St. Michael’s Carnival Report

With our third weekend of racing now in the books, we’re halfway through the regular season. Harvard Skiing headed back to Vermont this weekend for the St. Michael’s Carnival at Sleepy Hollow and Smuggler’s Notch, where the Crimson finished 10th as a team and we saw several personal-best performances from individual skiers. Nordic captain Akeo Maifeld-Carucci led the team with a ninth-place finish in the 10 k classic and freshman Kelly Steeves had her best race of the year with a 20th in the women’s Giant Slalom.

Nordic Report

Akeo Maifeld-Carucci hammers the 10 k classic. Photo: Silke Hynes/EISA.

The nordic squad raced in Huntington, Vermont, for two days of classic racing at Sleepy Hollow. The course there is an old-school unhomologated 5 k loop, an unusual characteristic for college races these days. Akeo led the way for the Crimson once again with a solid ninth place in the individual start 10 k classic, consistent with his classic results all season and only eight seconds from the top five. Freshman Connor Green was our second scorer in 42nd and sophomore Ian Meyer made a marked improvement over his classic race last weekend to take 47th.

In the women’s 5 k classic, Rachel Hampton continued her strong sophomore campaign with a 13th place, just 10 seconds out of 10th. In her best race of the season thus far, Maile Sapp finished 32nd as our second woman. Five seconds behind her, junior Hanna Barnes also had a personal-best day in 34th.

On the second day of racing the EISA competed in an exciting 4 x 3k mixed relay, in which each school fielded three teams of two men and two women. There was more movement in this relay format than in a men’s- or women’s-only event, which kept things interesting throughout the race. Maile, Akeo, Rachel and sophomore Devlin Shea fought hard and finished 13th to lead the Crimson. Rachel in particular skied a great split, moving past four teams on the third leg to move us into 11th. Junior Annie Harvieux, Connor, Hanna and Ian also raced well in 19th, and Hanna skied an incredible third leg with the 11th-fastest women’s split of the entire day.

Alpine Report

The alpine squad headed to Smuggler’s Notch this weekend. Much like Sleep Hollow, the mountain is an old-school New England race hill that twists and turns and has some real serious pitch to it. It rewards good technical, tactical, aggressive skiing, and will send you for a ride if you aren’t on top of your game!

Friday was a very snowy, windy day that proved a challenge, with conditions varying from very soft in places to glare ice in others. The inconsistent conditions proved challenging for everyone, but freshmen Kelly Steeves was again the model of consistency, finishing the day in 20th place. Senior captain Simon Merryweather made a big move up in the first run, just missing the second run qualification by one spot.

Saturday’s slalom race was marked by single-digit temperatures and plenty of frostbite to go around for everyone. The team had one of its best days, showing some remarkable consistency and fight in the most challenging conditions we’ve seen all season. Simon made a huge move up from a start spot of 75 to finish 28th on the day, Dan Rittenhouse moved from a start of 87 to finish in 34th, and James Stevenson moving from a start of 79 to finish in 35th. The men’s team really were outstanding under very difficult conditions!

Kelly led the women in the slalom, starting 61st but finishing 28th, with captain Samantha Udolf punching into 31st place from a start spot of 75. Look for the team to try to capitalize on its recent success at the upcoming Dartmouth Carnival this weekend!

Full Results

UVM Carnival Report

Harvard Skiing was in Stowe, Vt., this weekend for the UVM Carnival, where the Crimson placed ninth overall and produced several individual personal bests. Senior captain Akeo Maifeld-Carucci led the way once more for the team with two top-10s, a fourth place in the 10 k skate and an eighth place in the 15 k classic. Read on for the nordic and alpine reports.

Nordic Report

Akeo in the 10k skate. Photo: Silke Hynes/EISA.

The course at the Trapps Family Lodge is always one of our favorites; the homologated 5k loop includes several wide, swooping downhills out of the start, perfectly banked s-turns through the woods, and a long, gradual climb to the finish that keeps racers fighting all the way to the line.

Akeo kicked things off on Friday with another impressive 10 k skate. With the exception of current EISA leader Paddy Caldwell (Dartmouth), the talented men’s field finished extremely close together in the individual-start event. Akeo paced things well and sat in fourth after the first lap, within a second of about five other skiers all fighting for second place. He ended up in fourth, only 0.2 seconds out of third. In the Crimson’s second scoring position, freshman Connor Green had another strong race in 46th to continue his strong debut season with us. Just 0.2 seconds behind him was sophomore Devlin Shea in 47th.

