One winter the brothers of Heorot, a fraternity at Dartmouth, flooded the downstairs of their house, threw open the doors and windows, let ice form on the living-room floor and, using two facing fireplaces as goals, played a game of ice hockey.
As apocryphal as that story sounds, no one familiar with Dartmouth, which has supplied at least one Olympian to every Winter Games since their inception in 1924, would stake his Bergelene long Johns on its falsity. Today Dartmouth offers intramural (as well as varsity) women's ice hockey, clubs for biathlon and snowboarding, downhill skiing as a phys-ed class and an intercollegiate ski program perennially ranked in the Top 10. Its four-quarter calendar has allowed such winter-sport standouts as luger Cammy Myler and skier Chris Puckett to take classes in the spring, summer and fall so they might ply the international circuits in their sports once the snow flies.
Much of the school's sub-zero spirit is owed to the Dartmouth Outing Club. (No, this is not a group of students who plot ways to reveal the sexual orientation of fellow undergraduates. That would he The Dartmouth Review, a right-wing student newspaper, but that's another story.) The Outing Club was founded in 1910 to stage Winter Carnival, a boreal bacchanal of competitive ski racing, keg jumping and snow sculpting that's renewed every February. But stand on the snow-swept green of Hanover, N.H., on virtually any winter morning and you can see students clomping off to class in ski boots, carrying skis and poles, so they might later catch the afternoon shuttle bus to the Dartmouth Skiway, the college's very own two-lift, 14-trail ski area. The school also maintains a cross-country center and had a 40-meter ski jump until liability concerns led to its dismantling two years ago.
Dartmouth's winter-sports passion was evinced again in February, when the women's basketball team arrived home in the wee hours of the morning from a road trip to Perm and Princeton. Several players went to bed. The others headed off to nearby Occum Pond for a 3 a.m. skate.