The fourth Alpine Skiing Carnival of the season for Bates skiing featured some of the best competition in the world. Members of the United and Swiss national teams joined powerhouses Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Vermont, and 10 other colleges at the historic Winter Carnival race in Hanover, New Hampshire. The Bobcats held their own in the face of elite competition, and showed why they are considered one of the best programs in the country.
A ski carnival features two days of competition; racers compete in the giant slalom on Friday, and in the slalom on Saturday. The day began early on Friday, as most racers were up before 6 AM. Freshmen Matt Glasgow described the conditions as very icy, which combined with the flat hill made life hard for the racers. On this particular course, the pitch was a crucial section, because it provided the necessary speed for the flat zones.
Freshmen Max Slash, Peter Fordyce, and Glasgow, and senior Tanner Dirstine all struggled with the pitch in one of their two runs. Freshmen Michael Cooper and senior Chris Bradbury were the standouts for the Bobcats. Cooper, coming off of the best weekend of his career at Burke Mountain, kept his strong season going by coming in 49th place among all racers. Bradbury finished right behind him in 50th place.
The women’s team also had a good day. Junior Kelsey Chenoweth, who competed in the NCAA Championship last season, finished in 13th place. Chenoweth beat several members of the United and Swiss National teams, finishing just 2.44 seconds behind the winner. Sophomores Sierra Ryder and Hannah Johnson finished in 23rd and 25th respectively.
Could the Bobcats keep this momentum going in the second day of competition? The men’s team struggled a little. as Glasgow, Bradbury, and Dirstine all were unable to finish their first run. However, Cooper once again paced Bates with 53rd-place finish. Lash and Fordyce brought their names back to the leaderboard, finishing in 56th and 62nd respectively. Sandro Simonet of Sweden finished first out of all racers with a 0.98 second gap. 0.98 seconds may not seem like very much, but in the skiing world it’s an eternity.
Chenoweth again led the women in the slalom, finishing in tenth-place. Ryder and Johnson also repeated their Friday showings with a pair of top 25 finishes. University of Vermont superstar Lauren Germain dominated the field, racing three seconds faster than any other competitor. Germain is ranked in top 20 in the world. Bates ended up finishing fourth out of 13th teams in the slalom.
The Bobcats will have little time to recover, because they will be participating in the Williams Carnival this weekend.