than to typical Williamstown winter weather, Winter Carnival is shaping up to be a lot of fun, snow or no snow.