Students during the hailstorm, by Aspen, dancing to Canyon day scheduled live music.
Midday on April 1, 2023, a clap of thunder sounded across the Canyon. Curious students turned their heads to the sky, with some howling in response to the echoing omen, and others simply shrugging, continuing their activities of pulling ivy, grilling bean burgers, and planting native foliage. Within a minute, hail began to fall.
“We could tell something big was coming…but you couldn’t tell at first it was hail,” recounts student Eve Howell (‘25). The hail came in conjunction with the beginning of the band Sweaty Room’s live performance, with Naomi March (‘25) remarking that it began on “the first strum of the guitar” of the song “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies. While some of the band members, student musicians Taylor Maxwell, Auden Friedman, Elias Sisneros, and Lina Gaylord, were at first worried that the hail would drive away audience members, it was instead met with zealous dancing, and as the hail’s intensity increased with the song, a truly magical experience occurred.
“It just kept raining harder and harder, and they kept playing…it was crazy because the loudness of the band plus the loudness of the hail…it just came together,” March details. “It was rapturous,” Faith Roche (‘25) recounts, “I felt so ripped into the present moment.” Sisneros stated that “everyone was jumping around and going insane” as the hail pelted, and Friedman said that it “matched the vibes” of the music.
At its peak, the hailstones were nearly the size of peas, and so abundant that students stated that the Grove looked like it was covered in snow. While the phenomenon only lasted minutes, rapidly giving way to a type of unstable blue sky unique to spring, it was described by Jadakai Price (‘25) as a “great moment of community bonding and happiness,” partially due to people “being pelted with ice” painfully, Roche adds. Maxwell remarked that, “my fingers were completely numb, it was awesome,” describing the particular feeling of exhilarating coldness that well reflects this year’s canyon day, which began as a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning.