While training over winter break can be arduous at the best of times for Bates athletes, this year was especially harsh due to the bitter cold and treacherous weather that persisted in the latter half of the break. With temperatures consistently dropping into the single digits, often in addition to frigid wind chill and periodic snow, many teams had to adjust their schedules and adapt to the weather in order to train.
Predictably, some teams were affected by the weather more than others. Sports which necessitate outdoor activity, such as alpine ski, nordic ski, and the runners of the track team, felt the effect of the cold while training the most. Yet, perhaps surprising to some, indoor sports like basketball, squash and swimming and diving also had their own problems during this time, from minor inconveniences to uncomfortable training conditions.
As the temperatures fell, many of Bates’ athletes piled on the layers to stay warm and protect against frostbite before heading outside for practice.
While members of the track and field team were not on campus during break, athletes were expected to train on their own. For the runners of the team, this often meant going outside. However, while some runners have the ability to run inside, skiers, with no other option, practiced outside each day, doing their best to stay warm.
“I think that as a team we are all used to fairly cold temperatures, but the -5 to -15 temperatures and the -30 wind chill we had to ski through was hard,” says women’s alpine ski captain Sierra Ryder ‘18. “To cope, many of us were wearing many more layers than normal… [and] a few of us put tape on our faces to prevent frostbite while skiing down as well.”
Captain Brielle Antonelli ‘18 also added that many of the skiers took short breaks in the lodge between runs to warm up, even using hair dryers to warm their frozen toes. At one point, the wind and cold were so bad that some of the ski lifts had to be closed.
Even the members of the men’s basketball team felt the effects of the cold while practicing inside Alumni Gymnasium.
“During break, and throughout my four years here at Bates, we’ve had some practices where the gym was freezing cold,” said men’s basketball captain Justin Zukowski ‘18. “It has been a challenge at times because in between drills or at times when we stop practicing, it can get extremely uncomfortable… This winter break being especially cold, there were a couple of walkthroughs we had on days before our game where some of the players were wearing long sleeve shirts and winter hats to keep warm.”
Additionally, the hazardous weather made travel difficult for many of Bates’ athletic teams. From shoveling out vans to delayed flights, the mix of cold temperatures and snow consistently proved challenging for winter athletes.
The nordic ski team had originally intended to spend the last week of break in Rangeley, Maine on a training trip, however the extreme temperatures forced them to amend their plans and shorten the trip to three days.
Similarly, the women’s squash team began practicing later than they had hoped due to the blizzard, which blanketed the northeast on January 4.
“Unfortunately, due to the storm and the fact that a reasonable portion of our team is internationally based, the blizzard delayed and cancelled flights, and pushed back a lot of our pre-planned schedule to practice early. Nevertheless, we all made it back and started our rigorous match preparation,” commented women’s squash captain Vicky Arjoon ‘18.
Not even the women of Bates’ swimming and diving team were unaffected.
As team captain Hope Logan humorously states, “After finals we escaped the cold and took flight to the lovely beaches of Deerfield Beach, Florida, as we do every year. After New Year’s, however, we were back on campus for about a week before classes started, training in the tundra of Maine with our hair freezing twice a day after practice… the run between Merrill and Davis to lift in the morning [is] always a fun one in January at 6 a.m..”
Despite it all, the blizzards, the frigid temperatures and leaky ceilings, Bates’ athletes made it through the extreme weather ready to compete in the New Year.