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Many Marlboro students find that they need to balance their academic challenges with physical ones, and also that Vermont is a fabulous place to stay active in the outdoors. The Outdoor Program (O.P.) follows the seasons with regular sea kayaking and whitewater outings, caving, climbing, and backpacking. Seventeen miles of trails crisscross the 360-acre campus for excellent mountain biking, hiking, and snowshoeing or cross-country skiing when the snow flies. The nearby Green Mountain National Forest offers students a natural playground, with hiking trails, rivers, lakes, and ski resorts within 30 minutes of campus. Two-and-half hours away lie the outdoor playgrounds of the White Mountains, Adirondacks, Lake Champlain and the Atlantic Coast.
In addition to short local trips, the Marlboro O.P. usually makes one or two major expeditions each school year, with destinations and activities based on student interests. Past trips have included canoeing and rock climbing along the Rio Grande, paddling through the Everglades, and trips to Quebec, Jamaica, and Costa Rica that combined adventure events with community service projects and academic research.
Athletic activities at Marlboro are organized by the Recreation Program, and range from organized sports to relatively untidy but thoroughly enjoyable events. Soccer is the most organized, and each fall the Marlboro team competes with other nearby colleges to the avid delight of other community members. Basketball, ultimate Frisbee, softball, and hockey, and four-square have all have had their years, depending on the level of interest, and you can usually count on a pick-up game against the staff and faculty at some point in the year. Perhaps the favorite, and bordering on chaotic, sports event is the annual broomball tournament, when teams square on a frozen campus pond to vie for the coveted "golden broom." Other athletic activities include yoga, martial arts, and working out on the indoor climbing wall.