The EISA season rolled on with great weather and great racing at Jiminy Peak this weekend for the Williams Carnival, the fifth meet-up of the season. With just one more carnival left next weekend, the racers were full charge to score points for their teams and work to qualify for the NCAA Championships, set for March.

“Today was honestly one of the best days of ski racing I’ve ever had in the East. The snow was absolutely perfect and it was bluebird. No complaints,” said Claire Thomas of Dartmouth.

The GS race at Jiminy Peak is only about 50 seconds long, making it the perfect opportunity to ski an aggressive fast line. For the women, right from first run, it was all about Big Green’s Claire Thomas as she smoked the rest of the field by a whopping 1.03 seconds coming out with a time of 52.18, ahead of second-place finisher Vilanova’s (UVM, 53.21).

“I felt super clean and aggressive on first run. I ran first and had a huge smile and literally shrieked when I crossed the finish because of how much fun it was,” said Thomas.

Thomas did not disappoint on the second run screeching into first by nearly three seconds ahead of her competitors. Thomas won with a combined time of 1:43.77. Second place’s Lisa Olsson (UNH) came down with a combined time of 1:46.74, and third place went to Gwen Wattenmaker (DAR) with a 1:46.83.

Steve Fuller photo

“Second run was a little chattery and I didn’t feel nearly as clean, but I was definitely going for it,” said Thomas.

The Dartmouth women had a great day as well placing three in the top ten, enough to secure the women’s GS win as a team.

For the men, the Middlebury panthers continue to dominate. After first run Middlebury sophomore Michel Macedo blazed into first place with a 52.04, while his teammate, Erik Arvidsson, finished on his tails in a tie with Andrew Miller, of Dartmouth, with a time of 52.15. With times stacked on this short GS course, only 0.44 separated the top-10 finishers, making it anyone’s race to snag.

The second run shook up the top three spots for the men’s race. Moving up from tenth, Jagge Lindstoel (UVM) won the second run with a 50.48 skyrocketing him up to third place. Previous slalom winner this season, Middlebury panther Tim Gavett, pounced his way to the top with a combined time of 1:42.92. And to make Middlebury’s day even better, fellow panther Erik Arvidsson skied down to tie with Gavett overall, sharing the top spot of the podium at the Williams GS.

Men’s GS podium at the Williams Carnival: Tim Gavett (MIDD) Erik Arvidsson (MIDD) and Jagge Lindstoel (UVM).

“Being able to share the joy of a victory with a teammate is a once-in-a-career kind of moment that we almost never get to enjoy in a sport as individually centered as skiing,” said Gavett.

The Middlebury men skied away with the team win placing three in the top 10, two of them winning together.

Williams slalom

Under sunny skies, out of the start gate, familiar faces skied their way to the podium first run. Justin Alkier (MIDD) finished 0.69 ahead of his competition with Lindstoel (UVM) in second and Gavett (MIDD) in third. Going into second run the top 10 remained consistent with the first run. Alkier maintained his lead through to the finish, winning the race with a combined time of 1:33.85. Lindstoel stayed in second, and Mathias Tefre (UVM) moved up two spots to third. Arvidsson (MIDD) and Weisel (DAR) rounded out the top five respectively. The Middlebury men continued to dominate the EISA winning the slalom event as a team.

“It was another great weekend for us. The energy on the team is electric and everyone’s skiing fast. I’m super proud to be part of the Middlebury College ski family,” commented Alkier on the Middlebury performance this weekend.

On the women’s side the Williams College Ephs had something to cheer about as Maddie Dekko claimed her second Carnival win in a row on her home hill. After first run, Dekko knifed her way to first ahead of Stephanie Currie (DAR) and Emma Woodhouse (UNH).

“I had a great first run in part because I felt super calm the entire run,” said Dekko.

With just 0.33 to work with for the second run, Dekko needed to maintain her strong skiing in order to walk away with the gold.

“Going into 2nd run, I was definitely feeling the nerves with it being my home carnival,” she said. “I am really proud of how I was able to ski my best regardless of my nerves.” 

Dekko blazed down to the second fastest second run, more than enough to keep the lead and win on her home slopes. Woodhouse moved to second, and Lucia Bailey (MIDD) skied to third.

Women’s slalom podium: Emma Woodhouse (UNH), Maddie Dekko (WILL), Lucia Bailey (MIDD).

“It was incredibly special to win in front of all of the alumni, friends, parents, and teammates. I won’t be forgetting this race for a long time,” said Dekko.

As a team, the Dartmouth women won the slalom event.

For combined Nordic and Alpine rankings this weekend, Middlebury leads the way with 855 points, UVM took second, and Dartmouth took third. The final Carnival of the EISA season continues next weekend at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl February 21-22. 

A San Francisco Bay Area native and Bates College graduate, Sierra Ryder has ski raced all over the country starting in the West growing up skiing on The Squaw Valley Ski Team, and then back East on the EISA NCAA circuit. Sierra is a proud Bates Bobcat and is grateful to have skied carnivals for four years serving as a captain for the Bates ski team her senior year. She now resides in San Francisco where she works for the CBS San Francisco News affiliate KPIX5. When she is not working you can find her running on Crissy field or skiing at Squaw.