Winter at Alzar School: A Chilly Embrace

Alzar School | 05.01.18

Bright flames lick charred logs as heat seeps out from the stove like a warm encompassing blanket, heating you to the core. Outside, cotton balls of snow dance down from the night sky and transform the ground into a white sea. But behind this ideal wintery scene is the sweat that broke chopping wood, the aching muscles from shoveling back the encroaching tide and the responsibility of communal living. Living in an Idaho winter isn’t always as ideal as it may appear. However, at the Alzar School, we embrace these seemingly harsh conditions as an opportunity to grow and learn.

Students often come to the Alzar School with limited experience living in the depths of a snowy winter. Arriving in January, spring semesters, in particular, are often faced with a frigid reality. However, we work hard to equip students with the tools to survive and enjoy living in the snow. Almost immediately upon arrival, students are taught how to use their yurt wood stoves, chop firewood and proper snow removal techniques. These crucial chores serve to create a communal bond between students and offer a lesson in accountability. Students learn quickly that their personal and communal responsibilities have direct, and often cold, consequences. When someone isn’t designated or forgets to stoke the fire in the middle of the night, everyone will suffer a cold morning in the yurt. At the Alzar School, snow and winter are a part of life and offer valuable lessons for all.