People often ask me about our name. Why do we call ourselves the Winterline Global Skills Program? What is a winterline and why did we choose this name for our company?
A winterline is an atmospheric phenomenon. It is a second horizon that develops under special conditions during an inversion when warm air is trapped beneath cold air.
Winterlines don’t occur very often or in very many places in the world. But, in the lower ranges of the Himalayas in northern India – where several of our staff (including myself) attended an international boarding school – winterlines occurred almost daily during the months from mid-October to mid-February.
During these months, warm smoky air from all the cooking fires down below us would mix with the dust of the Indian plains and rise up into the air. But instead of dissipating, it would be met with a mass of cold air coming down from the snow-capped peaks of the high Himalayas. And there it would be trapped.
If you were looking up at the winterline from down below on the plains, you wouldn’t see anything except warm smoky air. However, if you lived where we did at 7,000 ft, you were up above this mass of warm air, and could look down into it.
In and of itself, there was nothing special to see. But if you looked out toward the horizon, particularly as the sun was setting in the evening, you would see a line, a new horizon. The rays of the setting sun would bounce off this dense air mass creating beautiful and colorful displays of light. Much like how clouds in the sky make a sunset more beautiful by reflecting the changing light as the sun drops behind the horizon, a winterline has a similar effect. Reflecting and catching the sun’s light as it drops behind the horizon, a winterline creates a band of light across the sky! A land horizon is static, but a winterline, because it is up in the air, allows the light to play across it.
So what does all of this have to do with us? Well, we named our program the Winterline Global Skills Program because it gives our participants a new perspective, new tools and skills to experience their lives in a new way. Our program takes students up and out of their day-to-day lives, and puts them in a new place with a new vantage point from where they can see things differently. And from this place, just like being up in the mountains at 7,000 ft, they can look beyond the horizon that they are used to seeing and see a new horizon that is just as real. A new horizon that is beautiful, that reflects and refracts light in new and different ways – just like the winterline we named our program after.
We want our students to embrace their experience, push past their fears and insecurities, and allow themselves to travel to that place where they can see beyond the horizon to a new and more beautiful line in the sky. To look for and follow the Winterline.