The first race of the 2017 EISA season is just over a week away and teams are preparing for another year hopeful for good snow conditions. UVM is poised to dominate the standings once again this year with an incredibly strong men’s team. The same can be said for the Dartmouth women, if 2016 was any indication.
UVM will be without last season’s GS leader Dom Garand, but they return the runner up Max Roeisland. Roeisland also finished third in slalom tied with Dartmouth's Brian McLaughlin. The rest of UVM’s team is stacked with skiers who can win any weekend. Excluding the EISA championships a catamount won every race but two throughout the season. The women are not quite as strong in the standings, but it’s more about who races each weekend. Laurence St. Germain only raced in two carnivals last season, but that’s all she needed. St. Germain won three out of those four races, and she handily won the EISA regional championship slalom.
Last year the only alpine team to crack the top five at the NCAA championships was Dartmouth and they return a strong team this year. Dartmouth didn’t dominate the men’s standings like they did on the women’s side but they bring many solid performers. Kevin Read finished last season eighth in the GS standings and 13th in the slalom standings, Thomas Woolson finished sixth in GS and 11th in Slalom. Finally, Brian McLaughlin had a breakout season in slalom last year finishing third in the EISA as well and taking the bronze medal at NCAA championships.
Dartmouth also returns the strongest women’s team from last year; they held three out of the top five spots in each of the GS and Slalom standings. Alexa Dlouhy comes off of a stellar freshman season, in which she won the first three slalom races and the slalom overall title. Foreste Peterson is returning as the reigning GS champion and in December she skied into the best GS result of her career, she is clearly ready to defend her title.
The University of New Hampshire has to be skiing with some sort of chip on their shoulder. They finished every single carnival last season in third place, behind Dartmouth and UVM. They return Phil Rivet and Lisa Wedsjö, both finished each event inside the top ten last year.
These three teams comprise 29 of 40 top ten spots in each event.
Outside of those teams, there are always individual performances that shine. Colby College’s Mardene Haskell finished third in both events with a level of consistency that was matched by only a few other women. Colin Hayes from Middlebury and Guillaume Grand from St. Mike's took the top two slalom spots last season. Grand also took third in GS, finishing every single carnival race. Lastly, Plymouth State's Freydis Einarsdottir finished her freshman season second in the Slalom standings and second at the EISA championships.
There are multiple promising freshman this year entering the league. Dartmouth added to their men’s roster with Swiss athlete Tanguy Neff. UVM has seemingly replaced Garand with Patrick McConville, an athlete that has already proved he is can ski in the EISA with multiple top 5 finishes dating back to 2014. Colby-Sawyer added brothers Kenny and Cody Wilson from Squaw Valley; if they can adjust to eastern skiing fluidly they should be a great addition to that team.
Colby has Jessica Reinhart a freshman that has raced both EISA and RMISA races accumulating numerous top 20 finishes. UNH added Emma Woodhouse as their only freshman and Dartmouth’s women’s team only got better by adding Stephanie Currie, who has been preparing for this season, as many athletes mentioned above have, in the NorAm circuit.
The EISA season kicks off with the St. Lawrence Carnival on January 20.