Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 Nordic Preview

The 2017 EISA Nordic season is set to begin next week at the St. Lawrence Carnival in Lake Placid, NY. Though the season is just beginning, teams have already been on snow for well over a month training and racing all around, and sometimes outside of, the country. For many teams, on snow skiing began over thanksgiving at training camps in Foret Montmorency, QC, Craftsbury, VT, and as far west as British Colombia.  Since then, many have raced at the opening Eastern Cups in Craftsbury consisting of a classic interval start and a skate pursuit.


More recently, many EISA racers have made the trek out to Utah to test their fitness against the best in the country at the 2017 US Cross Country Ski Championships hosted by Soldier Hollow. Through two days of competition, an interval start skate and a classic sprint EISA women have notched four top 30 results including Alayna Sonnesyn’s (UVM) 27th place in the 10k skate and Lauren Jortberg’s (Dartmouth) 12th place in the 1.5k classic sprint. EISA men have achieved seven top-30 results through two days including Callan Deline’s (Dartmouth) 17th place in the 15k skate and Cully Brown’s (UMV) 12th place in the 1.5k classic sprint. With one day of competition remaining for qualification for junior championship teams, many EISA skiers remain in the hunt for these coveted spots.


EISA skiers look to improve upon results from last season as the 2017 NCAA championships return to the east and are hosted by the University of New Hampshire at Jackson Nordic Center. Of the competitors at last year’s championships in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, one lone EISA all-American returns in Olivia Amber (Colby) in the 15k classic.


As usual, one team expected to be shooting for top results this season will be the University of Vermont. On both sides, UVM has a young team this season. On the men’s side, the top returner from last year’s NCAA regionals is Ian Moore who will be looking to step up as a scorer for the team. For women, the team is headlined by Alayna Sonnesyn and Iris Pessey who both notched a pair of podiums at the regional championships last year and will look to improve upon their placement at nationals.


Another undisputable favorite on both the men’s and women’s sides will be Dartmouth College. For the women, Abigail Drach and Zoe Snow have both notched strong performances thus far at Senior Nationals and will look to extend their success into the EISA season. For the men, both Callan Deline and Luke Brown placed into the top-20 on the same day and will hope to keep the success rolling once they return east.


Various other skiers in the EISA look to lead their teams to success at the carnivals and clinch NCAA championship sports for themselves this season as several other NCAA qualifying racers from 2016 will return this season. Other schools returning NCAA qualifiers on the women’s side include: Bates, Colby, University of New Hampshire, and Harvard. On the men’s side, these teams include Colby, Middlebury, University of New Hampshire, and Williams.


Other EISA schools will look to progress in 2017 and earn themselves a trip to Jackson in March. Teams such as University of Maine Presque Isle and St. Michael’s College boast young rosters while schools such as St. Lawrence University and Bowdoin College will look to season veterans of their programs to take the next step forward.


The EISA Nordic season kicks of next weekend, Friday January 20th-Saturday January 21st with a 5/10k interval start skate on day 1 and a 15/20k mass start classic for women/men respectively at the St. Lawrence Carnival in Lake Placid, New York. Good luck to all!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Last years top teams stay strong for 2017 season

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.

Friday, March 18, 2016

NCAA National Championships a Success for EISA Alpine Skiers

Dartmouth's Foreste Peterson
On a day that alternated between bright sunshine and dumping snow at Steamboat Ski Resort for the giant slalom, Dartmouth’s Foreste Peterson lead the East in fifth, 1.71 seconds behind leader Kristine Haugen of Denver. UVM’s Laurence St. Germaine followed in seventh. Colby’s Mardi Haskell and UVM’s Mille Graesdal were the next two eastern skiers in thirteenth and fourteens, respectively.  UNH’s Lisa Wesjoe, Middlebury’s Caroline Bartlett, and Williams’ Hannah Hunsaker also had solid races, rounding out the top 20 in eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth.

UVM's Dom Garand
In the men’s race, EISA GS leader Dom Garand from UVM lead the East in fourth, 0.93 seconds behind leader Endre Bjertness of Utah. The first run of the men’s course saw a tricky set over the last knoll, causing problems for most racers as they caught air unexpectedly. UNH’s Jay Ogle did not fall prey to that section and had his best race of the year by finishing seventh after starting bib 27. Dartmouth’s Thomas Woolson had a mistake first run, but then had the third fastest second run to claim an All-American spot in ninth and lead the Dartmouth men to a fourth place finish in the team GS standings.

Eastern skiers came in thick and fast through the top fifteen after Woolson. Saint Michaels’ Guillaume Grand, Dartmouth’s Kevyn Read, Middlebury’s Riley Plant and his teammate Colin Hayes, and Dartmouth’s Brian McLaughlin finished twelfth through sixteenth, all within a half a second of each other.

For a full video replay of the NCAA Championship GS race, please visit:

Colby's Mardi Haskell
Three days later the alpine skiers returned to action at Howelson Hill for a night race, complete with fireworks in front of a massive crowd in downtown Steamboat Springs, CO.

UVM’s Laurence St. Germaine led the east in second, only 0.37 seconds behind leader Julie Flo Mohagen of Utah. Colby’s Mardi Haskell finished second for the east in fourth after jumping from 10th after the first run. Dartmouth’s Alexa Dlouhy gained her first All-American honors in seventh, in front of her teammate Kelly Moore by 0.03 seconds as Dartmouth claimed second in the women’s slalom team standings. Hannah Hunsaker had the second fastest second run to jump from 21st after the first run and claimed all American honors in ninth.

St. Michael's Guillaume Grand
In the men’s slalom, Dartmouth’s Brian McLaughlin capped a great season with a third place finish, only 0.16 seconds behind leader Erik Read from Denver. It was an incredibly tight race on the steeps of Howelson Hill, with only 1 second separating the top 8 skiers and the top 24 finishers all within 2 seconds of leader Read. UVM’s Dom Grand won the second run to vault from 11th to fourth, only 0.03 seconds behind Mclaughlin. Saint Michaels’ Guillaume Grand became the Purple Knight’s first ever All American by finishing ninth. Bryan Cookson also had a great day for UNH, finishing 12th from bib 25 after posting the seventh fastest second run.

For a full video replay of the NCAA Championship SL race, please visit: