Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association racing resumed this weekend with the 106th Dartmouth Winter Carnival at Craftsbury Outdoor Center. The SuperTour left the East after two combined SuperTour/carnival weekends, but things felt familiar anyway: the returned to Craftsbury for a second straight weekend after yet another venue change forced by poor snow conditions. So far the Eastern Collegiate season has been four carnivals contested at just two venues, with three of those carnivals being moved from their original sites.
Craftsbury welcomed back the teams for the unique one-day carnival. With just one distance race per gender, the pressure was on for teams to put in good performances. The men’s 20 k and women’s 20 k classic mass starts were contested on a slightly different course than last weekend’s UVM Carnival. The hardworking Craftsbury crew were able to expand the race loop to 3.2 km, adding a challenging hill and more technical skiing. Once again repetition, this time 5-6 laps, aided in making for a challenging race.
On top of poor snow fall, the race organizers were challenged by freezing temperatures that threatened to drop below the legal race cutoff of -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Faced with potentially plummeting temperatures, organizers chose to move the races earlier in the day to get ahead of the incoming cold front.
At 9:30 am, the men were underway, many sporting colorful tape on their faces to protect from wind chills projected to hit more than 25 degrees below zero. Through the tough conditions it was Jack Hegman of the University of Vermont who prevailed, after spending much of the race chasing Eli Hoenig of Williams College. Despite an early lead Hoenig was unable to fend off a late charge by Hegman, and took home second place for the Ephs after crossing the line 6.4 seconds back. Fabian Stocek snagged the final spot on the podium (+12.3 seconds) for “home team” Dartmouth, while Peter Holmes of the University of New Hampshire (+16.7) and Jørgen Grav of UVM (+19.1) rounded out the top five. With Cole Morgan crossing the line in seventh (+39.2), UVM took the team win in the men’s race.
On the women’s side it was a tight race for the podium spots between defending classic leader Kelsey Phinney of Middlebury, Olivia Amber of Colby, and Mary-Kate Cirelli of UVM. Phinney came out on top in 44:59.0, while Amber and Cirelli finished four and eight seconds back respectively. The women’s top five was filled out by Katrin Larusson of UNH (+19) and Mary O’Connell of Dartmouth (+20). Despite no skiers on the podium, the Dartmouth women claimed the team score with Corey Stock in sixth (+32) and Emily Hyde in ninth (+1:14) rounding out the scoring.
Overall UVM took home the win on the weekend scoring 888 points, ahead of second place Dartmouth College who scored 858 points. Third went to UNH with 826 points. UVM had won the opening carnival of the season before Dartmouth took two in row; the tally is now even.
EISA nordic racing with resume February 19th with the Williams College Carnival. Due to lack of snow the Williams Carnival will be contested at the Lake Placid Ski Jumps, and will be the fourth Carnival this season to be moved from its original venue due to snow issues.