THE WHO: In mid-February, the hype of Titus looms over the St. Lawrence University campus like a dark storm. Freshmen listen to stories while upperclassmen wrack their brains trying to remember how exactly it went down last year. It was definitely a powder day. Christie forgot how to get onto the chairlift, fell off, and stalled the line for at least 15 minutes. Billy almost got frostbite on his tinkle toy after one too many naked laps in sub-freezing temperatures. I couldn't remember how to make a turn.
JP Carey, a former Titus organizer, once asked a couple ski patrollers if they liked working during the party. "They said, 'Yes, because the event is better than porn,'" Carey recalls. "One of the patrollers caught two people having sex in the snow outside the patrol shack. The dude had super long hair so the patroller who caught them thought it was two girls getting it on."
THE WHAT: The official name—First Ever Eighth Annual Great Mount Titus North Country Cooldown Wicked Weekend Ski Event—is a bit much. So most people just call it Titus, a raucous annual gathering started in the late 1980s. The maelstrom begins on a Friday with a rail jam on the quad. If it's a warm spell, students use pickup trucks to ransack dirty snowbanks from the nearby Dollar General and haul the snow to campus. Some skiers grill meat while others huck their meat in holiday sweaters and leopard-print coats. But not even an appearance by Saucer Boy can compete with the all women's "No Pants Run," a striking display of strength, solidarity, and bare ass cheeks.
After the dancing ceases, the glitter fades, and Jimmy is once again found asleep with his bibs and ski boots on curled up on a bench in the OC common room, the silky tendrils of dawn creep over campus and Saturday morning arrives like an unwelcome friend. Students are corralled into a fleet of school buses for the hour-long drive to Titus Mountain in Malone, New York.
THE WHY: By February, students are beginning to regret going to college in the arctic wasteland that is upstate New York. Got to lighten it up somehow. Bring on liquid courage, dancing, aggressive pole plants, shameless exhibitionism, and hand-warmers.
The Outing Club rents out the entire upper mountain for the party, resulting in about three runs, one chairlift, and a base lodge full of semi-intoxicated people swaying to the Max Ryder Band, a group of guys in their 60s who've been covering classic rock songs as long as I've been alive. This was my third Titus, and I still think the whole thing is better than Christmas.
THE WTF: Not many ski hills are willing to rent out their facilities to hundreds of college students. This year, the Outing Club sold 902 tickets and loaded 20 buses. No one fell off the chairlift, but a backpack full of beer got stuck for a few lift rotations. The high temperature for the day was 12 degrees, which only increased the bourbon consumption.
Regardless of the shenanigans, Titus is about the skiing spirit. The people who embrace Titus are the brave ones—they suit up no matter the temperature or terrain. They're the powder hunters who risk life and limb to blindly follow the jump train off a cliff and onto flat with minimal snow coverage. They're the ones who toss you a cold one in the lift line, smile, wink, and say what you've been waiting to hear all year, "Happy Titus."
This story originally published in POWDER’s October 2017 issue (Volume 46 Issue 2). Treat yourself by subscribing today.