Love the snow? Love to play around in it? Winter Wild
, now in its ninth season, is a great event series for those who love to exert themselves outdoors during the winter months. The activity is called ‘uphilling,’ and it’s adding a whole new dimension of fun and purpose to winter recreation. “Uphilling is a hearty winter workout in which participants ascend a ski slope using either snowshoes, skis with climbing skins, or running shoes with microspikes. You might say it’s an activity that’s people-powered rather than machined-powered… Winter Wild is an uphill series with a twist; the finish is at the bottom, so you get to come back down, too. Participants go down the mountain the same way they went up – those on skis get to slide down the slopes.”
While some might question the sanity of racing up a snowy mountain, several members of the Derryfield community grabbed their winter equipment of choice and hit the slopes for last year’s challenge. As a result of being the school that brought the most participants over the course of the series, Derryfield has been awarded a $3,000 prize. The money will be used to purchase heart monitors to be used as part of a health and wellness program expansion.
Emma Pyles ’20, who usually does the races in running shoes, started six years ago at the recommendation of her middle school cross country coach. She says, “They have been super fun and helped me to explore different aspects of running. My family has also been doing these races with me. One of my favorite things is getting to know the people at the races, as many of the same people often show up.” Frankie Brandt ’21 raced for five competitions in the ‘heavy metal’ category and placed third in the 13-18 age division. The heavy metal category involves putting climbing skins on the bottom of your skis so you can walk up and then ski down (his father, Dean of Faculty Pete Brandt, competed in four races). Catherine Gage ’21 did the Crotched and Pats Peak races using her cross country skis and says, “I will definitely do it again this year!” Maggie Cissel ’19 also partook.
Inspired by last year’s win, competitors are heading back to the slopes to be a part of the ten races spread across New England ski resorts from Vermont to Massachusetts. These races start early so the scenery is beautiful, and as we have found, the rewards are great.The races are non profit, all the winnings are donated. According to Mr. Brandt, “for the most part, it is just a fun morning on a cold winter day. Come to one or two; there is no commitment, but it would be great to get a bunch of DS people out.” If you are interested in participating as part of the Derryfield team, see Mr. Brandt, Mr. Doherty, or Emma Pyles, or check the website at winterwild.com
. The first race was on December 17 at Magic Mountain and the last on March 24 at Wachusett Mountain, so there will be plenty of opportunity to get out and get active.-Duffy Smiley