By: Caleb Horsch
The EISA circus is days away from kicking off, with Colby College hosting the opening carnival at the iconic Sugarloaf Resort. Some of the best skiers in the United States, if not the world, will crisscross New England for six consecutive weeks as they compete for a berth to the NCAA Championships hosted by the University of Colorado. Some key absences and departures will be felt this season, making it anyone's guess as to who will triumph.
Cole Palchak (University of Vermont) - flyingpointroad.com
An unfortunate postponement of the planned University of Vermont Carnival at Stowe Mountain forced a delayed start to the season. It indicated the challenging early season conditions faced by the Eastern US. However, Sugarloaf is locked and ready to go after receiving 21 inches of snow over the last week.
Check out the teams that will compete for a national title this year, the returning skiers who will be a force, and the freshmen who will look to make their mark.
Best Returners: Sequoia Anstine (Jr.) and Bo Underhill (Sr.)
Freshmen to watch: Juliette Hoder
Six women scored EISA points last season for the Bobcats, and Bo Underhill put in an impressive campaign with 4 Top-17s. Bates returns all but two skiers this season and adds two Freshmen to a squad that finished consistently in the Top 10. Their women’s side possesses exceptional depth, and they have a solid men’s team as they will look to return a skier to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2020.
Best Returners: Morgan Ellis (Sr.) and Bode Flanigan (So.)
Freshmen to watch: Nick Kirwood
Last year, five men and four women scored EISA points for the Eagles, with Jasmine Whittaker delivering a 12th-place finish and Spencer Smith landing in the Top 16 three times. BC has looked sharp at opening FIS races across New England, with Lauren Hunter and Bode Flanigan winning races in the New Year. They will be without Spencer Smith but have grabbed six Freshmen as they look to send a skier to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2021.
Best Returners: Lydia Riddell (Jr.) and Tucker Strauch (Sr.)
Freshmen to watch: Harrison Digangi
The Mules secured their first All-American since 2017 and grabbed two podiums from two skiers during the carnival season. The women’s side showed impressive consistency throughout the year, with four different skiers registering a Top 10. Colby notes three Freshmen on the men’s side who are likely to immediately contend for Top-10s as they look to build upon one of their best seasons in a decade. They will be without Senior Ella Spear, who injured her knee at the January Nor-Ams at Stratton, and Chauncey Morgan, who graduated following two consecutive NCAA qualifying campaigns. Still, they return a deep team on the men’s side and a women’s team with impressive top-end speed.
Molly Mueller (Colby College) - flyingpointroad.com
Best Returners: Caity Regrut (Gr.) Jackson Musial (So.)
Freshmen to watch: Ashley Garside
The Charger's season was highlighted with five skiers in the second run at the Saint Michael’s Carnival GS. Although they received no EISA points last season, they returned all but three skiers for the 2024 campaign.
Best Returners: Allie Resnick (Jr.) and Oscar Zimmer (So.)
Freshmen to watch: Mary Bocock
Dartmouth was one of only three teams to qualify a full men’s and women’s alpine team for the NCAA Championships and was a force to be reckoned with throughout the carnival season. Allie Resnick was near dominant, winning all but one race she finished. The Big Green returns six NCAA qualifiers, including current US Ski team members. The rich tradition of success looks likely to continue this season with the addition of US Ski team member Mary Bocock, who started her first World Cup race early this season.
Dan Gillis (Dartmouth) - flyingpointroad.com
Best Returners: Elsie Halvorsen (Sr.) and Luke Kearing (So.)
Freshmen to watch: Josh Rosenberg
EISA Coach of the Year, Scott MacPherson, will bring a small but formidable squad to the circuit this season. Fredrik Willumsen Haug qualified for the NCAA Championships last year, delivering a podium in the opening carnival and adding two sixth-place finishes. Unfortunately, due to injury, the Crimson will be without Haug and down to two women to start the season. However, they possess three men with consistent Top-30 and possible NCAA Qualifying speed.
Best Returners: Mika-Anne Reha (Jr.) and Brad Underhill (Jr.)
