With winter in full swing, we’d like to take the opportunity to welcome you to the Cornell Winter Olympics! Given the absurd Ithaca weather patterns, getting to your early-morning class can feel more like an obstacle course. In preparation for the monumental physical feats we are forced to accomplish in pursuit of an education, we must adequately prepare. Here are six ways to prepare yourself for the Cornell Winter Olympics. May the odds be ever in your favor.



This tip might seem ridiculous, and you athletes out there can feel free to roll your eyes at my physical condition. Indisputably, rushing to class in snow drifts kills your calves, and can make make for a few days of soreness (at least in my case.) If you think you might be late, (thus turning your walk to the Ag Quad into a relay race,) do yourself a favor and quickly stretch out. From personal experience, I know that my short legs were not made to plow through snow drifts at lightning speed.

2Choose Appropriate Footwear

This might be the most important tip on this list. Sure, snow boots are not the most fashionable choice, but they’re a necessity in this weather. You don’t want to end up with cold and wet feet, and you definitely don’t want your journey to class to feel like a ride on a Slip N’ Slide.

3Practice Your Reactions

Even the most cautious and coordinated people still have a chance of wiping out on their way to class at some point throughout their Cornell tenure. You can avoid that by being prepared with that casual laugh or clever quip. Remember, anything is better than a stream of expletives.

4Stick to the Path

As a naive freshman, I assumed that those “No Winter Maintenance” signs were simply a kind of insurance policy. I stand corrected. On my way to Gannett last week to address the ever-looming Cornell Plague, I watched a pair of guys trying to devise a shortcut to class. They ended up sliding down the slope and ending up inextricably tangled, an incident that was embarrassingly public and probably fairly painful. Give up your dreams of becoming a cartographer and stick to the path.

5Have a Backup Plan

I’m a huge proponent of the TCAT, especially when Mother Nature throws adverse weather my way. However, the fact remains that the TCAT is extremely unpredictable, and this is doubly true when the weather is bad. Be prepared for full buses or skewed schedules. If you don’t have a backup plan at the ready, there’s a strong chance you’re going to be late to your first class.


Running around in a snowstorm lends the sickening feeling of being simultaneously overheated and freezing cold. One of my personal pet peeves is sweating while wearing a plethora of winter gear. If you want to combat the sensation of impending cardiac arrest, opt for layered clothes that you can ditch in a hurry. I also strongly suggest a waterproof layer of some kind.


Just as athletes train for years before their Olympic debuts athletes train for years, so too must any successful Cornellian prepare for the harsh winter conditions. Sure, you might not end up on a cereal box for making it to PSB in one piece, but you’ll be a champion in the hearts of Cornellians. Isn’t that what counts?