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Midd wins first Carnival in a decade

It was an exceptional day at the Middlebury Snow Bowl, and not just because of the snowblower on the pitch.

Middlebury College won their first Carnival in more than a decade. Their overall score of 915 points edged out perennial favorites Dartmouth and UVM, who tallied 908 and 875, respectively. Colby College was a distant fourth with 541 points, followed by Williams College with 526.

The giant slalom (GS) races were held, as usual, on the peculiar Allen trail. The Allen features the east’s most distinct start. And I’m not referring to the twenty-foot snow tower that racers clamber up as they approach start gate. The first five or six gates of the Middlebury GS are essentially flat. There might even be a little uphill. And because an extended flat is a really great place to either lose or gain speed, there’s always a debate around this time of year among Carnival racers:

I think the key is to skate.

Naw, man. You have to tuck. Definitely.

I saw video of Rob Cone skating and tucking a few years ago.

What if we skate and tuck and pole a little, too?

Well, what are the top guys doing today?

Maybe we should ask Caroline Bartlett or Erik Arvidsson. In the midst of a stacked results sheet, the two Panthers authoritatively swept the top podium spots: Bartlett won the women’s race in a combined time of 2:12.57, and Arvidsson took the men’s race in 2:05.87.

Skate or tuck?

The Middlebury men’s squad took the GS win over Dartmouth. Their 136 points beat out Dartmouth’s 122. UVM was third with 94.

Midd and Dartmouth skiers claimed the top-6 spots as Arvidsson was joined on the podium by first-year teammate Tim Gavett. Gavett finished in a time of 2:06.18, just ahead of Dartmouth’s Drew Duffy (3rd; 2:06.27). David Domonoske (DAR; 2:06.33) skied from bib 33 to finish fourth behind his teammate — and hot on his heels was Middlebury’s Justin Alkier, who took fifth place in a time of 2:06.85. The sixth finisher was Kipling Weisel (DAR; 2:06.91). Finally, Saint Michael’s College’s Benjamin Throm put a stop the blue-and-green party with his seventh-place result: 2:07.09.

Middlebury's Tim Gavett finished second today in 2:06.18. (Photo: Cam Ciccone)

In the midst of all the action today, we saw a rare re-start of the race’s second run after the race had already begun. After the Allen’s top flat, the trail takes racers careening down the Abyss — which is just what it sounds like: a precipitous drop after the top flat. From there, the Chute sends them into a long flat past Randi’s Roost (where the hundred-odd rowdy Middlebury students gather to cheer the race).

On the pitches above the Roost, the snow surface was ripply hard ice. After the Roost, the snow was rotten. Soft. The second-run course set sent racers arcing through particularly bad snow, and the course began degrading quickly after just a handful of skiers.

The race was stopped. The surface was raked and shoveled in pursuit of the the hard surface below. So much soft snow was removed in the process that a snow blower was brought up to disperse the berms. And then it was discovered that a few gates farther down the course also were at risk of the same situation. Panels were moved. Racers were invited to re-inspect the course, and after a bit of confusion and debate, the second run re-run was scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

A whole new level of course maintenance.

But it all worked out.

The UVM women won the GS race by nine points over Middlebury, 127-118. Dartmouth was third with 110, and UNH took fourth with 81 points.

As noted earlier, Bartlett claimed the overall ‘W.’ UVM placed three women in the top-5 to claim the win: the Catamounts’ Francesca English took second in 2:13.10. Josefine Selvaag (2:13.29) was fourth, and her teammate Mille Graesdal followed .01 seconds later for fifth place in 2:13.30. The third podium spot was claimed by Dartmouth’s Stephanie Currie (2:13.14). The spread between second and fifth places was only two-tenths of one second.

After the race, EISA awarded its annual Service Award, which is given each year to an individual who has contributed significantly to the collegiate ski racing community. This year’s recipient was Peter Mackey, who retired this summer after working four decades at the Middlebury Snow Bowl (including fourteen as General Manager). Throughout this time, he was a strong supporter of both EISA ski racing and skiing as a broader community activity in the Middlebury area.

Peter Mackey, recipient of the EISA Service Award.

It’s a weekend of thirds. Today we (kind of) had three runs (if you count the second run and its re-run as two separate runs). And tomorrow we have the rare third day of Carnival racing. We head back to Lyme, NH, for the rescheduled Dartmouth GS races.

It’s a long weekend — a grind for the racers — but isn’t this what we love about Carnival season? We wait all year and then race, race, race.

Stay tuned!


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