Dartmouth's lead builds as Big Green skiers take GS wins
The St. Lawrence University Carnival at Whiteface. GS. A few things stand out in my memory of this Carnival. Unfortunately, they’re all overshadowed by the burning sensation in my frost-nipped fingers and toes.
It was frigid and sunny out on Draper’s today. (Well, that’s not true. It was sunny until the North Country sun dipped below the horizon at, like, 2:00 p.m., so I’ll rephrase that: It was frigid out on Draper’s today.) In contrast to slalom races on this hill, GS races take advantage of an extra pitch. As a result, the trail takes the form, loosely, of a ziggurat: steep-flat-steep-flat. Maintaining elevation is key, as is carrying speed onto the flats. Ski Racing 101, you might say. But the transition from the first pitch to the first flat occurs in the midst of a significant trail turn, and the drop towards the final pitch is especially abrupt. Ski Racing 201?
Most notable: the surface was rock-hard ice and the courses were offset. Conditions demanded that racers arc.
The team that did this best was Dartmouth College. The Big Green built on yesterday’s lead and finished the alpine events with a commanding 495 points. UNH held on to second place, wrapping up the weekend with 371, and Middlebury College moved ahead two places to claim third on the weekend — just edging out UVM, 356 points to 354.
Atop the standings is exactly where Dartmouth Women’s Head Coach John Dwyer wants to be.
“Every year we set goals,” Dwyer said yesterday, after the SL races. “This year we want to try to win every Carnival.”
In pursuit of that goal today, his women’s squad certainly pulled their weight. Claire Thomas won the women’s GS in a combined time of 2:17.08. Her teammates Steph Currie (2:18.04) and Hannah Utter (2:19.93) claimed third and fifth places, respectively. As an added exclamation, the Big Green’s Alexa Dlouhy finished off the day in seventh (2:20.87).
In the midst of all that green was a bit of blue: UNH’s Emma Woodhouse (2:17.60) took second place for the second time this weekend. The Wildcat was in first after the day’s initial run, but ultimately fell back a few positions during Run 2. She was able to hold on for second, proving that yesterday’s fine SL performance was no fluke.
Dartmouth’s Drew Duffy also matched yesterday’s finish. The first-year Dartmouth skier won the men’s GS race in a time of 2:10.34. I would also like to note that, like yesterday, he also won both runs today. That’s a heckuva way to start a Carnival career.
Guillaume Grand of St. Michael’s College took second place (2:10.62), and St. Lawrence College’s Jake Van Deursen thrilled the hometown crowd with third (2:11.47).
After the weekend’s races had concluded, I caught up with SLU Head Coach and Carnival host Willi Steinrotter. He was elated with Van Deursen’s podium finish.
“It’s been a long time. Long overdue,” Steinrotter said. “Jake had some medical issues that he was dealing with in the spring, and for him to come back in the first weekend and have a podium and a top-10, it’s just awesome. He works so hard at it. It’s definitely sweet.”
Grand led a strong charge by the Purple Knights: they placed three men in the top-8 and won the men’s competition outright, beating Dartmouth by three points.
St. Mike's Assistant Coach Jamie Bender was pleased with his team’s finish.
“It’s awesome to see our guys, especially some of our younger guys like Ben [Throm (8th; 2:13.10)], do really well,” Bender said. “It’s awesome to see Colby [Jordan (5th; 2:11.98)] come back from his ACL surgery and throw it in the top-10. And it’s great to see our senior leader Guillaume finish in second.”
This weekend showcased fine skiing, as always. Now that the First Carnival jitters are out of our system, it can only get better.
Next week we head to Mittersill in Franconia, NH, for the UNH Carnival. Hopefully it's a bit warmer.