The course skied today at the Colby Carnival is known for having a bounty of technical aspects. It begins, immediately, with a tough uphill climb repeated eight times over the course of the race, and the way back to the stadium holds a series of B climbs, most notably Hero Hill.
In the past, the course also had a reputation for difficult technical downhills. Though those can still be daunting to the trail’s incipient skiers, they’ve been altered to make the skiing easier.
Patrick Cote, race director at Quarry Road and a volunteer snowmaker, said “most of those tough technical downhills that we have a reputation for have been tamed in recent years. A lot of work has been done so they ski smoothly now.”
It was the UVM team that tamed the whole course today, with Dartmouth close on their heels. Waverly Gebhardt, of UVM, skied to first in the women’s mass start at 9 am, finishing with a time of 56:47.6. Three Dartmouth skiers – Rena Schwartz, Garvie Tobin, and Margaret Gellert – finished tight on Gebhardt’s heels, with Kate Oldham from Middlebury rounding out the top five. Schwartz and Tobin made it to the podium behind Gebhardt, finishing second and third.
After the men’s mass start at 11 am, Ben Ogden finished first, after 48:41.6 of skiing. He was followed closely by three teammates – Matias Oevrum, Jacob Nystedt, and Gregory Burt. The men’s top five was rounded out by Dartmouth skier Luke Allan. Oevrum finished second and Nystedt finished third, completing an all-UVM podium for the 20k freestyle skate.
UVM left today on top, with a team score of 250, followed by Dartmouth with 247 and Middlebury with 179. UNH and Bowdoin finished fourth and fifth respectively. Host Colby currently sits just outside the top five, with only one point separating its score of 149 from Bowdoin’s 150.
Today saw strong races from older, returning athletes (as predicted in our season preview), but some of the younger skiers raced well, too. Allan, Tobin, and Oldham are all skiers for the future – the only U20 skiers to finish today in the top five of their respective fields.
Now, it’s time to wait for tomorrow’s 5k classic. Will UVM maintain their dominance, or can Dartmouth edge above them? Can the home team steal a few results? How will the U20s perform tomorrow? These questions will be answered tomorrow, and even more will be posed. Make sure you check back in.