Undergraduate Programs

Winter Fun on and around Potsdam’s Campus

Students walk to class along a paved path on Clarkson's campus, while more students use an elevated indoor pathway to pass between buildings above the outdoor path.


It is no surprise that the winters up here in Potsdam can get pretty cold. Now that the leaves are done changing and the wind is picking up, it is time for our campus community to prepare for the beautiful (but cold) winter. While the campus has many indoor events to keep you warm this winter, outdoor events are also in great abundance. From Winter sports to sightseeing, there is still so much to do on campus and in the area this winter. So bundle up and get ready for some Potsdam winter fun.

Ice Skating

There is no better place to start looking for some snow-themed activities than on campus! As you probably already know, Clarkson is home to Cheel Arena where both the men’s and women’s hockey teams play. Clarkson has home hockey games almost every weekend which are usually followed by an open skate. Open skate allows students to skate around Cheel Arena’s hockey rink, all winter long. If you do not own skates, no problem, you are able to rent them at a very low price with your Clarkson student ID. Even though the majority of students come from New York and New England, where ice skating is pretty common. A lot of students skate for their first time at Clarkson. If you are more experienced on skates and enjoy hockey, check out the men’s and women’s club hockey teams who are always looking for new members.

Four women skate on the ice surface at Cheel Arena.
Open Skate at Cheel Arena

Outdoor Recreation

A group of students in front of a mountain of ice. They are all in ice climbing gear
CUOC Ice Climbing

Clarkson is very fortunate to have what the campus community refers to as “the back 40”. 400 acres of wooded trails perfect for cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. CUOC (Clarkson University Outing Club) is an outdoor recreation club that utilizes all the trails in the back 40 and beyond. They organize trips on and off campus and are equipped with extra gear if you are in need of it. Whether you are interested in high-impact and adrenaline rushes or just a leisurely cross-country ski trip, CUOC has something for you. Their winter trips consist of but are not limited to hiking, camping, telemark skiing, AT Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Ice climbing, mountaineering, and extreme sledding. CUOC hosts meetings weekly in the ADK lodge and is available via email and Instagram if you have any questions regarding membership or trip information. 


As you know Clarkson is extremely close to the Adirondacks and is surrounded by beautiful ski mountains. Another great club to consider if you enjoy skiing is CUSC! CUSC’s (Clarkson University Ski & Snowboard Club) goal is “to provide the best skiing and riding experience possible for the students of Clarkson University. Through movie premiers, video contests, skills competitions, discounted season passes, carpool coordination & gas reimbursement, weekly trips, and long weekend adventures, CUSC provides the platform for winter fun in the Northeast” on and off campus. CUSC is a great opportunity to meet people who share similar interests while building a sense of community around a sport you all enjoy. CUSC hosts a variety of group trips throughout the year but if you are looking to go out on your own, be sure to check out The Best Ski & Snowboard Spots Around blog for more information.

Indoor Sporting Events

If the previous options have sounded a little too adventurous for you, a great way to spend some of your cold winter nights is in the Alumni Gym and Cheel Arena. The alumni gym is home to both the men’s and women’s DIII basketball teams and is a great place to cheer on your friends. The men’s and women’s basketball team plays home games in the alumni gym located in the IRC through the month of February. Additionally, many sports host intramural and club games throughout the winter. Some of these teams include walleyball (volleyball played on racquetball courts), 3v3 basketball, hockey, volleyball, and more! If you just want to enjoy some lighthearted fun, the IRC is home to an indoor track as well as many other courts for you and your friends to play. 

A small group of women with arms up playing basketball. The women on the left is wearing a Clarkson 13 game jersey.
Golden Knights Women’s Basketball

If you still want to experience the chill of winter but want to stay inside, head over to Cheel Arena to experience the DI hockey team’s take on some of the biggest names in college hockey. Every weekend until march you can find a majority of the student body in the stands cheering on the men’s and women’s teams. The games are always a fun atmosphere to cheer on your friends and stay out of the cold. If you are unsure about going to a hockey game, or just want to prepare, be sure to check out A Golden Knights Guide to Your First Hockey Game.

Lake Placid

A building at night with a big Christmas tree all light up in white and blue lights
Lake Placid

Just an hour and a half away from Clarkson’s campus is the village of Lake Placid. From Olympic Ski Jumps to the Herb Brooks Arena that hosted the Miracle on the Ice hockey game, Lake Placid is the perfect day trip for you and your friends this winter. The downtown is filled with small businesses and chain stores to stock up on your favorite winter apparel. Additionally,  In 2023 Lake Placid is hosting the FISU World University games. The games will be held from January 12th- 22n. “The 11-day international festival and competition combine high-level sport with educational and cultural events, all taking place in Lake Placid and nearby towns.” To find out more about tickets and who will be competing check out the Official FISU Games website.


In conclusion, there is much to do on and off campus this winter. Whether you want to try a new club or venture out with your friends, there are plenty of opportunities to do what you love or try something new. Just because there is some snow on the ground, does not mean that you can’t have fun outside at Clarkson!

Author: Cassidy Marshall

My name is Cassidy Marshall, I'm a Communication, Media & Design Major with a new product development & marketing minor in the class of 2024. I am currently a member of the Pep Band, Kappa Delta Chi, and am a student worker in the Marketing and External Relations Department. In my free time, I enjoy photography, exploring downtown Potsdam, and attending all the hockey games with my friends.

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