Amid a Winter Storm Watch and a day off from classes, Cornellians received an extra-long Thanksgiving break with the first snow day of the school year.
The University cancelled all Monday classes on Sunday afternoon, announcing later that night that the whole Ithaca campus would be closed, The Sun previously reported.
While the snow day came as some students struggled to return to campus through bus reschedulings and flight delays, students already back on campus enjoyed their bonus free day.
Much like previous snow days, many students took advantage of the unexpected free time to mark off #5 of the 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do: sled down Libe Slope during a snowstorm. Under the glow of the clock tower, students jumped on whatever material they could find: flattened cardboard boxes, laundry baskets, mattresses, even wet floor signs made their way down the slope.
In past decades, winters were full of “traying” — a tradition where students sled down the slope on dining hall trays, which Cornell Dining phased out in 2008 in sustainability efforts, The Sun previously reported.
Sledding down the slope has technically been banned since the 1970s, after a student became paralyzed during a sledding accident, officials from Cornell University Police Department told The Sun in a phone interview.
Nonetheless, the slope was covered with bundled-up students all-day Monday as snow continued to fall.
Just under one foot of snow fell in Ithaca, according to Jack Sillin ’22, a member of Cornell’s American Meteorological Society. Sillin said the storm would be mostly past Ithaca by Tuesday, with the University opening back up.
John Sullivan ’20, a Sun columnist, started his snow day early, making the trek to the slope at 2 a.m. Monday morning. With an old Keurig box as a makeshift sled in tow, Sullivan joined around two dozen other Cornellians for late-night sledding, he said.
Though he is a senior who has seen two previous Cornell snow days, Sullivan said he hadn’t actually sled down the slope before.
“It was definitely one of the most fun things I’ve done at Cornell,” Sullivan said.
Freshmen and sophomores witnessed their first Cornell snow day, as the last snow day was in March 2018, The Sun previously reported.
For Cristie Huang ’22, who’s from Los Angeles, it was her first snow day ever. She celebrated with quintessential winter activities: more makeshift sledding and a snowball fight.
“I was really excited when they announced that we would have a snow day,” Huang said. “It seemed like everyone came out and was on the slope and having a lot of fun.”
However, not everyone’s snow day was initially breezy. Jessie Yee ’20 tried to go sledding on the slope later Monday afternoon, but when she arrived, CUPD officers were preventing people from going down, she said.
CUPD rooted a sign declaring “No skiing, sledding or sliding,” at the top of the slope to remind students of the prohibition. They also strung caution tape to block entry to part of the slope near the Uris Library Cocktail Lounge.
Abandoned sleds and skis littered the slope as some students left for other winter activities, Yee said. However, many students disregarded the warnings and shortly resumed sledding on shallower parts of the hill. Witnesses reported at least one student getting carted off in an ambulance after taking hard falls off bumps on the hill.
For the rest of her snow day, Yee built a “snow bear,” drank hot chocolate and baked cookies — a “much needed unproductive day.”