Category Archives: Dartmouth Outing Club

Lodge Goodbye

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Can’t beat the NE sunsets

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You have probably heard me swoon over the lodge many times. I love everything about it. I love that every surface (the roof, the fireplace mantle, the railings, the chandelier) is treated like a giant jungle gym. I love the history that is so thick you can practically taste it as you explore. I love the sense of calm and excitement you can see transform every face that comes in through the front door. I love the fact that a single student chef makes food for each meal, making each visit a culinary adventure. I love the red dance floor, in my mind the best dance floor in the world. Most of all, I love the people that live, speak and breath the lodge.

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friends in great places

Unfortunately, there is the other side. The lodge is 75 years old. When it was built, it was the biggest ski lodge in North America. It was the birthplace of american alpine ski racing, and with all that history also come a lot of wear. The floor has been reinforced with extra beams because it bows when people dance. Flushing the toilets is a bit like putting up a prayer. Who knows if the plumbing gods will answer. Logs are rotting out, and each time we need to lift the entire building to replace a log, it becomes harder to find logs that are wide enough to match the originals.

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Needless to say, the lodge needs a 75 year update, and the college plans to do that starting this year, so we needed to make one last visit to the hallow ground. We decided to visit during one of the lodge’s many awesome parties. To no one’s surprise, a ton of other recent alums had also made the trip to visit the lodge, so you can imagine how the night went. Dancing, bonfires, swimming in the river and good food all ensued, with the best of people. Here is to lodge 2.0!

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Pump Track

Rob and I had business trips back on the east coast, so we decided to spend a week working remote, visiting his parents and catching up on all things Hanover, New Hampshire. I heard that the mountain bike club built a pump track last fall, so I was pretty excited to get to see it and to help make it better. First, I went out with the Colliers to ride the flow track that I built at school and improve one of the hip jumps on the track. It was great to get out biking with the Colliers again and to extend the bike season a bit. There is nothing quite like New England biking – weaving your ways through the hardwoods, one minute pumping through loam, the next flossing your way through technical New Hampshire granite.

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Later in the week, I got a chance to get my hands dirty at the adjacent pump track with the help of about eight mountain bike club members. We seriously improved the track’s riding flow. Trail building is a great way to teach both biking skills and about the local trail networks. As we built and perfected rollers and berms, we tested each section until it rode well, and if it didn’t, we diagnosed what could improve the section. That critical thinking really improves beginner biker’s riding. As for learning about local trail networks, when the bike club members are back at school and the trails dry out in the spring, they will have true ownership in that section of trail. They designed, tested, built, and rode it. Come spring, some of them will be back, shovel in hand to improve the drainage, make sure the track is running smooth, and bringing friends to enjoy the great riding. That puts a huge smile on my face.

Dartmouth Trips

I returned to Dartmouth this September for three weeks while working  in Jackson. As a recent ’15 graduate I was finished with school, but my chapter wasn’t quite complete. I returned to wrap up my involvement with the Dartmouth Outing Club and to facilitate the mountain biking orientation trips for “first years” as the Croo Chief.

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Eating dinner in our kitchen – Note: The food is in the bucket
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Preparing for Hair dying
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Hair dyed, ready for a grease themed raid

I had many motives for doing so. I wanted the mountain bike club to have strong ties to first year trips to ensure that the club would continue long after I was a sketchy alum. I wanted the  Croo members to be confident — in their biking ability, their mechanic ability, but most importantly in their ability to lead.

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Our bike shed
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All the bike work
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Tools at the ready!
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Our Pantry / Indoor Space
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Conversation with lady out to walk her dog: What – you don’t usually see clothes hanging out to dry at Oak Hill?
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Sleeping in the ultimate shed
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Midday swagger is important
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Because Mornings are rough

Beyond my motives to keep the mountain bike club thriving and getting more kids involved in an incredible lifetime sport, I had goals for the freshman. Along with our top priority of making sure no one got hurt, I wanted the students to feel confident entering their first term of Dartmouth. If they learned a little bit of mountain biking skills and felt accomplished, I hoped that that would translate into their first year at Dartmouth. I hoped that by having the Croo show genuine interest in what they had to say, that they would feel as though their opinion mattered, and that they could in fact make a difference on campus.

