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8 Must-see, Must-do Activities at Dartmouth’s Winter Carnival 2019

Feb 05, 2019 05:59PM ● By Kevin
Dartmouth College has a lot to celebrate in 2019. On top of the college’s 250-year anniversary, it celebrates 109 years of hosting its winter carnival this Feb. 7 through 10. The theme this year is “Ice Age: 250 Years of Winter.” From humble beginnings as a weekend of winter sporting, Dartmouth Winter Carnival has evolved into a three-day festival of events across campus. 

According to its official website, Dartmouth Winter Carnival begins Thursday evening with the Opening Celebration and concludes with 99-cent Ski Day at Oak Hill and the Skiway on Sunday. Other events include annual highlights like the Polar Bear Swim & Human Dogsled Races and carving an ice sculpture.

We've put together a list of our favorite events to check out at the carnival in 2019.


Opening Celebration (Thursday, 6 – 8 p.m.)

It’s colder than the last ice age outside, so come celebrate the start of Winter Carnival in Common Ground. Don’t worry, you’ll have 250 years of winter to enjoy the great outdoors. Food and beverages will be served. Note: This event is for Dartmouth Community members.


Ice Sculpture Contest (Friday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.)

Have mammoth-sized carving skills? Or are your talents primitive, but you think ice sculptures are cool? Then create a sculpture! Any team, organization, department, or group of friends can build a sculpture for the Ice Sculpting Contest (limit of 25 teams). The contest is held on the southwest quadrant of the Green. Each team gets to have a professional sculptor make major cuts on the sculpture (to the team’s specifications) before carving the rest by hand!


Polar Bear Swim (Friday, 3 – 4:45 p.m.)

Can't get enough of the cold? Leave the comforts of your cozy cave and come to Occom Pond for a quick dip during this Winter Carnival tradition. Note: Participants ONLY on the ice. Participants must sign a waiver. Participants must be capable of swimming a short distance in VERY cold water. You must be 18 or older and have a Dartmouth ID to participate in the Polar Bear Swim.


Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble (Friday, 8 p.m.)

Dartmouth’s student creative music ensemble teams up with the extraordinary trio Thumbscrew. Three highly distinctive artists of great individual renown, Thumbscrew (Mary Halvorson [guitar], Michael Formanek [bass] and Tomas Fujiwara [drums]) joins the Coast in big band explorations of the trio’s original compositions as well as such jazz standards as Benny Golson’s Stablemates (popularized by the Dizzy Gillespie big band) and Brooks Bowman’s East of the Sun and West of the Moon (made famous by Frank Sinatra). Taylor Ho Bynum directs. The performance takes place in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center.


Baker Tower Tours (Saturday, 1 – 3 p.m.)

Come to Baker-Berry Passage and be sure to arrive at the start of the tours to obtain a ticket, as spots tend to fill up within minutes. Tickets are distributed in advance to groups of 10 at the entrance to the Baker stacks on Berry Main Street.  Groups are sent up to the tower in 10-minute intervals. You will know the time your group will be called in advance to minimize waiting times. Reaching the tower requires climbing several flights of stairs including a “ladder-like” stair for the last 20 feet. Climbing the stairs may be physically demanding and difficult for any person uncomfortable with heights.


Human Dogsled Races (Saturday, 1 – 2 p.m.)

Go back to a time where human power was the only way to get around. Unleash the spirit of friendly competition! Come to the Center of the Green to participate or simply to watch the action. Compete for the best times in the first half hour during open heats. Run as many times as you want to improve your time. Then, the top 8 teams compete to be crowned the winner! Students will play in teams of 4. Prizes for the top three teams!

Note: Entrants must be a Dartmouth student to participate, but anyone is welcome to watch. During the races, enjoy some Lou’s Hot Chocolate provided by the Green Key Society.


99 Cent Ski Day (Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Enjoy a day at the Skiway. Lift tickets only 99-cents! A Dartmouth ID is required for the discount. Buses will be leaving every half hour from Baker Library from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 3:30. Buses leave the Skiway every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to noon and then 1:30 to 4:30.


Antony and Cleopatra – National Theatre Live in HD (Sunday, 4 p.m.)

Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo dazzle as Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his riveting tragedy of politics, passion, and power. Check it out in the Loew Auditorium at the Hopkins Center.

Caesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony (Fiennes) now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of a war-torn empire, the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra (Okonedo) and Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war. The runtime is approximately three hours and 40 minutes.

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