Francesca Kitch (Williams) leading the pack at the SMC Carnival (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
The weather gods did not look fondly upon Prospect Nordic Center this morning. With temperatures in the high forties and rain drenching the snow, skiers had to embrace the conditions to bring a good mindset to the starting line today. This weekend marks the first races this season to be held on entirely natural snow, and volunteers at Prospect have been working all week to make sure that the loop was snow-covered and reliable.
Dartmouth men took the win today, with John Steel Hagenbuch (3rd), Luke Allan (5th), and Cooper Camp (9th) all finishing Top-10. Allan said he had a good time racing, and that the course held up despite the rainy conditions. “I was just trying to ski smooth and keep the skis under me,” he said, as rain pelted down outside the wax trailer, soaking the ski bags. “I really liked the course,” he told me. The Prospect 5 km is a new course for skiers in the EISA, as the venue hasn’t hosted since 2018. “It started out pretty rolling,” Allan continued, “which was a nice warmup, and then the last bit of the was pretty hilly. There, you really need to lay it all out on the line.” The final climb arcs over the old alpine trails before shooting skiers back out into the stadium.
Luke Allan and Sam Hodges battling it out during the Harvard Carnival Relay (photo courtesy of David Brams).
Middlebury took second today with skiers Wilson Moore (6th), Jack Christner (7th), and Logan Moore (8th) all skiing within seconds of each other.
UVM took third, with Jacob Nystedt (4th), Greg Burt (11th), and Bjorn Westervelt (14th) rounding out the team.
Men starting the relay. Left to right: Greg Burt (UVM), Sam Hodges (Middlebury), Luke Allan (Dartmouth), and Rémi Drolet (Harvard) (photo courtesy of David Brams).
Individually, Harvard skier Rémi Drolet won the race. This is Drolet’s second classic 10 km win in a row, after taking the lead at the Harvard Carnival last weekend, and he earned the title by an impressive forty seconds. Scott Schulz from UNH took second, and Dartmouth’s Hagenbuch took third.
On the women’s side, Dartmouth won today’s race as well. Individual champion Ava Thurston took the 10 km classic title again, repeating last weekend’s result at the Harvard Carnival. Thurston’s teammates Nina Seemann (6th), and Emma Reeder (8th) brought the Big Green home. Thurston’s strategy was to ignore the weather and instead, “Laugh a little and have a good time.” Unlike many other skiers, this was not Thurston’s first attempt at the Prospect course. “I skied here once before, two years ago, and had a lot of fun on it so I was excited to do it again,” she told me. Her expertise must have paid off, landing her the win by a narrow margin of 1.7 seconds.
Quincy Massey-Bierman (Middlebury) skis with Emma Reeder (Dartmouth) in the Harvard relay (photo courtesy of David Brams).
UNH placed second today, with top skiers Jasmine Lyons (2nd), Luci Anderson (3rd), and Beth Granstrom (11th) skiing strong for the Wildcats. Lyons made an impressive comeback this weekend to take second today, and still skied to a podium result amid confusion at the finish line. Lyons had a good time despite the sloppy conditions. “It was fun racing in the wet and the rain,” she told me. “I hadn’t raced this course before, and it was my first time skiing here. It was definitely fun and challenging, and the conditions made it a little more exciting.” Her teammate, Anderson, who placed third individually, was jubilant. “This was the best classic race I’ve ever done,” she said, grinning. “I didn’t feel any pressure because it’s raining and really gross outside so I told myself I’m just going to go out there and have fun.” Her strategy certainly worked, with UNH taking two of the podium spots this race.
Anderson leading the pack down the hill at the SMC Carnival (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
Overall, the Williams team was extremely excited to host their first Carnival in five years. Greta Laesch, a sophomore on the team, was happy to welcome the circuit to their home turf. ‘It was so fun to be out in these ridiculous conditions and splash around a little bit,” she said, wringing out her sopping wet jacket. Alumni were visiting to watch, such as ’19 graduate Nick Gardner. “A lot of things were pulling me here this weekend,” Gardner said. “I’m here to support the Ephs, to go for a ski around Prospect, and to re-live my glory days,” he told me as we sheltered under the porch roof. A testament to the power of the EISA community, today’s weather didn’t detract from Gardner’s fond memories of the circuit. “I was delighted see all the racers trying their hardest through the puddles. Today was one of the more unpleasant days of racing but,” despite the rain, “I thought to myself, wow, I wish I was out there.” Jacob Jampel, a senior captain for the Ephs, would like to invite everyone on campus who isn’t planning on stopping by tomorrow to seriously reconsider. “Tomorrow’s going to be totally different and fun, so come out and cheer for us if you can!” With a cold front already reaching the venue, Saturday’s conditions will be clear, icy, and fast. It is sure to be an exciting event.
Jacob Jampel and his family pose at the Harvard Carnival (photo courtesy of David Brams).