Students Deal With Sub-Zero Temps

ColdThe “bomb cyclone” Grayson had plastered the Northeast with blizzards and potentially damaging winds, according to the National Weather Service. Northwood School accumulated a massive amount of snow. Wind gusts as high as 30 mph that range from 30 to 45 below zero are impacting how the school’s population deals with the cold.

The reinforcing shot of Arctic air has recently been affecting the facilities of Northwood. Over the winter break, the bitter cold froze and damaged pipes, such as the plumbing in the bathroom of the Second East. Sub-zero temperatures also affect the heating system of the school. Most of the heaters on campus blast on high all day long. This causes depletion of the moisture content of the air within the building, harming people’s sensitive skin and nasal passages.

IMG_1394Meanwhile, students are struggling to deal with the long-lived cold outbreak as well. Skiers, who continue to train in the deep freeze, describe how they handle the frigid conditions. “I have been an alpine ski racer since I was ten years old. In all my years of ski racing, I have never had to deal with a weather as cold as this, here at Whiteface. I used to ski in Connecticut where it was around 40 degrees during winter. Now that I am skiing here, I wear several thin layers under my GS suit and take full advantage of my snow pants and heavy coat whenever I am not skiing. On the coldest days, the soft-shelled jackets and training shorts that the skiers wear while training don’t really help us stay warm,” said Imani Hawman ’20. Hawman also reported minor cases of frostbite within the alpine ski team. “The most common places the skiers get frostbite are our faces and toes. To prevent frostbites, skiers wear neck warmers, heated socks, and use boot heaters. I got a minor frostbite this season on my fingernails and toenails but they are not painful anymore.”


Windy conditions outside the NYSEF building at Whiteface. (Photo: Northwood Skiing)

In terms of conditions at Whiteface Mountain, where Northwood skiers usually practice, Hawman explained, “Whiteface often closes their two main lifts — the gondola and the facelift — on the windiest days. Our coach [Terry DelliQuadri, the director of Northwood School Alpine Ski Team] sent us a photo last night, which was taken outside the NYSEF Club House at Whiteface, of a stiff netting around a construction site being blown over. He also added that Whiteface had lost power.”

However, the skiers are enthusiastic about future races. “Despite the cold weather here in the Adirondacks, the U16s are excited to travel to West Mountain near Saratoga tomorrow [Jan 6], where it’s nearly 20 degrees warmer than it is here. Fortunately, it will start warming up in the next couple of weeks and reach the high 20s and 30s in Lake Placid as well, so I am looking forward to training at Whiteface again,” commented Hawman.

Northwood School administration asked the ski coaching staff last night not to have any outside training on Friday and recreational skiing was also canceled. “Although it is very cold out, I am still very sad that we did not get to ski today,” said Maddy Cohen ’21. “But I am happy that there are shuttles going to town.” Lanxin (Jessica) Lin ’19, a recreational snowboarder from China said, “Last year, my friends and I decided to go snowboarding in a weather as cold as this. I got a really small frostbite on my face that day, and Eric [Eric (Jiaqi) Zhang ’18] got a huge one. I am glad that rec skiing got canceled today because I learned how dangerous skiing in this kind of weather can be.” In regards to her life at Northwood School compared to her life in China, Lin commented, “The city I live in, Chengdu, does not get snow. I kind of got used to this weather now that this is my third year in Lake Placid, but I still feel really cold. The most difficult thing that I have to deal with in this climate is my daily life. I went home today, which is near Whiteface Lodge, and I found that one of the pipes froze and broke. All my carpets were soaking. I had to find a plumber and a property manager to handle this.”


Frozen lift at Whiteface Mountain. (Photo: Whiteface)

Due to the wind chill advisories from the National Weather Service, this weekend students at Northwood were not allowed to walk to town or leave the campus without faculty approval. However, the school provided shuttle buses to drop off and pick up students at the town. There were weekend activities on campus as well to keep students entertained in the inclement weather.

Faculty members have again, reiterated the importance of covering up exposed skin with extra layers of clothing and keeping all doors and windows on campus shut to prevent the precipitous loss of heat from the school’s old wood buildings due to wind circulation.

Due to student health issues, triggered and worsened by the weather, such as the flu, the school nurses advised that students wash their hands and use hand sanitizer regularly. The school also emphasized the responsibility of the dish crew to clean dining hall utensils thoroughly to avoid the spreading of diseases in school.

Winter temperatures of double digits below zero can lead to both physical and psychological problems in individuals. Nonetheless, the Northwood community seems to be well-prepared to pull through the extreme conditions and stay safe and warm during this frigid outbreak. People must remember to avoid overexertion both indoors and outdoors in this cold weather. Northern New York is forecast to warm in the coming days.


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