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Adventure on Whitecap
Jared Arsenault and Lance Richard snowshoe to the top of Whitecap Mountain in Rumford. The sleds on their backs will provide a quick trip down the mountain. (Photo courtesy of Kristin Tyler)
Recently, 16 Mountain Valley High School students snowshoed Whitecap Mountain. From top left, Tucker Rowland and Jordon Parent slide down the mountain; Shannon Laubauskas, Sydney Petrie and Kayla Drapeau are all smiles at the top of Whitecap and can hardly wait for the fun trip back down; students Lance Richard, Dakota Jacques, Josh Mason and Dalton Milledge wait patiently for hot chocolate. Below is a group shot with their equipment. (Photos courtesy of Kristin Tyler)
RUMFORD -- Snow, snowshoes, sleds and 16 Mountain Valley High School students are a formula for fun.
Recently three physical education classes and their teachers, Kristin Tyler and Todd Papianou, snowshoed up Whitecap Mountain in Rumford and rode down on adventure sleds.
Sophomore Dalton Milledge explained, “It took 2 hours to get to near the top and only 20 minutes to get down!”
“At first it was really easy, I was breaking trail when it got steep and it was more difficult” recounted junior Shannon Laubauskas. “The snow was crusty on top and then fluffy underneath. Sometimes the tip of the snowshoe broke through the crusty top and the snow actually tripped me a couple times.”
Each student carried a sled and their lunch. The group stopped about a half hour from the top on an area of open ledges for lunch. Papianou prepared hot chocolate, a welcomed treat for cold students.
“It was very cloudy when we were on the ledges,” recalled Laubauskas. “But we could see Sunday River ski area.”
For the uninitiated, sophomore Dakota Jacques described an adventure sled known as Mad River Rockets. “It is designed to go through powder and it can go down trails. The underside of the sled has a monorail system that makes it so you can glide through powder.”
According to Papianou, “We have a difficult job of relating to folks what the whole adventure sled thing is all about. Most people have a preconceived notion of what traditional sledding is -- find a hill go down on a sled until you stop or crash. The school sleds are multi purpose and are a viable form of mountain travel. In the backcountry, time can mean life and death. Getting places using a variety of modes of transport increase your window of survivability and if possible can maximize the fun along the way.”
Universally, the students liked the downhill trip. Sophomore Logan Benedix said, “Sledding down was the best part by far!”
Milledge added, “The first steep drop on the sleds was thrilling.”
Though natives of Rumford and Mexico, some students had never been to Whitecap Mountain. Freshman Sydney Petrie said, “I didn’t even know about Whitecap and I live in Rumford. I would hike it in summer.”
Jacques added, “I’ve hiked Whitecap before in the summer but never in the winter. It was a lot more challenging in the winter. I helped break the trail down. There’s orange markers on the trees to keep you on the trail.”
Aside from the fun of being in the outdoors, Petrie reflected on lessons learned. “In adventure programming class with Mrs. Tyler, we learn about stuff to do in the outdoors. We learn about survival stuff and go outside a lot. I just started the class at the end of January and I really enjoy it.”
After completing the trip, all students who were interviewed had thoroughly enjoyed their adventure.
Milledge said, “It was well worth the hike. I would definitely do it again.”
The students who participated in the trip were from three physical education classes. Tyler teaches a lifetime pursuits class and the adventure programming class. Papianou teaches an additional lifetime pursuits class.
The students included Jared Arsenault, Logan Benedix, Nathan Bradman, Mykal Dion, Kayla Drapeau, Dakota Jacques, Shannon Laubauskas, Tom Marshall, Josh Mason, Jacob McInnis, Dalton Milledge, Jordan Parent, Zach Penley, Sydney Petrie, Lance Richard and Tucker Rowland.