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Middlebury Day "2": Snow Bowl GS Recap

After a last-minute cancellation of yesterday’s slalom race due to maintenance issues with the Middlebury Snow Bowl’s chairlift—the third race to be cancelled or rescheduled this season—the alpine skiers of the EISA were chomping at the bit to get some racing in. A timing mishap brought a slight delay, but with snow flurries setting in and a few particularly cold gusts of wind the GS finally got off and running!

Middlebury's Justin Alkier on his way to the win (Image courtesy of @camciccone)

The Middlebury GS is notorious in the quiver of EISA GS races for a long, flat section up top that opens onto the first pitch. If you can get fast out of the start and stay fast through a grueling first few gates (that often require some serious skating), then you’re in good shape. For many in the EISA, the race is defined by how much speed you can carry out of that flat. Once you’re off onto the first pitch, however, you’ve still got a course to ski… and the fickle twists and turns of the Allen trail can be punishing to racers who aren’t familiar with the terrain.

Once the Snow Bowl reveals its secrets, however, you can find speed in places other skiers wouldn’t dare to look. I caught up with Scott Macpherson, head coach of Harvard Alpine and the architect of today’s first set. He emphasized the difficulty of ensuring skier safety over the Allen trail’s rolling knolls, which can launch you if the course sets you up with too much speed. As talented as the EISA skiers are, they perform far better on snow than in low-earth orbit.

Armed with intimate familiarity with the trail and the psychological boost of a rabid swarm of Middlebury students screaming their support, the Panthers had quite the day. In the women’s field, four Midd skiers ripped into the top 10, with the rest of the spots going to skiers from Boston College, Colby, Dartmouth, and UVM. In addition, the women’s teams of Dartmouth and UVM built on an already considerable string of successes this season to close out the podium in Green and More Green (and a little Gold). Dartmouth’s Ellie Curtis grabbed third place, while Stephanie Lebby and Justine Clement—two of UVM’s most reliable top performers—grabbed second and first place, respectively.

Over in the men’s field, the podium looked just a bit different. The top 10 was filled with a familiar set of skiers from Colby, PSU, UNH, and UVM, but the podium was Panther city. Middlebury freshman Bradshaw Underhill chased greatness with a second-place finish, while senior Justin Alkier—a veritable elder statesman—grabbed the win and showed the league what four years of Snow Bowl Sending can do for you.

Additionally, Joachim Jagge Lindstoel—who has won five of six carnival races leading into today, including both slalom races at Dartmouth last weekend—was knocked clean off the podium by UVM rookie Kyle Alexander. In the first Catamount carnival start of his career, Alexander rocketed onto the podium with a third-place finish.

Tomorrow brings even more Snow Bowl GS as the league races in a long-awaited make-up for the UVM GS!


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