Nordic Tales of the Van: UVM Carnival

This past weekend we had our third carnival, hosted by the University of Vermont.  The races were located in Stowe, VT at the Trapp Family Lodge.  It was a beautiful weekend, with blue skies and warm temperatures.  Most of the team has skied here before, so we were quite familiar with the racecourse.  We were also very excited to be staying at the Innsbruck.  They provide robes in the room, so naturally that was the only clothing we wore.  Kevin’s room was short a robe, so he figured Danielle McVicar’s winter coat would suffice.  It did.

            Saturday’s race was an eventful one.  The women did a 5k classic, and the men did a 10k classic.  A couple hundred other racers joined us this weekend because the Carnival was also an Eastern Cup; this lead to some awesome ski racing.  For the women we had Tristan Ramey cracking the top ten in 9th place, followed by Elizabeth Guiney in 10th.  Elizabeth Izzo was our third scorer, finishing the race in 19th.  The guys finished strong with Per Lindgren in 7th, Erik Lindgren in 10th, and Dan Guiney in 17th.

            On Sunday, both men and women did a 10k skate.  The women were led by Liz Guiney in 10th, followed by Liz Izzo in 16th, and Annika Taylor in 17th.  Dan Guiney was our first guy in 23rd, with Johnny Springer placing 32nd, and Per Lindgren in 34th.

            Solid effort to everyone; this weekend had some tough races, but we held strong.  It looks like the team will be racing at Trapps again next weekend for the Dartmouth Carnival.  So stay tuned for those results, and another Tales of the Van.  Carni-Crush is also that weekend, so I am sure you are going to hear some great stories of love, and inappropriate valentines.  Peace out my friends.

 

Perry Thomas

Alpine Tales of the Van: UNH Carnival

The UNH carnival! This is the one we had been waiting for. Besides Paul Atkinson and Zach Clayton no one on the team had experienced a home carnival yet, and we were excited to have a leg up on the other schools by racing at Attitash.

We were able to stay at the same house we stayed at for our winter-break camp, which is a huge house just outside of North Conway, called “the Beast.” It almost feels like we are going home when we pull up to the Beast. It sits at the top of a usually icy hill and if you can actually pull into the driveway, you certainly earn bragging rights. Usually, some pushing had to be taken place, but that’s a man job as you can tell from the perspective of my photograph. Staying at the Beast, I don’t think I ever stop laughing and this trip was no different.

Coming into Friday’s GS we knew the weather was going to be dicey, but I don’t think anyone expected how much snow we would get. It started out by hailing, but to be honest we were just pleased it was not freezing rain. Unfortunately, there was at least 8 inches of fresh snow on t he track which needed to be pushed off. The groomer was actually asked to make a few passes on the trail because it would be almost physically impossible to have enough speed on the flats to push the snow off the track. Once, the cat was finished grooming both the womens’ and mens’ field were asked to slip the wide line to try and get down to a hard surface. If you are looking for a hip flexor workout, try pushing wet snow off of Illusion for about 4 runs! The track was hard and we were all ready to start inspecting, when the race officials called the race off because of safety reasons. Of course, we were all pretty bummed, knowing how well we could have done on that trail. But, our sights were set to the slalom race the next day.

With the unexpected day off, we all tried to find things to do at the Beast. The boys started a what I think was a record breaking length game of Risk, there was rummy played, foosball, ice ball fights, and of course tuning. Some of the team went to play soccer against UVM and Middlebury to see who would get the carnival win for the day. Of course, UNH pulled through, beating both schools and I think it is safe to say that if there was a duel NCAA sport of soccer/skiing we would be untouchable.

For dinners we all traveled up to where the Nordics were staying at the Eagle House and had a couple of pasta dinners which carbed us up for the next day. As for lunches, I’m pretty sure we were the luckiest team on the circuit with the amount of food both the Halapowski family and the Lepine family brought. So a big thank you to them!

The slalom race held great results for the Wildcats. Zach Clayton and Sam Coffey finished 4th and 5th respectively, and Paul Atkinson rounded off our top 3 in 15thplace. But I think we can all agree that if we were basing the results off of the best facial expressions, he would undoubtedly take home the gold.

