2008-03-15 21:29:58.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

Every pay check, I put aside $50 into a special saving account which is labeled “vacation fund” on my online bank account. I then explore the internet to find that once in a lifetime kind of trip to aim for to use my funds on as well as take time off from work for. The options now and days are as endless and as big as my imagination as to where and what people can do for vacations. Trip ideas can vary from swimming with dolphins to going on ghost hunting trips. While I am looking for ideas to spend my money and time off doing, it reminded me that we offer some of the vary once in a lifetime tours I am trying to find. These are offered through our Winter Edutrip programs.

These special opportunities are coming to an end for this season next month but there are still a few chances to come up and spend a night on the summit while experiencing something that interests you. So here are the remaining four trips and my opinions on each:

March 20-21: Astronomy – A View from the Summit
David McDonald, Director of Education at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium will be leading this group up the summit via our Bombardier. While here, you will enjoy learning about the universe, the night skies and the connection space has with the weather we experience. Now, being the night observer, this trip is awesome. Although the fog inhibits my view from time to time, the times we are clear, the night skies are unparalleled in the northeast. This light show is awesome and awe inspiring. Light pollution is a minimal and our celestial dome can extend to 120 miles. Who knows, you might get to see one of those elusive UFO’s I get calls about from time to time.

April 3-4 – Winter Mountaineering Essentials
Joe Lentini, professional climbing guide for 30 years and Vice President of the NH Mountain Rescue Service will be helming this trip. This is a hands on course which teaches you basic skills that you need to hike this mountain or any mountain the world over. Skills like proper use of crampons and ice axes, how to self-arrest, navigate and pointers for avalanche safety. Working up here, I can’t tell you how many times I have had to help people who are lacking in at least one of these skills. One major one I commonly see are people glissading with crampons on. Did you know your not suppose to wear crampons when doing this? If you answered yes to this question, you’re correct. If you answered no to this question, this class if directed towards you.

April 10-11 – Winter Mountaineering Essentials 2: “What if…?”
Joe Lentini again leads this trip which instructs you on what to do when your winter mountain trip does not go as planned. Even the best hikers in the world know how easy this can happen to them. No one heads out in the morning planning on getting lost, but it does happen from time to time. The “What if…?” situation has occurred multiple times this winter resulting in some fatal results sadly. If you are an avid outdoor enthusiast who has ever once thought any kind of “What if…?” idea, I highly recommend this class. Like I tell our visitors, if you get hurt in the whites, it can take hours or days to rescue you, weather pending. The skills you learn in this class will give you the pointers that will help you survive those critical hours until someone is dispatched to your location.

April 12-13 – Bringing Weather to the Classroom
Having sat in on multiple intern interviews, I have learned that an event or a lesson taught in grade school are what got them hooked to meteorology. If you are a teacher, this trip is geared towards you. You might be harboring the next Today show or Good Morning America meteorologist in your classroom. If you have ever wanted to learn how to relate meteorology in your classroom, either fundamentally or via some real-life stories, give our weather classroom a try. Marsha Rich of the American Meteorological Society’s “Project Atmosphere” leads this trip and is great at making learning fun. Even if you are not a teacher, you may want to come up and learn some weather basics. Plus, the day you arrive marks the anniversary of the world record wind set back in 1934 at 231 mph. So, imagine the “cool factor” to say you were on the summit on the anniversary of that.

So if you have been looking for that once in a lifetime trip idea like I have, these are four options to choose from. If you can’t do it this year, start putting aside some money each pay period like I have and plan on coming up next winter season. Topics are varied so there is bound to be something that suits you. And if you can’t do a winter or prefer to do a summer, we offer Summer Edutrips as well. So why not take a break from the ordinary and go to the extraordinary.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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