Freshman ’15: The ski trip from hell

Opinion by Bianca Chavez
Jan. 30, 2012, 12:27 a.m.

Freshman '15: The ski trip from hellIt would be majorly difficult for me to pick my favorite Stanford tradition. Sure, Full Moon was fun in a very strange Can’t-Believe-Stanford-Allows-This-Orgy-to-Happen kind of way (The Great Mono Outbreak of 2011 that hit my dorm soon afterwards was not so fun, but that’s another story.) And all the events of Big Game week – especially Gaieties – were definitely cray.


But, if forced to decide, I would say ski trip has been the best experience of my year thus far. For two days, my dormmates and our fabulous RAs spent time relaxing in the beautiful mountains of Lake Tahoe. It was a perfectly peaceful weekend – full of fuzzy ski socks, hot chocolate, skiing and plenty of naps.


Oh wait, did I say it was relaxing? I’m sorry, I meant crazy as hell.

From before we even left campus, our trip seemed doomed. Due to weather conditions, one of our bus drivers cancelled on us a mere 30 minutes before our scheduled departure time of 6 p.m. (Apparently the driver was not prepared to drive through snow. Even though he obviously knew we were headed to a ski resort. Let’s pause let that irony sink in for a moment, shall we?)

With no way to secure more buses due to the weather, the chances of our trip happening at all looked slim.

Fortunately, my RA Aleena stepped in to save the day. Although she may be one of the tiniest, sweetest girls I have ever known, she was still forceful enough to convince the transportation company to send us another bus. My dorm rejoiced at this new development and quickly piled onto the bus and headed to Tahoe less than two hours behind schedule.

The rest of that night and Saturday passed without event – except for our food situation. Stanford Dining provided us with enough food for seven meals, which, in theory, should have been just enough. Unfortunately, the kids in my dorm majorly suck at rationing food. By Saturday morning, less than 12 hours after we had arrived in Tahoe, most of our sandwich bread and all of our snacks were completely gone. We spent the rest of the weekend on a Regina George All-Carb Diet of bagels, breakfast pastries and frozen lasagna.

But this tiny little first-world problem paled in comparison to the epic journey that was our trip back to Stanford. This time, one of our buses got stuck in a snowdrift while it was en route to pick us up. Bruce the bus driver reacted in a logical way – by calling a snowplow to come free the bus. (Actually, this very nearly ended in tragedy, as the snowplow came dangerously close to falling off a cliff while it was attempting to dig the bus out. But that’s another story.) However, Bruce made one teensy tiny mistake: he forgot to call our RAs and tell them he was stuck. After several hours had passed, and we were still one bus and one bus driver short, and our RAs were close to calling the police and filing a missing persons report. Apart from the fact that we misplaced Bruce, our RAs still had one more major problem to solve: how were we going to get home? Given the icy roads, low visibility and the fact that our bus driver was lost on the frozen tundra, it was decided that half of the dorm would stay in the rental house for another night if we could not secure another bus. That would have been a fine idea, except for the minor fact that we only had cake and frozen lasagnas left to feed 40 people. (I’m pretty sure that was exactly how the Donner Party started, by the way.)


Fortunately, before any of us resorted to cannibalism, Bruce and the missing bus were located. He quickly made his way over to our house, and each member of my dorm made it home safely by 4 a.m. – only eight hours after our original ETA.

So, in one word, Twain ski trip was a shitshow. And yet, those were still some of the best 48 hours of my life. Why? Because through all of the challenges we faced, our dorm forged a tight bond. It would have been easy to whine and complain about our lack of real food, or the fact that our rental house was insanely crowded, or the fact that our bus driver went AWOL and we came dangerously close to being stranded, but instead these setbacks became ways to form friendships with people in the dorm who we didn’t typically talk to. After all, it’s pretty impossible not to bond with someone if you’re sharing a twin bed with her and three other people.


Looking to form a bond with Bianca in her bed? Try your luck at blchavez “at” stanford “dot” edu.

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