This week, we hear from Jon Hastings ’01, Math Department faculty, Girls JV Soccer, Alpine Skiing Coach, Academic Advisor, and 2001 Valedictorian of Kimball Union. Today, Jon reminisces about winters past on The Hilltop and recognizes the unique opportunities they offer here in Meriden.
Winter is coming. No, wait it’s already here. Although it feels like Thanksgiving has just passed, the campus is already covered in several inches of snow. Talk in Doe Dining Commons has turned to things like sledding, skating, and skiing. The opportunities for KUA students to get outside and enjoy all that winter has to offer have arrived. Situated in the Upper Valley, KUA’s campus offers unique opportunities for experiencing the outdoors. With French’s Ledges right in our backyard, the trails that provide excellent mountain biking and cross-country running in the spring and fall transform into snowshoeing and cross-country skiing paths. As a student at KUA, I experienced the thrill of running down French’s Ledges with the entire freshmen soccer team, leaping between trees and boulders. While the thought of doing that now as a teacher is mildly terrifying, it’s still an exhilarating memory. One of my unique memories at KUA was the winter hiking trips led by Dr. Erikson and Georg Feichtinger. Students would strap on snowshoes and hike up into the White Mountains in the middle of February. After a day of snowshoeing up a mountainside, the entire group pitched tents in the middle of a frozen tundra-like space. One of my close friends at the time even rolled out of his tent in the middle of the night! Fortunately, he woke up and pulled himself back to safety, begrudging whoever left the tent flap open. A night sleeping out on a mountainside in the winter shows just how valuable a zero-degree sleeping bag can be. I remember waking up and thinking I could never have been colder. Somehow, we made it through two nights of that. The next day of snowshoeing was intense, and at times we pulled ourselves up steep terrain using the trees on the side of the trail. It was a really wild experience and one I was eager to repeat the following year. Some of my fondest memories are of winter experiences at Kimball Union. While it’s cold out, I encourage our students to get out, enjoy the fresh air, and try out a new winter sport or activity.
Thank you, Jon, for sharing your memories and stay tuned for more news from The Hilltop.
Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA blends the best of the New England boarding tradition with an innovative, modern educational program for a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York.