Snowy start to Homecoming Week

Weber State University’s Homecoming Week got off to a different start than usual, as the traditional kickoff to Homecoming Week, the Mount Ogden Hike, was canceled Saturday due to poor weather conditions.

In a statement issued by the Outdoor Program, they expressed regret at the cancellation of the hike for the first time in recent years, saying that, “Given the cold temperatures and new fallen snow, the hike would not have been a pleasant experience.” There are currently no plans to reschedule the hike, instead they have opted to not do the hike at all this year. “Some people called and expressed their disappointment,” said a member of the Outdoor Program. “There was going to be several dozen people going up there, so I’m sure that there are people who are disappointed, but I guess it is what it is.”

This year leading up to the Saturday morning hike, Ogden experienced rain and cold temperatures throughout most of the preceding week. The change in weather was very sudden, as students went from trying to keep cool in the previous week, to trying to stay warm and dry this past week.

As temperatures dropped from highs of around 80 degrees on Monday to highs in the mid-40s Thursday and Friday, roughly an inch and a half of rain was recorded in Ogden. Weber State students observed snow on the mountains to the East of the campus on Thursday, and by Friday afternoon, the Weber State Outdoor program had announced that the hike was canceled this year due to the weather.

Despite the inclement weather, no other homecoming activities appeared to be in danger as of Friday night when students gathered in the main ballroom at the Shepherd Student Union building to watch the 2011 blockbuster movie, “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon”. According to weather forecasts, the temperatures should warm up this week to the mid-60s, and possibly the 70s later on in the week. Barring any unexpected changes, the rest of the scheduled Homecoming Week activities, including the Homecoming Dance on Friday night and the Homecoming Game on Saturday afternoon, do not appear to be in danger of being canceled.

The tradition of the Mount Ogden Hike was started back in 1922, when Weber State students, faculty, and administrators hiked to the top of Mount Ogden. Once they reached the summit, they dedicated the site and planted a 20 foot tall flagpole, which was then followed by the group singing the school song, “Purple and White”.

In the years following, the hike was held intermittently, but in 1987 it was officially reinstated, and every year since then the hike has kicked off Homecoming Week. The hike can be attempted by any one of three different trails. The shortest route starts at Snowbasin Resort and is eight and a half miles long round trip. It is touted as the easiest and most popular trail to reach the Mount Ogden summit.

There are two other trails that go through Taylor Canyon and through Beus Canyon, but not only are they longer, they are also significantly steeper. As such, these routes are typically for older, more experienced hikers. All participants would meet up at noon after they had reached the summit and join together to sing “Purple and White” along with several other traditional activities.