In the women’s 5 k skate, sophomore Rachel Hampton continued to impress with a 13th place finish to lead the Crimson, a seven-place improvement over her skate race last weekend and just 13th seconds away from the top 10. Junior Annie Harvieux skied a smart race and landed in 22nd, starting at a steady pace and skiing up through the ranks in the second half of the race. Junior Hanna Barnes finished a strong 56th as Harvard’s third woman.

On Saturday, we competed in our second mass start classic race of the season. In the men’s 15k, Akeo started off skiing comfortably in the lead pack and finished a solid eighth place. With two race weekends now under our belt, he sits in third on the EISA men’s NCAA qualifying list. Connor had another good classic race, finishing 44th, and Devlin followed up in 49th, 23 places better than his classic race at Bates last weekend.

Rachel skiing strong in the 5 k skate. Photo: Silke Hynes/EISA.

On the women’s side, Rachel skied a gutsy 10 k classic right out of the gate. She got off to a blazing start and skied with the lead collegiate pack through the first lap, sitting comfortably in sixth. She slipped a few places in the final kilometers, but still fought hard to the line to end up in 11th place, a new personal best and only one second outside the top 10. Hanna skied a great race and finished 44th, and sophomore Maile Sapp was Harvard’s third finisher in 60th.

Alpine Report

Harvard’s alpine team took to the famed trails of Stowe, Vermont, where conditions were firm, to say the least. We experienced bullet-proof ice on a hill that is steep, with lots of terrain; it was always going to be a battle of attrition!

In Friday’s GS race the hill and conditions took its toll on the team, with a number of DNFs on the first run, and one spectacular crash by hard-charging captain, Samantha Udolf (she’s OK, though!). Kelly Steeves led the way for the Crimson for the second straight week, skiing to 23rd place on the day for her best collegiate result so far.

In Saturday’s slalom race, Kelly again anchored the team’s results with a solid 27th, from a start position of 63. On the men’s side, we had three athletes qualify for a second run in the slalom; Dan Rittenhouse led the way in 38th place after the first run, with Jack Stobierski and Pieter Weemaes just behind. Dan skied an aggressive second run but crashed out in a very tricky section of the course that claimed a number of the top skiers. Jack punched in with a strong 30th place from a start position of 88, with Pieter a few spots behind in 36th. The men were on the verge of having three solid finishers, which, given the difficulty of the day, could have easily led to the men’s best team result in recent history. Needless to say, they are all motivated to give it another go this coming weekend at the St Michael’s Carnival at Smuggler’s Notch!

Links: Results | NCAA Rankings

On the Podium: Bates Carnival Report

Akeo Maifeld-Carucci on his way to second place in the men's 10k skate at Bates. (Photo: Mike Mulshine)

Harvard kicked off its 2015 campaign in Maine this weekend at the Bates Carnival, where the team placed ninth overall. Men’s senior captain Akeo Maifeld-Carucci made headlines with a second-place finish in the 10 k skate on Saturday–his first career carnival podium–to follow up his ninth place in the 20 k classic on Friday. Akeo came close to the podium last year but had never quite cracked the top three until this weekend, and the result reflects the hard work he’s put in over the last four years.

Nordic Report

Rachel Hampton en route to 15th in the 15k classic. (Photo: Mike Mulshine)

Several Harvard nordies posted strong results in Maine. Beginning with the women’s 15k classic mass start on Friday, sophomore Rachel Hampton skied a smart race and finished 15th with a time of 51:49. Fellow sophomore Maile Sapp was Harvard’s second woman in 34th and junior Annie Harvieux took 44th.

Akeo led the Crimson in ninth place in the 20 k classic after skiing with the leaders for the first few laps of the course. The men experienced a short but heavy snow squall midway through their race, which splintered the lead pack. Akeo finished in 1:00:15, four seconds behind UVM’s Jorgen Grav. Freshman Connor Green made an impressive 20 k debut in 36th and sophomore Devlin Shea rounded out the Crimson scoring in 73rd.

Saturday began at eight degrees below zero. Annie battled through the cold to post an 18th-place finish in the 5 k skate, a personal best for her by a huge margin. Rachel was nine seconds behind her in 20th and senior captain Emily Rogers scored a strong 41st as the Crimson’s third woman.