Paul Atkinson '12 racing slalom at the UNH Carnival

The girls had solid results as well with Catherine Blanchard coming in 7th, Marie-Elaine Lepine in 8th and myself in 12th. We ended up second overall for alpine, which is good, but I still think we can take UVM down if we all ski like we know how to!

As it was a home carnival our friends were the main reason the slalom was pulled off so well. So we have a massive amount of thank yous to send out. First of all, we all wanted to send our thanks to Paul Burton and the rest of the crew who were the reason the race was run as smoothly as it did had it not been for all of the slippers, gatekeepers, and course workers. We appreciate it so much! To have a cheering section was new to most of us as well. It was almost a little Schladming-esque being able to hear the blow horns and screams while racing. So to the fans we had supporting us, and all of the alumni who were able to make the trip up we want to thank you all so much!

Zach Clayton '12 racing Slalom at the UNH Carnival

I also want  to send a special thank you to Geoff Bonewald, Curtis Lush, Charlie Kidd, Eric Coffin, and Kris Hopkins. Not only did they forerun both the women’s and men’s race, but I would hear them rummaging around the house at 6 am to be on the hill setting our courses by 6:45 am.  It was clear we had the best fore-runners on the carnival circuit. As they went one by one, the en tire women’s field was watching them and I kept hearing, “why aren’t they racing?” “they are so good.” Its evident how deep our men’s team is and how much talent each of them have. We will without a doubt see great results from each of them in the future.

Our final thank yous go out to our coaches, Brian Blank, Katie Hitchcock, and Viktor Hlas. As stressful as this carnival was for the athletes, I can’t even imagine what it was like for them. So, thank you coaches!

Overall, I was really happy with my first home carnival experience. My team is pretty awesome, and I can’t wait to continue this chain of success at the UVM carnival at Stowe and beyond.

Jenna Kantor 2014

Alpine Tales of the Van: Bates Carnival

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.

Taylor Burton '13 racing GS at Bates Carnival (Photo by: Shelby Love and Colton Hardy)

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.

Alpine girls inspect slalom at Sunday River (Photo by: Shelby Love and Colton Hardy)

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

Nordic Tales of the Van: UNH Carnival

Spring semester classes have begun, and the UNH nordies have been scrambling to stay organized, healthy, and fit for the rest of the ski season.  Speaking of classes, I thought I would give a shout out and congratulations to the team for last semester’s grades.  The ladies had an average GPA of 3.44 and the guys weren’t far behind with an average of 3.41!!!

We were all pretty excited to be hosting a carnival this year.  The last time we hosted a carnival was my freshman year, and I think most of my class with agree with me when I say that it was a lot of fun.  Jackson XC has some great trails.  The racecourse is full of brutal climb after climb, and s-turn upon s-turn.  I’m not sure which emotion we expressed more in the week preceding our carnival: nervousness, fear, or excitement.  I was more on the excitement end.  I don’t really feel fear or get nervous, but I can’t really speak for the rest of my team.

Liz Guiney '13 (Bib 20) and Annika Taylor '15 (Bib 26) race for 10th and 11th in the classic sprint at the UNH Carnival

The other great part about hosting a carnival at Jackson XC is that we get to stay at The Eagle Mountain House.  It is a huge, old New England style Inn with lots of history and character.  Just be careful when walking outside the building, you might get buried by snow falling off of the roof.  The food spread was also very good.  There was plenty of pasta (our favorite!), and eating with our alpine counterparts was great too.

Onto the results.  Friday’s race was a 1.5k classic sprint, in some not so great weather conditions.  I think we experienced just about every type of precipitation, going from snow to freezing rain to rain, and everything in between.  We had five women qualify, and they finished as follows: Liz Guiney – 10th, Annika Taylor – 11th, Tristan Ramey – 30th, Dana Roach – 32nd, and Danielle Baron – 33rd.  We qualified three men, with Per Lindgren finishing 18th, Dan Guiney, in 30th, and Tom Reagan in 35th.

