While Olympic skiers will descend on Sochi in the upcoming days, the Harvard alpine and Nordic ski teams traveled just north of Cambridge this weekend to compete at the University of New Hampshire Carnival.
The Crimson men and women combined to finish in the middle of the pack, landing in eighth place out of 16 teams with 349 points. The giant slalom portion of the meet took place on Friday at Attitash Mountain in Bartlett, N.H., while the slalom skiers competed Saturday at Cannon Mountain. The Nordic team raced at the Jackson Ski Touring Center. The University of Vermont won the men’s event, while Dartmouth captured a victory in the women’s competition.
NCAA championships qualifier Rebecca Nadler led the charge for the women’s alpine team in the giant slalom with a 10th-place finish. The senior, who has been a consistent top finisher for the women, did not finish in this weekend’s slalom event.
Sophomore Samantha Udolf placed 31st for the Crimson in the slalom event, with freshman Kaitlyn Gibson finishing a few minutes behind Udolf in 35th. On the Nordic side, senior Jen Rolfes took the 12th spot in the 5k on Friday and 33rd in the 15k on Saturday.
For the men’s team, senior Ian Anderson took the top spot for the Crimson in slalom, coming in 38th, followed by freshman James Stevenson in 40th. Sophomore Simon Merryweather finished 34th in the giant slalom competition, though he was the only skier to complete the course for Harvard as Anderson, sophomore Matthew Mansson, and sophomore Jack Stobierski did not finish the race.
Nordic captain Chris Stock took the Crimson charge in the 10k with a seventh-place finish. In the 20k distance, junior Akeo Maifeld-Carucci claimed Harvard’s top spot on the day with a fourth-place finish.
“Specifically on the Nordic side, I think we had a good weekend, but we can definitely do better,” Ryerson said. “There were definitely a few people that skied really well, but others could pick it up a bit, and we know we have more in the tank.”
Despite the bone-chilling temperatures, weather was not a major factor in the weekend’s races. Bright skies on Friday increased visibility, making up for the 10-below temperatures. Light snow on Saturday decreased visibility and made the course a bit looser, but was not a major factor in racing.
“In terms of ski racing, the weather wasn’t too bad,” Anderson said. “Sometimes you have to race in rain, sometimes it’s super icy. I thought overall snow conditions were good. The snow was grippy both days, but definitely a little bit tougher [Saturday].”
On the Nordic side, the Crimson was worried about thin coverage, but the cold temperatures solidified the existing snow, making it smoother for competition.
“A lot of our athletes are used to racing in cold weather and temperatures quite a bit colder than this,” said senior Nordic skier Tony Ryerson. “It just made for beautiful trails and great skiing”
The team was pleased with its eighth place against an elite field of competitors.
“I think for the ski team as a whole, it was phenomenal to be eighth place,” Ryerson said. “Since I’ve been here…we’ve never broken the ninth place barrier, so that was absolutely huge for the Nordic alpine girls and guys as a whole, for all four teams to kind of put it together and rise above that ninth place.”
—Staff writer Theresa Hebert can be reached at email@example.com.
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