Dartmouth Carnival was a big step forward for the Middlebury Ski Team. For the first time this season we were the third place team on the EISA circuit! Before diving into the nordic races, I want to extend a congratulations to Mary and Yina, a couple of alpine lady panthers, who had breakthrough performances in the GS race, notching a 5th and a 9th respectively. Its awesome to see our alpine team crush it.
Now, on to Craftsbury and the nordic races. Friday brought our first snowy race of the season, with beautiful flakes falling from the sky all day long. The cold temperatures also meant this was the first purely hard wax day for the 5 / 10k classic. I think it goes without saying, we all thoroughly enjoyed racing with snow falling down, though it also meant soft, tough conditions. Whoever worked the hardest and dug the deepest on the soft snow was likely to come out on top.
On the women’s side, Annie Pokorny lead the way with another strong 2nd place performance; though I didn’t see her I heard she was looking strong and smooth the entire time. The rest of the girls team had some great races as well; our seniors Hilary and Keely posted some of their strongest results of the season, rounding out our scorers in 22nd and 24th. Issy also had a breakthrough classic performance, notching a 26th. And with Stella in 25th and Kelsey in 30th, our women’s team accomplished one of their goals for the season, getting all 6 racers in the top 30!
For the men, Ben stayed consistent with a solid 7th place in the 10k classic. Lusty battled the soft conditions and another tough starting spot, as he was, again, the hare for Sam Tarling to try and chase down. Dmac and I posted another couple of top 30s, in 28th and 25th respectively, but Sam was the guy who broke out this weekend. I had the pleasure of seeing him on course during his second lap, and he was lookin’ fine. Sam posted a 35th, getting solidly into the top 40 for his first time. Jack and Nick rounded out the guys with another couple top 50 performances.
Saturday brought the sunshine and good times to Craftsbury as it was relay day and, as always at Dartmouth carnival, carni crush. Carni crush provides us skiers with the opportunity to make a valentine (of any kind) for the someone we have been eyeing all season. Needless to say, some awesome shows went down. Chris Stock reminded us all that his dance moves are unparalleled while our own Hilary Rich kept it, as always, super classy.
As far as the relays go, Jack and I led out the Middlebury mens teams in a confusing start. I had the (unexpected) pleasure of leading the race out for the first couple ks, which was super fun. But I couldn’t hang with the attacks up the big climbs, and brought the team in a little further back than I would have liked. However, Dylan skied a super strong second leg to bring us into 5th place (and 3rd for scoring). He caught and then broke the Williams, Bates, and St. Lawrence skiers in front of him. Then Lusty finished strong for our team, securing that 3rd scoring spot behind the Dartmouth and UVM teams. Jack, Sam, and Nick skied well for the second team, gaining valuable relay experience and continuing their strong freshman campaigns
Our women’s teams were lead out by none other than the fabulous Jillian Richie (aka Hilary Rich) and Stella Holt. The ladies field also broke apart pretty early, as the still soft conditions made for yet another slugfest. Hilary and Stella skied strong though, to tag off to the 2nd legs in solid positions. Keely had another strong race despite falling on the downhill, as her and Kelsey skied pretty close together in a nice little pack before tagging off to the finishers, Annie and Issy. Annie showed yet again why she is one of the strongest women in the east and made up a large chunk of time to bring the first panther team into 4th place, while Issy kept her skating solid to finish 9th for the second team.
We had a wonderful weekend up in Craftsbury, but now were getting amped up for our own carnival. With the storm over the weekend and the newly installed snowmaking system running smoothly at Rikert, we will be hosting Middlebury carnival on the Tormondsen Family race course for the first time. We hope to see you this weekend, and get excited!
Sorry about the length, I’ll do better next time. But until then, have a wonderful week!
And here are some pictures from the weekend (courtesy of myself):