On Saturday we had a couple mass start races, with the women racing for 15k and the men for 20k.  There were bodies strewn all over the 5k course.  The s-turns on the trail Henry claimed many lives, skis, and poles Saturday.  After this weekend, I started tallying the number of crashes each person on our team has accumulated over the past few years.  Kelsey Hoar was winning, but freshman Sam Reed surpassed her this weekend and has taken the lead.  Third place goes to Mancuso, but I think the number of poles he’s broken in crashes, rather than crashes alone might better represent Nick.  In the end our three scorers for the women were Liz Guiney in 10th, Liz Izzo in 13th, and Annika Taylor in 21st.  For the guys we had Erik Lindgren in 12th, Johnny Springer in 23rd, and Dan Guiney in 29th.

Johnny Springer races the 20k Skate at the UNH Carnival

The team overall ended the weekend in 3rd, (booya!!!).  Thanks to all the parents for cheering us on and once again providing food for the best food table on the eastern circuit.  Thanks to Cory, Steve, Kevin, and Katie for wicked fast skis.  It was nice to see Athletic Director Marty Scarano and Deputy Athletic Director Steve Metcalf out on the courses; thanks for coming out!  Last, but not least, thanks to our Athletic Trainer, JD, for the awesome shoulder massage.  I had a great race because of it (thought I would forget about you, JD, didn’t you?).  Peace out my friends.  See you all in Stowe, VT next weekend for the UVM Carnival.

Perry Thomas ’13

Nordic Tales of the Van: Bates Carnival

The UNH nordies found themselves in Rumford, Maine yet again.  The smell has been permanently implemented into my nostrils I think.  To our disdain, the guys were in the same house that we were in for US Nationals (it is a 40min drive to Black Mountain).  That meant some mornings were a little too early for our liking, while the girls slept soundly (some were a little too comfortable I think) 5min away from the mountain.

The first night the guys’ team prepared dinner.  It was pretty easy because Cory had pre-made the pasta dishes.  There was something for everyone.  We had a casserole for the gluten-free (can’t eat normal food because they’re too cool for it) people.  We even had a casserole with red sauce and meat, and one with alfredo sauce and broccoli.  The alfredo one was similar to the other one, but different.  It was similar because it had the same type of noodles, but the sauces were different.

Like at US Nationals, the skiing was awesome at Black Mountain.  Fresh snow on top of the man-made snow allowed for some smooth skiing.  Of course, the ladies continued their tradition of “throw-back” Thursday by sporting some tight and bright ski suits while they skied the racecourse.  Ok, you guys look pretty hot, I’m not going to lie, but I still don’t agree with it.

Friday’s races consisted of the girls doing a 5k skate, and the guys doing a 10k skate.  The ladies race was highlighted with Liz Guiney posting the 8th fastest time, Liz Izzo busting out a top fifteen in fourteenth place, and freshman Annika Taylor skiing to a 22nd place finish to round out our three scorers.  On the guys side, we had Johnny Springer posting a 22nd place (Johnny and Annika got the same place that day…interesting…), Junior Erik Lindgren was 26th, and Senior Dan Guiney finished 28th.

Captain Danielle Baron '12 being guided up the hill by Coach Schwartz during the 5k skate race at Bates.

 

On Saturday, the men and women completed a mass start 10k classic race.  The men had Freshman Per Lindgren cracking the top fifteen with a fourteenth place, followed by his older brother Erik in 17th place, and Sam Reed in 23rd.  On the ladies side, Liz Guiney bested her eighth from the day before by one place, Annika Taylor finished 12th, and Liz Izzo was 21st.

Per Lindgren '15 and Captain Erik Lindgren '13 Racing the 10k Mass Start Classic

 

The first Carnival weekend is always tough trying to get back into the swing of collegiate racing.  I think we stayed strong this weekend though.  I think our results in the next few carnivals may scare UVM and Dartmouth a little because we are only going to get better.  We trained hard this past fall, and I think Bates was just our warm-up.  Get ready to see a lot more Wildcats in that top-ten.  I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say each one of us is ready to put tha team on our backs.  There’s just so much determination.  Get ready for the UNH Carnival weekend starting this Friday!  Nordic is at Jackson XC Ski Center in Jackson, NH and alpine is at Attitash Mountain in Bartlett, NH.

 Yours truly,

Perry Thomas