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5 Winter Traditions at Milton Hershey School

When Milton and Catherine Hershey founded Milton Hershey School, they wanted students to have proper recreation and plenty of opportunities to stay active. The winter time was no exception.

Ice Skating

During the winter, when not at class or doing chores, students could often be found outside in the chilly temperature staying warm by having fun. The January 1947 issue of the student-produced School Industrialist informed us that, “Winter is finally here. We anxiously await the snow because it means a lot of fun for us all. Again some of our dare-devils are going to try their luck at skating. More power to them, because they’ll surely need it.”

Ice skating at MHS in the 1960s

Ice Hockey

MHS students enjoyed ice skating on ponds and playing hockey in the community league. On occasion, students had opportunities to play with the Hershey Bears hockey players.

The ice hockey program gave students a feeling of belonging to the community.

During the 1960s, several students received professional figure skating lessons with participation in the annual ice carnival.

Winter at MHS throughout history


When there was a large snow storm, many students remember riding in a sleigh pulled by a horse or mule to get food from another student home. Others remember going to the Main on a bobsled to get bread and milk.

Sleigh riding during the winter


With fresh snow on the ground, students enjoyed sledding and building forts for snowball battles. At the farmhomes, intricate paths were constructed over hills, around rocks, and past silos. The younger students sometimes played snow tag in paths they shoveled through the student home yard. Other students competed in snowman-building competitions with very impressive results.

Sledding at MHS in the 1930s

Indoor Activities

When it was too cold to skate or sled, students enjoyed innovative indoor activities, such as playing basketball in the school gymnasiums or an empty barn with fruit baskets if they were feeling extra creative. The first cottage homes built in the late 1920s featured a basement area for wintertime play.

Indoor activities during the winter at MHS

Throughout the winter months, Milton Hershey School students stay active by planning fun indoor activities—such as gymnastics and dance parties for the younger students. When the campus is blanketed in snow, students of all ages enjoy spending time outdoors on the school’s beautiful campus.

Learn more about how students and staff stay active during the winter months.

MHS students in the snow

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.