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Harvard Skiing Turning a Corner with Historic Season

Harvard skiing in competition.
Harvard skiing in competition. By Courtesy of Lily Koffman

The Harvard men’s and women’s skiing teams had a strong showing this past season despite a year away from competition due to the pandemic.

The Crimson, led by junior nordic skier James Kitch and first-year alpine skier Matt Ryan, finished in the top 30 in every event at the recent 2022 NCAA Skiing Championships. Ryan was the first alpine skier to qualify for the championships since P.A. Weiner in 1988, and he was accompanied by Kitch, who overcame an injury in the fall to become one of the top scorers for the Crimson.

Kitch qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of his first three years at Harvard and has been a steady presence all season long.

“I’ve always been impressed with [Kitch’s] ability to match the stage he’s performing on, and he did that again at NCAAs, where he put down his best races of the year,” said nordic head coach Chris City.

Overall, both the men’s and women’s teams displayed great depth and potential for the years to come.

“I expect to book reservations for the NCAA championships annually moving forward,” said alpine head coach Scott MacPherson.“It’s hard to pick out one single athlete from our program, as the season was a true team effort.”

Alpine senior captain Nellie Ide played a huge role for the Crimson, with her leadership setting the tone for the team. Ide’s incredible four year tenure as team captain helped pave the way for the team’s success. Her leadership on and off the slopes has proven to be invaluable.

In spite of numerous injuries, there were still bright spots for the team. Junior Emma Ryan and sophomore Elsie Halvorsen had career best seasons for Harvard. Halvorsen placed 13th in the giant slalom at her first ever collegiate event, and Ryan came in 15th in the slalom at the 2022 Saint Michael’s Carnival and at the Dartmouth Carnival.

Nordic co-captains Everett Sapp and Ursula Volz were also vital to the team’s success this season, proving to be consistent scorers and remarkable leaders.

The Crimson has a bright future ahead with first years Quincy Donley and Mads Groeholdt. Donley earned points in almost every race, and Groeholdt barely narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

“It’s exciting when young skiers are pushing the pace for us, and I’m already looking forward to what they can do next year,” coach City said.

Nordic skier Rémi Drolet is also set to return for the Crimson next season after taking a leave of absence to participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as a member of the Canadian cross-country skiing team. He helped lead Canada to an 11th place finish, placing 33rd in the 15km classic and 35th in the 50km mass start.

“Two years ago, he was a first-year in the van to practice — and then there he was racing in front of the whole world,” coach City remembered. I’m excited to work with Rémi again next year, and I know he’s really looking forward to picking back up with his academics and the community here.”

Coach City has an incredibly positive outlook for the coming year.

“We have a strong returning team, as well as a talented pair of incoming first-years, and I see it as an opportunity to build on what we learned this year,” City said. “I’d hope to see us qualify a full men’s team (three skiers) to NCAAs for the first time ever.”

There is much to be excited about for this remarkable team, and there is no doubt that Harvard will continue to set the standard of excellence next winter.

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