Freshmen to watch: Nicholas Unkovskoy
Last year, Stever Bartlett's squad qualified a full women's team for the NCAA Championships and put two on the EISA All-East team. The women's side was consistently in the mix throughout the carnival season, registering six Top 5 results. The Panthers have plenty to be excited about this year with the fast early season speed displayed by Mike-Anne Reha. They will, unfortunately, be without sophomore Sophia Tozzi, who tore her ACL at the early season Nor-Am races but return a fast group of girls. Their men's team will also likely shake it up with the best lead by captain Brad Underhill.
Mika Anne Reha (Middlebury) - flyingpointroad.com
Best Returners: Tindra Bergstrand (So.) and Max Haussmann (Jr.)
Freshmen to watch: Vincent Fosser
The international Plymouth State team will be reeling from the loss of Hanna Larsson-Nathhorst. Still, it will look to improve on a strong 2023 season where they qualified three skiers for NCAA Championships and landed an All-American. Max Haussmann returns for his junior season aiming to add to his six Top-5s from last year.
Best Returner: Audrey Higgins-Lopez (So.) and Alec Nolan (So.)
Freshmen to watch: Simon Trudeau
The Saints will lose two-time NCAA qualifier Tommy Kenosh, who triumphed with five Top 15 finishes in Slalom but will look to rebound with Audrey Higgins-Lopez and Alec Nolan. Higgins-Lopez came out of left field last season as she came very close to qualifying for the NCAA in her first season on the circuit. Isabella Amico will also add to the team effort, coming off a season with eight Top-30 results. With 26 rostered skiers, the Saints are one of the largest teams on the circuit as they look to fill the hole left by Kenosh.
Best Returners: Helene Kristofferson (Jr.) and Simen Strand (Sr.)
Freshmen to watch: Ada Jones
Five All-American performances from four skiers accented a dominant performance at the NCAA Championships last season. Helene Kristoferson racked up eight Top 5 finishes the previous season with three podiums in GS. The Purple Knights were also buoyed by Eirik Kveno, who finished second in the GS standings. Saint Michael’s will be without Kveno, who transferred out west to the University of Denver, this season. However, they return with three other NCAA qualifiers as they look to repeat their sensational performance from last season.
University of New Hampshire
Best Returners: Zoe Michael (Jr.) and Peder Nersnaes (Sr.)
Freshmen to watch: Shelby Graves
The Wildcats went without an All-American last year but qualified a full team for the NCAA Championships. They look even stronger this season as they return five of six qualifiers and add Colby graduate transfer Cassie Lieblein. They will look to avenge their disappointment from the NCAA and continue their presence at the top of the EISA standings.
Gaia Palamara (University of New Hampshire) - flyingpointroad.com
University of Vermont
Best Returners: Justine Clement (Sr.) and Cole Palchak (Jr.)
Freshmen to watch: Magnus Styren
No team has been able to match the talent of the University of Vermont over the last three seasons. Their top skiers appeared head and shoulders above the field on the men’s side, buoyed by the duo of Mathias Tefre and Jagge Lindstoel. The two graduated last fall, moving the University of Vermont ski team into a new era. That said, there is no shortage of talent on the Catamounts; they picked up a key piece in the transfer of Hanna Larsson-Nathorst for Plymouth State and retained All-EISA skiers Cole Palchak, Moa Clementson, and Justine Clement. UVM won the EISA Championship and four carnivals en route to sending a full team to the NCAA Championships and racking up three All-American honors.
Best Returners: Jane Gutchess (Jr.) and Bennett Snyder (Jr.)
Freshmen to watch: Chloe Lathrop
Eight different girls scored EISA points, led by Chloe Aust, with five Top 18 finishes. Their performances marked them as one of the deepest women's teams, confirmed by a sixth-place finish in the women's GS at their home carnival. It has been a fantastic start of the 2024 season for Jane Gutchess, who has four Top-30s on the Nor-Am circuit; she and Freshmen Chloe Lathrop, amongst others, will look to build on a solid season last year in coach Amber McHugh's second season.