Continuing with Part V of our guide, here’s yet more on the trip coming up at the end of this week for WCC freshmen. This will be the last and final installment of our five-part series.

Here are parts I-IV if you missed them:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Now to the fun part — Dangers

Unlike what we had to detail for pages and pages in our guide to COR, dangers during the Winter Trip are fewer.

For one, avalanches, or cascades of falling snow burying your campsite, could be a problem. Avoid them by trying to set them off before you get to it. Just find a really sketchy website offering atomic bombs, then through another really sketchy site, or better yet through connections, find some people willing to get and detonate the bomb over the Tetons for you, and have them do it. The explosion will easily eliminate all chances of avalanches before you get there. The only problem with this is that you might also eliminate all the snow, but it is a solution you can try if avalanches are to be a threat this year. Check weather reports in advance to see if this will be true for you.

You “could” use this to fight avalanche danger…maybe…

It is a bit expensive and rare, so most probably won’t be able to buy, let alone buy one, but Dr. Zimmer will also tell you during the trip about an Avalanche-Life-Preserver device that eliminates nearly all danger from avalanches. It’s not technically guaranteed to work, so you might want to take that into consideration, but it is a possible option you could look at as well.

The structural soundness of everything you build is again a hazard, should your snow/ice constructions fall upon you. One more way I haven’t mentioned for protecting against this would be to bring reinforcing supports like wood planks or iron rebar, but this is technically not allowed per the trip rules which require everything to be formed out of snow. Put all the more emphasis on tramping down the snow that you pile up as much as possible to prevent this and give your buildings more strength. Drowning in the snow is just as possible or more

Of course, there are dangers that come from getting colder than just uncomfortably cold during the trip. Frostbite, hypothermia, immersion foot, and chillblains are all things you’ve learned about during WFA or soon might in WFR, and you’re taught how to manage them should they occur. But just don’t let them happen to you. Again, plan ahead and prepare, checking all your gear preparations twice, and as Mr. Clement will soon tell the half of you who will take Horsemanship next semester with him: “You’re a rational creature. Act like one!”. If you’re really concerned you could look into getting a fully heated space-suit and wearing it the full time, but no one’s tried this before, and it might not be allowed on the trip, so it’s probably best to just be the best at what the guidebook tells you to do.

Winter Trip is much safer overall. You’re closer to civilization than on COR, only two miles at most from cars and a trailhead and a fifteen-minute drive past that to a modern (too-modern and cultural) town. The school, FBI and the CIA are investigating accounts of some misadventures befalling several groups last year of which an upcoming documentary Tectonic Blast II: Avalanche is looking into some of them, but WCC Security’s particular involvement in the investigation shows that anything that did happen was likely due to attacks of men and not due to natural dangers.

Nothing was too bad, merely a bit of stolen pepperoni, a few weird figures running through camps late at night, and some ghostly lights in the sky, much milder than the almost nightly UFO sightings experienced by at least one group on COR. It was noticeable and out of the ordinary for our group, but not too out of the ordinary from what you’ve had to grow used to recently for life at WCC in the midst of so many recent unexplained happenings, mysterious disappearances, and the like.

Be on your guard and bring weaponry if you can for defense, but things shouldn’t be any different than what you’ve had to grow accustomed to facing every day in Lander. WCC Security Chief Andrew Matthews will be on the trip this year and promises to do as much as possible, but awareness is the first and best defense. Don’t be too worried, but realize that there are still enemies out there. Just take Peter Gedick’s word and just “don’t worry about it.” Prepare, but listen to Ryan and know that “it’ll buff”.

The Really Fun Part – Fun

Now that all the serious stuff is (mostly) out of the way, it’s on to talking about the fun you can have on the trip. For like I said, if you take the time to prepare, the Winter Trip, even with all involved, is of such a slower pace than COR that they’re plenty of time for amusement. I mentioned Bunny-Bunny before, but that’s just the beginning of what you can do on the trip. 

