Over winter break, Stephen Ligtenberg ’15, Lizzie Kenny ’16, Andrew Pryhuber ’15 and Daniel Zeller ’15 traveled to Quebec’s Chic-Choc Mountains on a cross-country ski trip with funding from the Beyond the Pines grant though the Bowdoin Outing Club. 

In order to apply for grant funding, students create an itinerary and trip proposal and are then interviewed by a committee of students and alumni, many of whom were previous grant recipients.

“Beyond the Pines allows students to go on trips they probably wouldn’t be able to go on otherwise,” Kenny said. “It allows you to take what you learned, push it, and do a trip to test your abilities.”

She and her trip companions spent ten days skiing through the Chic-Choc Mountains. To add an extra challenge, they towed all their gear with them in sleds.

“I wanted to do an extended backcountry trip where we couldn’t resupply, had to carry everything with us, and had no support,” Ligtenberg said.

In many cases, they were breaking trail, which was made more difficult by their sleds, heavy with gear.

“I don’t think we realized how ungroomed some of the trails would be and how difficult it would be towing our gear,” Kenny said.

On a warmer day, they were supposed to cross a lake but noticed water on top of the ice. Though they had to turn around and modify their plan, they ultimately came up with a different route to bypass that part and catch up again.

The group stayed in a series of huts which lined the route that Pryhuber had planned, but they had to camp outside on a few occasions. All of the trip members had completed the Advanced Winter Leadership Seminar (AWLS) offered by the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC), so they were familiar with what this entailed.

“When we camped we dug holes in the snow about the size of a grave and then put the sleeping bag in there,” Ligtenberg said. “When you’re winter camping, you dig down for your shelter. You want the place you sleep to be roughly body shaped, big enough so you’re not touching snow, but small enough that it still provides wind protection.”

“It was definitely cold, but it was nice that we didn’t have to do it the whole time. You have to keep track of staying dry and not rolling against the wall and getting snow on your sleeping bag,” Kenny said.

While doing an extended backcountry trip presented its challenges, it was ultimately a positive experience.

“It was really rewarding to see everyone else in the park had a shuttle service bringing their stuff from hut to hut while we were dragging all our stuff with us,” Kenny said.

The Beyond the Pines grant stipulates that students have to bring what they learned on their trip back to Bowdoin in some capacity. Since returning, the group has helped design the curriculum for this year’s session of AWLS. Over spring break, the BOC will also be running a very similar trip to the one the group created so that other BOC members can enjoy the experience. 

Kenny, the only junior on the trip, plans on leading more winter trips both this semester and next year so that people can continue to get outside and enjoy the snow.