Akeo on the men's 10k skate podium.

In the men’s 10 k, Akeo flew around Black Mountain’s championship-level course right out of the gate. After the first lap he sat in the top five, less than ten seconds out of the lead with most of the top-seeded competitors through. By the time he came around our split timer again, Akeo was in the lead, and at the finish only Dartmouth’s Paddy Caldwell bumped him out of the leader’s chair. After Akeo, Connor followed up his debut race for the Crimson with another strong result in 38th and freshman Haakon Sigurslid scored his first points for the team in 54th.

Alpine Report

The Harvard alpine team kicked of its collegiate season at Sunday River. The snow conditions were amazing, holding up very well for the entire race both days. The temperatures, however, turned out to be one of the biggest challenges of the weekend, dipping well below zero at times. Friday’s Giant Slalom saw Harvard freshmen Kelly Steeves get her collegiate career off to a solid start, leading the way in 33rd. Captain Samantha Udolf had a fantastic move up from a start position of 82 to finish 42nd on the day.

The men’s team had a tough go of it, battling an extremely stacked field. Freshmen Pieter Weemaes came from a start position in the 80′s to narrowly miss qualifying for the second run.

In Saturday’s slalom race, Kelly was again the Crimson’s best finisher with an impressive move from a start position of 60 to end the day in 36th place. Captain Simon Merryweather was charging hard in his first run and just barely missed qualifying for the second run by only 0.09 seconds. Pieter was close behind him. This bodes well for the Crimson men putting multiple racers into the second run as carnival season progresses.

Next up is the UVM carnival at Stowe, VT this coming weekend. Don’t forget to check out the races live on Bart Timing, or better yet, we’d love to see you up on the race hill in person, cheering on the team!

Full Bates Carnival Results

Thanksgiving Camp and the Craftsbury Opener

Annie Harvieux '16 and Akeo Maifeld-Carucci '15 racing in the Craftsbury Opener on Sunday.

Happy December!

Harvard Skiing put in some quality on-snow training over the Thanksgiving break. The alpine team headed to Vail and Copper Mountain in Colorado, while the nordic squad ventured up to Craftsbury, Vermont, and capped off a high volume training week with a race effort in the Craftsbury Opener on Sunday. Senior captain Akeo Maifeld-Carucci and junior Annie Harvieux led the Crimson in the individual-start ~10 k freestyle against a small but quality field that included UNH and Williams College skiers. Akeo took third in the men’s race, 14 seconds behind winner Eirik Fosnaes (UNH). Annie started her season with a bang by claiming sixth to lead the Harvard women, 12 seconds out of the top five. We’re excited for the carnivals to come! Full results can be viewed here.

Read on for an inside look at our training camps, as told by two current student-athletes.

Nordic Camp, by Annie Harvieux ’16

The women's team pauses mid-classic ski to take in the beauty of the Northeast Kingdom.

Coming back to snow is like coming home for Harvard Nordic. We all need a break amidst the hectic last few weeks of the semester, the flow of papers and midterms that seem to never end and the ground outside that stays eternally brown. Many people go home to where they grew up for Thanksgiving. Harvard Nordic goes home to Craftsbury.

Though our first night at Craftsbury brought rain instead of snow, we were skiing a 1.5k loop the very first morning thanks to the lodge’s top-notch snowmaking and maintaining capabilities. After a good night’s rest in the quiet of the woods and a hearty, delicious Vermont-grown breakfast (secret’s out, that’s why we REALLY like Craftsbury), we devoted the first day of camp to technical analysis and drills—the important transition from wobbling around like baby giraffes on skis to the smooth and powerful strokes we’d be racing with on Sunday.

Craftsbury hosted an incredible Thanksgiving dinner for us in their new lodge.

As if just for us, Craftsbury began getting substantial drifts of big, downy snowflakes, the ones you see in movies, as we transitioned from basic workouts into some harder things. We got back into our element. Fueled by homemade Craftsbury bread and communal naps, plus sea shanties performed by our very own Haakon Sigurslid ’18, we put in intervals, speeds, early-morning core workouts, overdistances, and video sessions. We put in some study time. We tackled some problem sets and papers. We watched a couple movies while laying in piles. Let’s just say we got stuff done.

The week began drawing to a bittersweet close during Craftsbury’s Thanksgiving dinner, this year held in a beautiful new hall in the Lodge. Several teammates collaborated to make some additional pies, which we snacked on after a lovely post-dinner walk by the lake.

