Carnival to CarniVAIL
The Circle Is Unbroken
On weekend of March 2-5, 2006, Vail saw skiers, dressed in green, sliding around Vail Mountain at an event called Dartmouth
Winter CarniVAIL. These were alumni from all graduating Classes and friends of Dartmouth College..."Big Green"
... and it's prestigious business school, the Amos Tuck School.
Dartmouth College, in Hanover, NH, is the home of the first major Winter Carnival, immortalized in a 1939 movie by that
name that featured Ann Sheridan, Richard Carlson, Helen Parish, and James Corner. In a footnote, F. Scott Fitzgerald
was hired to write the script, but he was fired after he found the refreshments of the Dartmouth campus and the parties to
be more motivating.
Winter Carnival was created as a reason to invite young ladies to the Dartmouth campus and to take advantage of the huge
amounts of snow and ice in Northern New England some 100 years ago. For men at a small single-sex college in the middle
of the woods of snowy New Hampshire, the presence of any girls was a cause for joy. But the arrival of thousands of pretty
young high-school and college girls over one weekend, pouring in by the busload and the trainload, was cause for a party --
A BIG PARTY.
Understandably, the Dartmouth Winter Carnival, which began in 1910, used to be a very big deal. Big enough, indeed, to
attract coverage from Life Magazine, The New York Times, the Boston Globe, and even Playboy. And more importantly, as far
as the men of Dartmouth were concerned, Carnival was big enough to attract women from colleges all over the Northeast, including
Wellesley, Vassar, Skidmore, Mt. Holyoke and Smith.
Today, the lack of snow in New England, and the availability of young ladies on the now coed campus, has led to a less
viable Winter Carnival. And that's where Vail comes in.... The local Dartmouth Club has created a small, but rapidly
growing, weekend of activity to recapture for Dartmouth alumni some of the more interesting aspects of a Winter Carnival.....
great skiing and opportunities to party!
Why in Vail? Dartmouth alumni were active in the establishment of skiing in the USA over 100 years ago. Charles
Procter, Dartmouth Class of 1900, was known to many as the father of American skiing as he helped start Collegiate racing
in the 20ties and 30ties, and led the effort to put together the Lake Placid Olympics in 1932. Dick Durrance '39 was
the first great American racer in the 30ties and 40ties. He managed Aspen Mountain in the 50ties. In this just completed
Olympics, Dartmouth contributed 14 Olympians, and many staff, to the Olympics program which is more than any other US College.
We honor the 10th Mountain Division for its many contributions to the founding of Vail and the development of Vail over
the years. Few recognize that it was the alumni and staff of the northern New England skiing colleges, particularly
Dartmouth, who formed the early core of the 10th Mountain Division. Just read any of the three books published in the
past 4 years on the 10th Mountain Division, and you will find repeated references to the contributions of Dartmouth alumni
and staff. Peter Seibert sought the advice of Dick Durrance on whether to start the Vail ski area. Bob Parker
the first head of Vail Mountain had many Dartmouth friends. Sarge's Shelter on the mountain at Midvail is named after Sarge
Bill Brown who spent 10 years at Dartmouth as head of the Army ROTC program there before he came to run Vail Mountain operations
in the late 60ties.
As skiing in the eastern US has regressed over the years, and western skiing has grown in importance, it is understandable
that Dartmouth alumni who love to ski would move west. And what better place to select as their new ski home than the
best ski area in North America, Vail. As a result, Dartmouth alumni are everywhere in the Vail area. They don't
make themselves known for their Dartmouth connection, but they do get very involved in the community. For example, Alan
Danson '60 is Chairman and Joe McHugh '60 is Treasurer of the Gore Range Science School, and Tom Healy '56 is the head of
the local Habitat for the Humanities. Diane Boyer '78, a former Dartmouth ski racer, owns the SKEA ski clothing company
based in Vail. When you look around at the skiing community in the Vail area, you will no doubt be surprised to learn how
many of your contacts have Dartmouth connections.
So Dartmouth Winter CarniVAIL is simply a further step in a natural evolution of the Dartmouth -Vail relationship.
Dartmouth, skiing... the 10th Mountain Division... and Vail are all very much interconnected.
We who enjoy skiing on Vail Mountain owe that one College much thanks for helping create this wonderful winter wonderland.