It’s no secret that Maine is one of the snowiest states in the country, averaging a frosty 50 to 70 inches annually in the midcoast region. In the early months of the year, Maine is typically blanketed with the crisp white stuff, sometimes several feet by the time spring students arrive. Although winter tends to be a quiet time for most places in Maine, there’s no time for hibernation on our campus. Winter is one of the coolest times of the year for Maine Coast Semester students, and there’s a trillion tiny reasons why:
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Cruise Our 400-acre Campus Nordic-style
Chewonki has several miles of nature trails throughout its 400-acre property, and many of these trails get groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter months. Semester students and staff alike are invited to grab a pair of cross-country skis from Pack-out and practice their Nordic techniques!
Embrace your inner Canadian during a rousing game of ringette
Invented in Canada in 1963, ringette is a mixed-gender sport played on ice. Teams compete to move a rubber ring into the opposing team’s goal using straight sticks, teamwork, and dazzling athletic feats. Chewonki ringette involves students and faculty sliding wildly around our frozen Frog Pond. It’s a bit like hockey in snow boots.
Wander Through Maine’s Winter Wilderness Wonderland
Spring semester wilderness trips take students further north, often to the Maine Huts and Trails system in the Western Mountains region or to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Wilderness trips are a great opportunity for students to test their outdoor leadership skills and experience Maine’s scenic landscape at one of the most beautiful (and least crowded!) times of the year.
Snuggle Up in a Snow Shelter
Whether on a wilderness trip or right on campus, there’s nothing more fun to do in the snow than build a cozy shelter with friends. Maine Coast Semester students learn how to set up shelters and build quinzees – large, loose piles of snow that are shaped and then hollowed out for protection against the elements.
Stay Cool at a Maine Ski Mountain
Not all Maine Coast Semester excursions involve wilderness. This beautiful state boasts numerous well-groomed ski mountains. When conditions are just right, students sometimes go on weekend ski adventures to various slopes, including the New Hermon Mountain Resort.. It’s not far away, so they can spend the day shredding powdery slopes and be back in time for hot supper in the Wallace Center.
WarmUp Next to the Sap Boiler During Maple Sugaring Season
Maple sap starts flowing when the late winter days get longer and temperatures fall below freezing at night and thaw during the day. Chewonki taps dozens of trees around Chewonki Neck during maple sugaring season, and staff and students take turns collecting sap buckets and boiling the sticky stuff down into sweet maple syrup to be used in the kitchen throughout the year.
Build Up a Sweat While Splitting Wood
To keep warm during the winter, we utilize one of our most abundant resources – wood! Maine Coast Semester students help manage the woodlot, spending many a work program perfecting their hatchet swing and stacking cords (that’s an 8′ x 4′ x 4′ pile). It’s a great cold-weather activity that helps us stay warm inside, too!
Get 18 Hands of Experience in Sustainable Forestry
Horse logging is a great way to sustainably harvest trees and promote a healthier woodlot; horses are lighter and more nimble than heavy machinery. We need A LOT of wood to keep us warm during the winter months, and luckily we’ve got the perfect gal for the job – our 18-hand-high Belgian draft horse, Sal. During the winter months, Maine Coast Semester students learn how to drive Sal, who drags (or “skids”) heavy logs out of our woodlot for further processing.
Take the Plunge: the Most Exhilarating Polar Bear Dips of the Year! Brrr!!
Early morning polar bear plunges are a Maine Coast Semester tradition. Nothing will get your blood pumping faster than an icy dip at the Chewonki waterfront on a snowy day. Makes you feel like a million dollars.
Applications for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters are due February 15th. Get a head start on yours and you could be doing the snow dance on Chewonki Neck next winter (the way Semester 58 students did in the fall):