Students, Elise Hanley and Sierra Steinhagen Seldding on the hill near Robie-Andrews Hall. Photo Courtesy // Katia Bazilchuk

A text alert goes out to all USM students Monday night: “USM Portland, Gorham, Lewiston campuses are closing today Feb 1, 2021 at 5pm and will remain closed tomorrow Feb, 2, 2021 due to inclement weather forecasted”. With a message only 158 characters long, the gears of all college students start spinning in their heads with one question: What is the best way to spend a snow day in college? The answer, sledding. 

The Free Press caught up with some students on the backside of Robie-Andrews Hall on the Gorham Campus of USM to discuss their tips and tricks to make sledding a perfect snow day activity. 

It was clear that the first step for sledding is to find a great spot. “Ideally you would want to find a place with a big hill, and Robie-Andrews Hall happens to be the biggest hill on the Gorham Campus”, said Sierra Steinhagen a senior majoring in behavioral health science who lives on campus in Philippi Hall as an Resident Assistant (RA). 

After selecting the location, it is time to start planning what you will need to have the best experience. “Layers, lots of layers. Being in college you may not have packed the best clothes for the snow, but that is okay. Having layers will hopefully keep you dry and keep you warm so you don’t get cold too quickly,” said Katia Bazilchuk, a senior majoring in political science who is the Lead Resident Assitant (LRA) of Robie-Andrews Hall. 

Now that you have your clothes picked out you’ll also need to have a sled to go down the hill in. “I went to the local Hannafords grocery store and bought a saucer type of sled for only $9 last night,” said Elise Hanley, a junior majoring in biochemistry who is the LRA of Upton-Hastings Hall on campus.

But what if you don’t have a sled or time to go buy one? “If you don’t own your own sled then you could make your own sled out of cardboard, or a trash can lid, or anything that slides really. I don’t own a sled so I found friends who had sleds and asked them to go sledding with me so that way I could barrow their sled,” said Bazilchuk. 

Speaking of friends, that is one of the best parts of sledding. “The whole reason I decided to go sledding on my snow day was that it allowed me to interact with friends outdoors in an environment that I personally love,” said Jonathan Pereira, a senior majoring in biochemistry who lives on campus as an RA in Robie-Andrews Hall. 

Once you have your clothes, sled, and friends at the location that you have chosen it is time to start sledding. “There are many ways to go down on the sleds, but I personally enjoy just sitting down on my butt on the sled and going down on the long, more narrow sleds,” said Steinhagen. 

The group of students there had similar remarks regarding sledding, but Pereria seemed to sum it up the best by saying “you just have to go for it. You’ll probably be scared for the first time down the hill, but after the first one, I didn’t want to stop. Just go full send on the first one and it’ll be fun”. Steinhagen added,“sledding is not the most graceful thing and that is okay, you’re going to fall, you’re going to feel silly but embrace it and it is so much fun.”

After about an hour and a half in the snow, the group of students decided it was time to go bring the sleds inside and dry off. 

When the dust (or snow in this case) had settled and everyone had left, the answer was now very clear as to why sledding on a snow day in college is the best thing you can do. Steinhagen said, “This year, in particular, has been so stressful, and college can be such a serious environment. The simple act of riding a sled down a snow-covered hill and letting your ‘inner-kid’ play is the perfect antidote for a snow day in college.”


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