  • Life Stories: Fulfill the goal of furthering your class unity in a sophistical manner by making up life stories for each other, a sentence at a time, going around in a circle. You don’t know just how interesting each other’s pasts are until you play this game.  On our trip and in our group alone we learned about the Canadian revolutionary background of one of our classmates, a Junior who was a fashion model for parkas at the North Pole, and was a Korean jet-skier on the side, and about a quite ordinary Chinese clam who became the world’s first Latin Rapper Things really open up from the tight-lipped details you learned from each other on the COR version of this: Snapshots.
  • Listen to music on the drive. The tastes of the COR staff, can be, to put it mildly, interesting for those of you who’ve grown up with a classical perspective on things (i.e. most of us). When one of the professional instructors from the school who led the trip overall drove us from the church we were staying at to the trailhead, we heard “The Distance” for the first time and it immediately became our theme song here at IIT.
  • Snowball fights: This might seem too obvious to mention for an outdoor trip, but with a stated goal of the trip being to increase class spirit, fighting is something you should definitely look into, especially the type involving snow. You have to strategize with your fellow classmates, on how to defeat your fellow classmates, quinzees make good fortifications, and good ways to make your opponents as to be colloquially “sitting ducks”. Further fighting obviously involves the spirited part of the soul, so if everyone’s fighting, they’re becoming more spirited in the process, and finding the other group campsites is a good exercise in outdoor and navigational skills. It’s also great practice for real fighting you might face, should any of WCC’s enemies attack you out in the wilderness or back in Lander (or inner-school rivalries flare-up) Just don’t use anything other than snow though on each other as you don’t want to get too spirited in the spirit of fun.
  • Talk Philosophy & Sing: Again, each of these seems obvious for a WCC group to think of. However, the unique mix of people and experiences being actively experienced on an outdoor trip like this one are cause for unique activity of the Muses. Looking into the origins of the phrase “break a leg” maybe too deeply was the origin of this song, for example: 

Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra

Break a leg, hit him in the head, kill ten men

Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra

Stab him in the heart, take an arm, and don’t forget 

Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra

Age’, Age’, Ambulate, O-cci-di-te!

Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra,

Battle, battle, battle, fight, fight, fight

Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra, Frac-ta Cu-ra

Crush, kill, destroy; Crush, kill, destroy

Maybe Olivia was right, maybe “We were being too philosophical” when we wrote this, but it was sure fun anyway.

  • Make use of the downtime: When you’re in various church buildings during the trip there’s plenty of time as well to talk from anyone in your class. Those parts of the trip are so great for fulfilling the school’s goals of class unity by having a unity of everyone in your class in the same building at once. There, unconstrained by class schedules, homework, and other commitments, you have plenty of time to stay up late playing cards, talking plans for the future, or discussing those things from last semester that you just don’t fully get yet.
  • Race on the Ski Day: While you probably, of course, won’t be able to beat Theo, and maybe not even the professor’s children, you can get glory and survive, unlike the Homeric heroes. Race each other and see what happens, but read the December PondScum for updates on particular safety for that day for the best experience.

COR was fun in its own way, but these are just the beginning of some of the things you can do on the Winter Trip to have a “better than metal” experience. One of the best mixes of disequilibrium and confident ease of any WCC outdoor trip our staff has been on, the Winter Trip is overall a “blast” (in more ways than one).

Be ready to be tested, pushed, stretched, and to get cold, but be positive and hopeful, because it can work. Unified by the trip, we ran the best dance in WCC’s history just three weeks later, all because of the cooperative big-picture, and imaginative gaze on the good of our class as a whole that came from our properly taking the trip, having the best mixture of seriousness and humor, learning and enjoyment. Just act like you’re in Lander with your class, taking regular classes, and the school’s goal of growing your class spirit, unity, and ability will flow out smoothly. It’ll be an adventure, it’ll be interesting. It may even require rational thought. Just remember that fun is said in many ways and you’ll find some way to enjoy it.

And don’t take this guide too seriously either, please, because neither did we!

Merry Christmas, and blessings from all the IIT team.

The IIT Staff wishing you a (insert a positive adjective relevant to the Winter Trip) Winter Trip.