Undergraduate Programs

Making the Most of Winter at Clarkson

A upward shot of a snowboard and a person in yellow snow pants with text on the bottom of the snowboard that reads Clarkson

Hi readers! My name is Morgan Lamendola and I am a senior here at Clarkson, majoring in communication. You may have read my blogs over the summer about what there is to do in the North Country for fun, and I’m back to give you some more recommendations for winter.

Winter in the North Country can feel long, but there are plenty of ways to make the most of it. If you’re a fan of winter sports and cold weather, you’ll be able to find many opportunities for fun in the area. But don’t forget to bring your warmest jacket, because it does get cold!

A person in green pants ski jumping off a snow pile
Winterfest is always a fun time for students who like some high-flying action!

One of the most popular winter activities around here is definitely skiing or snowboarding. There are so many students at Clarkson that love to ski — you will be able to find just about anyone willing to tag along with you!

Not only does Clarkson have Alpine and Nordic skiing teams, there is also a ski club you can join. Clarkson’s located right near many mountains to go skiing at, including Whiteface in Lake Placid, Big Tupper in Tupper Lake, Dry Hill in Watertown, Titus Mountain in Malone, Gore Mountain, Windham and Hunter Mountain. Check out this blog from Clarkson alum Kevin Campbell about all of his favorite spots.

You can also find students cross-country skiing to class at times on campus, and there are trails around campus and in the area to cross-country ski on as well. You can cross-country ski at many of the nature centers in the area, like the Nicandri Nature Center in Massena and the Indian Creek Nature Center in Canton, as well as at the Catamount Forest in Canton.

Two people sledding down a snowy hill with the concrete building in the back that reads Cora and Bayard Clarkson Science Center
If you’re looking for something close to campus, Woodstock hill is the perfect sledding spot.

Woodstock Hill is very popular for sledding in the winter months here at Clarkson. Not only will you find students enjoying sledding, but local families also join in on the fun!

It’s hard for me to even name all of the winter weather activities we have on or near campus, but this website might give you a few more ideas on what to explore.

You don’t have to stay on campus to have winter fun though. All throughout the area, you can find different outdoor activities to participate in. If you’re a fan of fishing, there are plenty of places to ice fish. From the St. Lawrence River to many of the little lakes around, such as Black Lake and Trout Lake, you’ll never run out of ice fishing spots!

A person in a helmet and snow suit on a yellow snowmobile with orange flags marking the trail
We also offer snowmobile SPEED Teams that build and race clean snowmobiles!

Many students on campus bring their snowmobiles up for the winter months. Not only do they work on them to improve them here, but they also ride them around the area. There are plenty of trails in St. Lawrence County to ride on and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the North Country.

The trails available in the north country aren’t just for winter sports. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding or paddling, there’s a trail nearby that will be perfect for you. St. Lawrence County has done an awesome job of combining all of your options for you, and you can check them out here.

A child in the sit of a dog sled with another person holding onto the back and a man steering. Two dogs are running at full speed
The dog sled rides are fun for everyone, and we have had them on campus for COGO in years past!

The Call of the Wild is a dog sled tour business located just 15 minutes away in Colton, New York. This experience is unique to the North Country as it’s hard to find dog sled tours anywhere else in the U.S., besides maybe Alaska. The Call of the Wild isn’t just open in the winter either — you have options to visit them and their dogs all year round.

A Clarkson hockey player on ice with the stick held out to hit the puck
Both Clarkson’s men’s and women’s hockey teams are highly competitive Division I programs.

You can always catch a men’s or women’s hockey game at Cheel Arena on Friday and Saturday nights. Hockey is our most popular sport here at Clarkson, and many of our students are hockey players and fans. Cheel is always crowded for our games, and our students can’t wait for the weekend when they get to sit and watch their favorite players skate and listen to our very entertaining pep band. Winter sports also means men’s and women’s basketball games if you’re not much of a hockey fan. No matter which you choose to watch, you are guaranteed good entertainment and fun!

Two men in big yellow cowboy style hats with flags in the brim
Pres. Tony Collins always joins in on the COGO fun!

Near the end of hockey season, Clarkson throws an event called COGO — Cold Out Gold Out — which is two days of winter fun and, of course, hockey! This year, COGO was held on January 24 and 25 and there were men’s and women’s hockey games. Clarkson also holds an alumni game during COGO on an outdoor hockey rink near Cheel, which always promises a big crowd. There are horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carving demonstrations and a pep rally, as well as many more fun activities during the weekend. It is usually a busy few days filled with students, parents and alumni who enjoy all of the fun.

A man playing hockey outside
Outdoor hockey games are a staple of COGO

If you want to stay indoors and experience some winter fun on campus, Clarkson holds open skate at Cheel Arena every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday evening. If you don’t own skates, it’s only $1 to rent them! You can also skate at the Canton Pavilion and at Sandstoner Park in Potsdam.

A dimly light student center with students sitting to watch the projector screen that is playing something
Students frequently gather on the giant wooden steps of the Student Center for a Late Knight movie!

Clarkson’s Office of Student Life (OSL) does a great job of offering on-campus events. There are frequent discussions and gatherings, and Late Knight Movies is a popular campus event series for movie buffs. Each week, OSL puts on a film for the campus community on the Student Center’s massive screen for everyone to enjoy. Follow them on Instagram (@clarksonu.osl) for updates on what movies they’ve got coming up and all of their other events.

Other on-campus activities include high-quality performances for students to attend and enjoy, put on by Clarkson’s music and theater clubs. SUNY Potsdam also offers a lot of concerts and plays that you can attend during the winter months. Here is a link to their events calendar, where you can find when and where things are happening. SUNY Potsdam also has their own art gallery that you can go to; the hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 1-7 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. This is a great place to spend your days getting out of the cold and looking at some beautiful pieces of art.

Two students sitting on a piano bench one playing and the other facing the other direction
Clarkson Theatre Company presents: “DOGS SEES GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” by Bert V. Royal

If you’re a history lover, you can always spend an afternoon learning about your new surroundings in Potsdam at the Potsdam Public Museum. Clarkson’s presence in the community has played a huge role in the town’s development, and you can learn a lot about your own school as well as the rest of the local area.

There’s plenty more fun to find in the area during the winter months. This blog just lists a few options. If you are interested in more inside activities, check out my blog post, The Great Indoors. Have fun, dress warmly and take lots of pictures to share with us!

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