- Caleb Horsch
2023 Alpine Season Preview
The summer is over, and as the cold temperatures creep back into the east, the thirteen alpine teams of the EISA will come together for the first carnival of the season. While conditions have been challenging for most of the young season, Maine is ready to host the east's best. The season starts with the Bates Carnival as the conference returns to Sunday River after a two-year hiatus.
On Thursday, the field will take on the GS starting on T2 and finishing on Monday Morning. The race promises to be exciting, with fast speeds and fantastic snow. On the women's side, the race will be without the top two finishers in the GS standings last year, opening the door for others. Finishing third in last year's standings and tenth at NCAA championships was Marina Vilanova from the University of Vermont, who won the opening GS race at the Colby carnival last season. Also, gunning for the top on the podium is the Dartmouth trio of Gwen Watenmaker, Olivia Holm, and Ellie Curtis, with the latter the top eastern skier in the GS at NCAA champs last season.
For the men, the question is whether anyone can stop Jagge Lindstoel of UVM, who podiumed in four of the five GS races last year, winning three of them. He will be challenged by Middlebury's Bradshaw Underhill, who capped his Freshmen season with three-second places in GS last year and earned rookie of the year and first-team all-east honors.
After the GS, all eyes will turn to slalom as racers will battle what is likely to be a wet and thrilling race. Defending rookie of the year Moa Clementson of UVM led the pack in the discipline last year, winning three races and compiling 416 points in the process. The Catamounts were also buoyed last season by the success of Caroline Jones, who finished third in the Slalom standings with one win and three podiums. The duo helped lead UVM to a win in the Dartmouth Cup, awarded to the best women's alpine and nordic team.
A dominating force across all events, Jagge Lindstoel put his stamp on the EISA last year by winning all five of the Slalom races on top of his three GS wins. Behind him, the battle for second was intense, Mathias Tefre, also of UVM, finished the year in second place, and Kalle Wagner of Dartmouth finished in third. The UVM men were, like their women's team, awarded the Rikert Cup given to the top men's alpine and Nordic teams.
Hosts Bates College will hope to use their 'home-field advantage' on the slope. Led by Bo Underhill and Sequoia Anstine, who scored multiple Top-15 results last season, the Bobcats are ready to pounce.
Some athletes will wear their colleges colors for the last time this season, with one last shot at glory. Others will experience their first carnival, eager to make their mark. Regardless of experience, it will be down to the individual when they push out of the gate this week. A new season brings excitement and opportunity. Will one of the skiers mentioned above take the top spot, or will someone new dethrone them? Time will tell, but a critical race for all hoping to contend for an NCAA title awaits at Sunday river.