With the first carnival of the season comes some serious nerves and excitement. All of our training both on snow and off would be evident as Bates would be the first true testament to our pre-season training. We all thought we were skiing quick, but its not until the first carnival where we have an understanding of how quick we actually are. The opening race was a GS and as we got to the mountain we could tell there was some fresh snow on the ground. Jokingly, the boys said, “I hope they didn’t groom this morning.” Sure enough we get to the mountain to see a perfectly groomed race trail. No one was optimistic about the snow. Yet after inspection we got down to a super hard surface, perfect for the later bib numbers. Blue skies, and sunny, it was almost like we weren’t in the east for a little while.
The first run of the carnival kicked off with Marie-Elaine Lepine starting bib number 1. I was starting later, so I was able to watch her run from the bottom and could tell how the course ran. I’m not a big fan of hearing the times, especially at Sunday River where the times are pretty long usually range from 1:14 to 1:20, but I knew that she had skied really well. By the time I raced, there was a little groove, but it held up great. I came through the finish line of the first run to see that we had 4 girls in the top 10, a great way to kick off the carnival season! Then it was the boys’ turn. Its insane to see how well the entire boys field skis, especially the UNH boys. Though, they were a little far out time wise, they were still in a solid place to get some points. Taylor Burton led the Wildcats with a 10thplace finish, with only one pole. I guess he thought that he would give himself a handicap so he wouldn’t crush everyone else’s dreams.
As the day progressed, the sun stayed out but the winds picked up and by second run it was almost like we were in a hurricane. By the time it was our turn to race the winds had picked up significantly and we could barely see the snow. It was certainly an experience. Both Catherine Blanchard and I had some trouble second run and bumped back to 19th and 17th respectively. But Marie-Elaine Lepine and Laura Roz had no problem keeping themselves in good standings for the Cats with Marie finishing 3rd and Roz 5th overall, bringing the women wildcats to 2nd place behind UVM. The boys picked it up second run with Paul finishing as the top cat in 11th, Taylor Burton in 12th, and Coley Oliver in 16th for his Carnival debut.
The slalom was a little rough for most of the team. With Catherine Blanchard, Laura Roz, and Laura Halapowski all not finishing Marie and I were the only finishers, but with a solid 2 gate hike, I didn’t qualify for second run so Marie was the only UNH girl represented in 2nd run but she was still able to finish with a solid 11thplace overall result.
The boys also had a rough race for the most part but Coley Oliver absolutely killed his first carnival slalom finishing in 5th with a healing sprained ankle. Pretty impressive. Taylor followed Coley with a 11th place result and after a big bobble on the first run Sam Coffey was just outside the flip, but with a solid second run he rounded off the top 3 in 21st .
So, not to shabby for our first carnival. We know what we are capable of, and we are already to rip for the rest of the season. This was our first and last carnival before school starts. Now, the real challenge starts of balancing skiing and school. Not anyone’s favorite thing to do, as we all wished we were majoring in GS or SL, but its apart of NCAA I guess. Next carnival is UNH and I can’t even wait!
Jenna Kantor ’14