With fresh snowfall and nearly 100 kilometers of groomed trails, the 2014 Dartmouth Carnival was held this weekend at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Known for its groundbreaking and and top notch “snow-farming” capabilities, Craftsbury needed no guns, shovels or construction equipment to put together an exceptional race series that combined the Dartmouth Winter Carnival with a FIS Supertour event.
The 5-kilometer FIS loop at Craftsbury is a daunting course with lengthy climbs of multiple grades, interrupted by only a few fast, non-technical downhills. On a tough day, courses like this can feel like a big climb the whole way.
Friday: 5/10K Freestyle
Difficult terrain was perfect for UVM’s Scott Patterson on Friday, who showed no signs of fatigue after travelling back to the States from a successful campaign at U23 World Championships in Italy. Patterson’s typical racing style was in play: start fast and stay fast. It worked yet again, as the UVM senior finished the 10-kilometer race nearly 50 seconds ahead of Patrick Caldwell, another EISA skier returning from a European racing stint at the Junior World Championships. This marks the second time the Dartmouth freshman has finished second to Patterson in freestyle races this year and, with exceptionally smooth technique and such consistency in the discipline, Caldwell is beginning to seem a likely successor to Patterson’s dominant skating on the circuit.
Dartmouth was also able to place their men in spots 3 and 4 with David Sinclair and Silas Talbot, respectively, helping the Big Green to a team victory. UVM finished second thanks to Jorgen Grav (5th) and Rogan Brown (6th) as the two heavy-hitting EISA teams swept the top six places in the men’s race.
The Catamounts celebrated another double-victory day as Linda Danvind-Malm claimed her third victory in as many races on Friday. With Stephanie Kirk returning from Europe, the Cats were able to sweep the women’s podium for the first time this season. Anja Gruber finished second, 8 seconds behind Danvind-Malm, while Kirk rounded out the podium.
A fresh face on the circuit after being absent from early competition, UNH welcomed back top performer Annika Taylor, who had been representing Great Brittain in the U23 World Championships. Taylor finished just a few seconds from the podium in fourth place, helping UNH to a second place team score along with Katrin Larusson (7th) and Claire Galvin (11th). Dartmouth finished third in the team standings.
Saturday: 15/20K Classic
The UVM women would continue to celebrate a great weekend at the conclusion of Saturday’s 15K classic race, held in the individual-start format. The tracks stayed solid, but the kick became difficult for some skiers due to the combination of warming weather and a very hilly course.
One skier who showed no signs of trouble, neither wax-based nor strength-based, was Anja Gruber. Just by watching her ski up any hill on course, it was hard to imagine the UVM skier would take anything less than the top spot on the podium. Gruber’s kick was quick, assertive and secure. Her glide was smooth and her effort was well-paced, all factors that combined to a minute-plus victory over Dartmouth’s Annie Hart.
Much like Gruber, Hart appeared to be skiing the course extremely well and with great technical efficiency. She added yet another podium finish to her collection this year, but is still seeking her first victory of the 2014 season.
Just edged out of second by Hart was UVM’s Danvind-Malm, who picked up yet another strong finish to help the Catamount women to their second team victory of the weekend.
Breaking up the powerful series of green suits at the top of the women’s race was Harvard’s Jennifer Rolfes, who skied to an excellent fourth place and earned the Crimson women a third place in the team score with help from Rachel Hampton (23rd) and Maile Sapp (25th). Rolfes has been narrowing her distance from the podium recently, as has Bowdoin skier Kaitlynn Miller, who was fifth on Saturday. Last year Miller raced to her first career podium on this course, which no doubt suits her strong striding abilities.
In the men’s race, a longer event just meant a bigger time gap for Scott Patterson, who once again impressed with his raw speed and grit. Clocking the fastest laps throughout the race, Patterson finished a whopping minute and 44 second ahead of teammate Jorgen Grav. Laval’s Frederic Touchette notched third place, but in terms of NCAA point qualification it was UVM’s Rogan Brown who gave the Catamounts a sweep of the domestic field and a large victory in the team score.
Two UNH skiers, Per Lindgren (5th) and Eirik Fosnaes (6th) helped the Wildcat men edge out Dartmouth for second place in team scoring as Bowdoin’s James Crimp gave chase not far behind in 7th. Crimp has come on strong this season and is on track to head to NCAA Championships along with his teammate Miller.
Despite being held at Oak Hill, Trapp Family Lodge and Craftsbury within the last few years, one constant of the Dartmouth Carnival for many seasons now has been the annual “Carni Crush” tradition. After Saturday’s classic events, both teams and individual racers professed their love for others on the circuit with valentines, poems and songs. A great way to unwind after the stress of a long weekend of racing, crushes this year included harmonized songs, choreographed dance routines, and even a romantic one-on-one wax table wine and cheese date.
Results can be found under the “Collegiate Results” section of Bart Timing
Racing continues next weekend with the Williams College Carnival at Prospect Mountain
Adam Terko is the assistant coach of the St. Lawrence University Ski Team