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This section of first years noted that the tutus must give you unlimited energy
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Just frolfing around

We were lucky enough to have the incredible backdrop of Oak Hill for trips. It is a beautiful place with bike and ski trails all surrounding a refreshing pond. We set up a great living space and shop and had a fire ring for smores with first year groups at night. Our daily schedule left us with a bit of free time and we were able to explore all the trails, cook great food together, and even take pond baths!

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Look at that platform!
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Riding off the bridges at the Skillz course

On our off day, my parents came up to visit and we biked The Kingdom Trails in Burke Vt. It was a blast, but the best part was seeing both the Croo and my parents eyes light up with excitement to go biking. That right there validated my three years as President of the Dartmouth Mountain Bike Club. Getting people outside and enjoying outdoor activities is my most satisfying experience.

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Getting ready to ride Kingdom with the best Croo ever!
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We are always serious at Oak Hill
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Look Ma, one wheel

If I get a few of the first years excited about getting out to Oak Hill, and if I get my Croo excited about both biking and teaching others how to bike, then my chapter at Dartmouth will be complete. This chapter of my undergraduate life has come to a close. Just like the first years, a new chapter is upon me in Jackson. I’m excited to get writing.

 

Showing off

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Looking back at my Dartmouth experience I set my path starting freshman year.  I had many fortunate experiences through school; sometimes it felt as comfortable as sleeping on a bed of nails, but lucky.

Freshman year, I stumbled into an awesome group of friends. We ate dinner together almost every night. Believe me, there is nothing more comforting than having a semblance of a family routine in the midst of the orchestrated chaos that was freshman year. That stacked the deck for me. No matter what cards I pulled from there, with good friends I had the confidence to launch new endeavors.

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Sophomore year I set some important events in motion. I moved off campus and became a property manager. I managed three houses on the same property for every calamity including: setting more mousetraps than I could count, bleaching out more mold than I care to think about, thawing pipes, hosting dinners and parties, and yes, unclogging toilets. I learned an equal amount from managing the property as I did from  my classes.

This was the year I learned what it meant to live in a community  that was as powerful as family with only the bonds of friendship and common interest.  I started playing pond hockey and mountain biking with a determination that encompassed more than just wanting to be in shape. I was replacing the sense of purpose I lost  from ending competitive ski racing.

I grew up training year round for one season – winter. I knew what to do in the off seasons – train. Without competitive skiing I didn’t know what to do with myself. Working out didn’t have the same fulfillment. Ending ski racing left a confusing void, and I wanted to fill it. I played pond hockey and I biked. The amazing trails around Hanover pleasantly surprised me. I decided more students ought to have the opportunity to enjoy the trails so I got involved with the mountain bike club. From there I started designing trails. In a typical Lorin move, I unilaterally decided to build a bike training area complete with a handling park and flow trail.

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I had a ton of help with the design and building, but if I didn’t put the building materials or plan the build days, they didn’t happen. Over the next three years, up to the last few days of senior year, I spent a few days every term digging dirt, trying to make part of my vision a reality.

With my Grandma, family and friends up for graduation, I was able to show off some of these cool trails and training areas.

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Family Visit

My last finals are over, and the family is here. I get to show everyone what I have been doing at school for the past 4 years. Of course I showed off the sauna.

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The chickens

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The pebble

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We had a family dinner

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Played some badminton

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Checked out the woodshop.

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Shot some archery

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Went to the Lodge

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And canoed the Connecticut River.

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It is an amazing thing to get to show the place I have come to know so well and feels so much like home, but even more incredible that Len, Blossom, Mema, Randy, Jacob, Wendy, Donny, Mom and Dad were all able to make it up to school for the ensuing camp Paley and graduation.