Sub-zero mornings and delayed start times. Balmy fifty-degree afternoons with the course baked by the sun. The White Mountains, the Green, the tired dirt roads of Huntington Vermont that lead to Sleepy Hollow, and the enhanced fanfare of an enormous UVM Carnival at Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Weathered seniors at the top, baby-faced freshman nipping at their heels (and occasionally leaving them in the dust).
The 2022 return to carnival action transcended expectations, reviving the pomp of a singular Northeast tradition, and the season ends with a lot to be proud of in the EISA. This post is a look back at return to a greater semblance of winter skiing normalcy.
Before getting to a review of carnival action, EISA skiers competed in other competitions, beyond the carnival weekends. Ben Ogden, from UVM, won two National Championships this year – check out our recap for a look at how the east did at the NCAA Championships. Current and former EISA skiers also competed at the winter Olympics, including Ogden and Remi Drolet, who represented USA and Canada respectively.
Below, read a weekend-by-weekend recap of the carnival season, including winners, podiums, and skiers of the week.
Waterville, ME welcomed the first weekend back this winter, an abbreviated weekend hosted by Colby College. The single day of results made skier of the week easy to calculate. The races were long-distance freestyle, and the women’s top three were Waverly Gebhardt, Garvie Tobin, and Margaret Gellert. Ben Ogden won the men’s race, followed by teammates
A tone setter for the rest of the season, UVM won the total scoring on day one, with a team score of 250 points. Dartmouth was a close second, just three points back, trailed by third-place Middlebury.
Skiers of the weekend
Ben Ogden, UVM. His time: 48:41.6.
Waverly Gebhardt, UVM. Her time: 56:47.6.
The skiers returned in stages: Colby offered New England’s collegiate Nordic skiers their first weekend back, while Sleepy Hollow provided their first full weekend back. A newly homologated course, the family-run ski area saw some of its fastest skiing ever during St. Mike’s Carnival.
Freshman Jasmine Drolet stole the show on the second weekend, winning back-to-back races in her first ever EISA Carnival. In the first, she was followed by fellow freshman Jasmine Lyons and then graduate student Anna Bizyukova. On day two, she was followed by Anna Bizyukova (this would become a running theme, Bizyukova and Drolet on the podium) and then Waverly Gebhardt.
Matias Øvrum, on the men’s side, also won both his races on weekend two. On the first day, second place went to Scott Schulz, from UNH, and third went to UVM’s Jacob Nystedt. On day two, he was followed by teammates Finn Sweet and Gregory Burt.
Like at Colby, UVM also walked away with the highest team score, trailed by Dartmouth.
Skiers of the week
Jasmine Drolet, Dartmouth. Her times: 27:08.3 in the 10k freestyle, 14:17.4 in the 5k classic.
Matias Øvrum, UVM. His times: 23:45.2 in the 10k freestyle, 12:29.5 in the 5k classic.
After St. Mike’s Carnival was UVM’s, an event that also hosted the region’s top juniors and Supertour athletes, titled the Henchey Cup in honor of a man who invested time and care into Nordic skiing competitions throughout Vermont.
Skiers raced a 1.4k freestyle sprint on day one, and a 10k classic on day two. The EISA matched up well against the field of experienced skiers, truly competing for podium positions. The day one podium for the men: Matias Øvrum first, Gregory Burt second, and Dartmouth skier Luke Allan third. Anna Bizyukova secured first for the catamount women, followed by two Dartmouth skiers. Callie Young finished second, and Jasmine Drolet followed up a banner first-ever carnival in Sleepy Hollow with a nice third place for her second.
Day two shook out much like day one. Drolet then Bizyukova; Erin Bianco rounded out the women’s podium. On the men’s side, UVM’s Finn Sweet finished first, followed by Middlebury’s Peter Wolter, who in turn was followed by Gregory Burt.
Like the last two weekends, UVM finished top of the team scores, Dartmouth placed second.
Skiers of the week
Gregory Burt, UVM. His times: 3:28 in the 1.4k sprint, 28:13.9 in the 10k classic.
Anna Bizyukova, UVM. Her times: 4:10 in the sprint, 32:09.3 in the classic.
The EISA headed to Dartmouth after a raucous weekend at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, which saw both new and familiar faces step up onto the wooden podiums.
On day one, Peter Wolter won the men’s 10k classic followed by Luke Allan and Scott Schulz, and Jasmine Drolet won the women’s 5k classic, with Anna Bizyukova in second and Jasmine Lyons in third. On day two, Allan finished ahead of Wolter, and Lyons finished ahead of Drolet, with Bizyukova maintaining a podium spot, third.
Dartmouth ended the Nordic day on their home turf in first place, trailed by UVM in a quick role reversal. UNH finished in third.
Skiers of the week
Peter Wolter, Middlebury. His times: 28:06.5 in the classic, 26:10.7 in the freestyle.
Jasmine Lyons, UNH. Her times: 31:13.0 in the freestyle, 16:45.0 in the classic.
Middlebury Carnival followed Dartmouth’s and was a race through the Green Mountain National Forest. Day one played host to a larger crowd than usual, as alpine racers crowded the finish after their own races were cancelled for the day.
Jacob Nystedt had himself a breakout weekend in Vermont, finishing first in both the 10k classic and the 20k freestyle at the Rikert Nordic Center. In the classic race, the men’s podium was rounded out by Peter Wolter and then Bowdoin’s Elliott Ketchel, and in the freestyle race Scott Schulz finished second followed by Peter Wolter.
The UVM women ran the 5k classic on day one, with the following podium: Anna Bizyukova, then Waverly Gebhardt, then Phoebe Sweet. On day two, the Dartmouth women punched back. Margaret Gellert finished in first, Haley Brewster (UVM) finished in second, and Garvie Tobin finished in third.
In the team standings, UVM finished first again, followed by Middlebury, followed by Dartmouth.
Skiers of the week
Jacob Nystedt, UVM. His times: 24:00.9 in the classic 10k, 51:56.7 in the freestyle.
Renae Anderson, Bowdoin. Her times and finishes: sixth on Friday and up a place to fifth on Saturday, with times of 46:39.0 and 13:58.6.
UNH and the non-profit Jackson XC were given the honor of hosting the final carnival of the winter, and the final tailgate behind the Eagle Mountain House.
Back from a winter spent representing the United States, Ben Ogden won both men’s races in definitive fashion, trailed by Scott Schulz and Jacob Nystedt on day one, and Peter Wolter and Nystedt again on day two.
Margaret Gellert won the 15k freestyle on day one, suggesting she’s the class of the EISA for those long-distance freestyle races, followed by Anna Bizyukova and Waverly Gebhardt. Anna Bizyukova won what she said might be her “last ever competitive” race on day two, followed by teammate Waverly Gebhardt and Erin Bianco.
The catamounts ended the season in control. They finished first in team scoring. Second went to the home team, UNH.
Skiers of the week
Erin Bianco, Colby. Her times and finishes: 44:15.5 on Friday, just a second behind third, and 15:25.1 on Saturday to secure a podium finish.
Scott Schulz, UNH. His times and finishes: second with a time of 52:00.7 on day one, and on day two he finished in sixth, though less than a second separated his time of 27:04.3 from fifth place.