After enjoying the Great Atlantan Snowstorm of December 2017, Wesleyan students were dreaming of a “White Christmas.” High school students had the opportunity to fulfill dreams of east-coast snow when they hit the slopes of Winterplace Ski Resort on the Christian Life Ski Retreat.
Over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, a bus of 41 ninth through twelfth graders, along with seven faculty chaperones, departed on a long trip to Winterplace, West Virginia. The group arrived at the Alpine House to enjoy their stay during the weekend-long retreat.
Winterplace Ski Resort offered a wide variety of snowy activities for participants to enjoy. The mountain, though small, houses 27 ski runs and six operating lifts. Skiers and snowboarders enjoyed two and a half days of hitting the slopes, with the opportunity to ski during the day and at night. Sophomore Alex Cope said, “Night-skiing was especially fun because the mountain was a lot less crowded, making it more peaceful.”
With a total elevation of 3,600 feet and property of over 90 acres, Winterplace is an ideal location of close proximity for Atlantans of all skill levels. No matter their experience with snow sports, Wesleyan students and chaperones enjoyed the various mountain trails, ranging in difficulty. Senior and Ski Retreat veteran Grant Beaty said, “I really like skiing the black slopes because you can pick up a lot of speed on them. Skiing is so fun alone, but to do it with your friends is just a great experience.”
The Ski Retreat was an opportunity for high school students of all grades to socialize and have fun together outside of the school environment. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors got to know one another while relaxing at the house. Junior Joshua Rahman enjoyed “playing games in the cabin where everyone came together after a long day of skiing. Getting to meet a lot of people from different grades is really cool.”
While taking a break from the slopes, teachers and students bonded over rounds of board games, card games and creative challenges. The fan-favorite activity on Saturday night was the infamous “Cereal Box Challenge.” Players took turns picking up a cardboard cereal box from the ground using only their mouths—no hands allowed! Each round became trickier as the box was cut into smaller pieces, but senior Peter Hess and physics teacher Scott Schroer established themselves as star players, further verified by an enthusiastic audience.
A few nights away from school fostered new community and friendships among the students and faculty. Each night one chaperone gave a short devotion to the students in emphasis of the Christian Life aspect of the trip. High school teachers Schroer, Megan Trotter and Kali Sessions ended dinnertime with positive messages and a reminder to be grateful for such a unique Wesleyan opportunity.
Freshman Reid Cameron said, “the Ski Retreat was a great experience and awesome way to meet new people. I loved playing games and eating meals in the cabin.” By cooking, eating and cleaning up dinner together, the students got to know one another, whether it was through taco night or a spaghetti supper.
It was no small task to purchase and organize enough food for almost 50 people. Faculty fellow Avery Garn and Bible teacher Sessions organized the plethora of meals and snacks packed for the weekend. “On our Costco shopping trip, we filled 10 shopping carts and spent over $1000 on supplies. Team Omicron helped us, and we were out in under 40 minutes, which is pretty impressive,” said Garn and Jones. Successful meal planning made for innovative meals and community time during the weekend.
The Christian Life Retreat offered students a chance to get away from school, enjoy a variety of fun activities and connect with people of different grades. There is a reason students and chaperones continue to participate year after year. After going on the trip for a second time, senior Ashton Cameron said, “There has been some wonderful fun and fellowship on this trip. Even if you don’t know how to ski, it’s an amazing way to meet new people, try something new and relax in a community of peers and teachers.”