The season started strong with the first races of the UVM Carnival. Hosted at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, the day brought cold sunny skies and firm snowpack for the only EISA Classic Sprint this year. Excitement was in the air and the energy never faltered throughout the long day of racing.
UVM Carnival competitors tucking down a hill in the Classic Sprint (photo courtesy flyingpointroad.com).
In a somewhat rare occurrence, there were more women than men racing today. A very competitive field produced exciting heats this afternoon. Finishing in third place was Lea Stabaek Wenaas from UNH. She is excited about the season and that her "senior year is going to be a good year". Runner-up in the Classic Sprint was Dartmouth skier and legend Ava Thurston. Ultimately securing the victory was UVM skier Haley Brewster. Brewster said it was "really fun" to race heats with her teammates. Her fellow Catamount Camille Bolduc had compliments for the venue, stating "the course was really good, they did a good job with the tracks and dealing with the fresh snow that fell overnight!".
The women's sprint final hammering it home, led by UVM skier Haley Brewster (photo courtesy flyingpointroad.com).
The men's heats were equally exciting. The final results after the heats were quite different than the order of the qualifier. Two racers who stayed at the top were Dartmouth teammates John Steel Hagenbuch and Luke Allan, switching places from the qualifier to end up in first and third respectively. Allan had "fun out there" despite the heats being challenging. When asked why they love racing in the EISA, Hagenbuch said "other racing circuits like the RMISA or the World Cup don't have the same kind of community and atmosphere" that these races do. Allan solidified the well-known claim that the EISA has louder cheering than any other circuit and said that is what excites him most about racing here. Sandwiched between the Dartmouth skiers, in second place, was Remi Drolet from Harvard. St. Michaels first-year skier Henrik Wist came in fourth today, moving one place up from the qualifier. This is an exciting achievement for the Purple Knights, being the highest placement for one of their skiers in recent memory (photos of Allan and Drolet courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Pictures showcasing excellent vibes and fun for all ages found today at the UVM Carnival. The Williams food table complete with fresh pancakes (left). Middlebury Coach Kate Johnson ensures baby Panther success with early exposure to the EISA (right). The sense of community found here simply goes unrivaled in the ski world.
Come back tomorrow for more updates on racing action!