PDS Ski Trip: The Beginning of a New Tradition


Mr. Rhodes

PDS Upper School students at Blue Mountain Ski Resort (Photo/Mr. Rhodes)

Andrew Thallemer, Online Staff Writer

On an unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon in February, 51 PDS students departed on a two-hour bus trip for night skiing at Blue Mountain Ski Resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. The February 11 trip included skiers of all levels of expertise, from first-time novices to expert Alpine skiers who had traversed the challenging Rocky Mountains. The students departed PDS in the afternoon by charter bus and skied from 4-9 pm, then returned to PDS late that night. Everyone was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day but grateful for the fun times they got to share with their fellow classmates. During the trip, students had the option of bringing their own skis or snowboards, though most opted to rent the equipment at the resort. The trip also required the students to purchase their own lift tickets and rental packages, which all ended up going smoothly.

The trip to Blue Mountain was organized through the hard work of Sophomore Class President Rohan Shah. He formulated the idea when running for this position. When asked about his idea, Shah stated, “I know of other schools that did ski trips and I wondered why PDS didn’t. When I proposed the idea in my campaign speech, many students told me that they would love to go. Once I got elected, I immediately got to organizing the ski trip.” Blue Mountain offers 40 slopes for all levels of skiers, ranging from “the bunny slope” to four challenging double-black diamond trails. Most beginners stayed on the bunny slopes or ventured on to the next level of difficulty, the green trails. While the intermediate skiers opted for the green and blue trails, the more experienced skiers attempted the single-black diamond trails, the most challenging trail at the resort. The resort has the biggest vertical drop of any ski resort in Pennsylvania, which is accessed through a six-person lift and three double chairs.

Freshman Umang Sharma shared, “this was my first time, I had no idea how to ski, so I fell down many times and had bruises for almost a week after.” Sharma continued that he nonetheless “had fun skiing. It was an amazing experience to have with friends.” Due to weather conditions, the trails were quite icy at Blue Mountain. Freshman Carter Malin commented on this, stating, “I found the trails to be very slippery… It was also hard when I fell down to get up because my skis kept slipping down the slope.” 

Like almost every student that day, he would have liked to ski for even longer, do it again next year and make more memories. Malin continued “the best part of the day was definitely hanging out with people on the trip.” Freshman Archie Douglas, who has skied the mountains of Canada, Switzerland, Colorado, and Vermont, found the slopes at Blue Mountain to still offer some challenges due to steepness and ice. Douglas noted “The moguls (bumps in non-skier language) definitely put pressure on the legs.” For Douglas, the best part about the trip was “spending time with [his] friends and having the opportunity to ski with the PDS community.”

Shah, when further questioned, stated, “I would like to personally thank Ms. Myser, Mr. Devlin, Mr. Rhodes, Ms. Balazsi, Coach BG, and Ms. Lee for helping organize and chaperone the ski trip. It would not have been possible without them!” Several members of the faculty chaperoned the trip, including Acting Head of Upper School Mr. Rhodes, who exemplified the time management skills fostered by PDS by actively overseeing student safety while still reading three books in the process. Mr. Rhodes also reported that he was “happy with student conduct on the trip.” 

Though the trip required an immense amount of hard work and time, Shah hopes to organize the trip in all his future years at PDS, and he also hopes the tradition continues after he graduates. Though he needed a minimum of 30 students to run the trip, the bus filled to capacity within the first couple days of trip sign-up. Shah concluded, “The ski trip was one of the best events of my high school experience. Blue Mountain is a great resort in our area, and I believe every student had a wonderful time.” The students on the trip definitely concurred.

(Artwork/Kayla Zhang ’24) (Kayla Zhang)