Finally, our week ended with the Craftsbury Opener race on Saturday. All team members raced, setting aside the exhaustion of a week’s distance training to get back in the racing game. We rolled out of Craftsbury together in the team vans rejuvenated by our love of the sport, and with great training hours, and memories, to carry back to school with us.

Harvard Nordic '14-'15.

Alpine Camp, by Kelly Steeves ’18

On Friday, November 21, the Alpine squad arrived in Colorado eager to be back on snow again. The team started the camp off with two very productive days free-skiing at Copper and Vail and getting used to skiing again. Unfortunately a winter storm hit Vail after our first day on snow, which lead to less than ideal conditions for working on drills the following day. However, the team made the most of it and worked through the challenging conditions while also enjoying all the freshly fallen powder.

Harvard Alpine at the top of Vail.

The following couple of days were spent at the race-training venue at Vail, training Giant Slalom. Though the weather was overcast and with light snow, far from the sunny, blue-sky conditions that Vail is known for, the snow was hard and the training was extremely productive. Everyone was working hard and excited to be back in gates once again.

After a day off where everyone caught up on schoolwork, the team returned to Vail for some more free skiing on Thanksgiving day. It was the most incredible day with perfect bluebird conditions and the team had lots of run ripping around on groomers.

The final two days of the trip were spent training at Copper Mountain where incredible snow conditions resulted in very productive training. After an early 6:30 a.m. training session on the last day, the team headed back to Harvard exhausted but happy after a great camp. Everyone made great progress and it was amazing to see how the team improved as a whole. The camp was an incredible way to start off the season and everyone is excited to be back on snow once again.

Bluebird skies in Colorado.

The CSU Rollerski Race

Soren Anderson leads the train at the CSU Rollerski Race on Sunday in North Andover, Mass.

For the past seven years, our nordic team has competed in the annual CSU Rollerski Race in North Andover, Mass. The 15 k classic event is a great pre-season racing opportunity, and to simulate a two-day carnival, we had the team run the 2.5 miles around Fresh Pond at race effort the day before. The 16 mile-an-hour winds and scattered flurries that greeted us on course on Sunday made the experience that much more like real ski racing in the northeast. Bring on winter!

Soren catches a draft from Gavin McEwen (CSU).

In the men’s race, junior Soren Anderson led the field out of the start. In the driving wind and snow, he and CSU skier Gavin McEwen flew around the double pole-heavy course, trading leads and quickly gapping the field. Their battle would last almost until the finish, when Gavin made a well-timed pass around Soren and put five seconds on him; Gavin won in 39:19 and Soren took second in 39:24. Senior captain Akeo Maifeld-Carucci claimed bronze for the Crimson in 40:36 and sophomore Devlin Shea came through in fourth in 40:59.

In the women’s race, junior Hanna Barnes took the win and junior Annie Harvieux claimed second. After skiing together for the first half, Hanna pulled away from Annie on the gradual climb early on the second lap and skied to victory in 46:32, 11 seconds ahead of Annie. Former Harvard assistant coach Maddy Wendt took third (48:54) and freshman Charlotte Cole was fourth (52:31). Given the adverse conditions, finish times were almost all 90 seconds slower or more this year versus last year, but the team demonstrated a level of race intensity along with marked technical improvements that makes us excited for winter.

Hanna Barnes (24) and Annie Harvieux (28) lead the women's field behind CSU head coach and Harvard alum Rob Bradlee (17).

NCAA Ski Championships Report

Last week, we concluded our 2014 season at the NCAA Ski Championships at the 2002 Olympic venues in Park City and Soldier Hollow, Utah. We qualified an unprecedented four athletes for the Championships: seniors Becca Nadler, Chris Stock and Jen Rolfes and junior Akeo Maifeld-Carucci. Becca’s sixth in the women’s GS on the first day was the highlight of our results there, along with strong nordic performances by Jen, Chris and Akeo. Read on for details in our Alpine and Nordic reports.

Alpine Report: GS and Slalom at Park City

Becca Nadler, our senior captain, represented Harvard Alpine at the 2014 NCAA Skiing Championships this year. The University of Utah hosted the event and the alpine races were contested on the 2002 Olympic venue of Park City.

Becca Nadler, second from right, on the women's GS podium on Wednesday.

The theme of the week was warm weather and soft snow conditions. In fact, in the four days leading up to Wednesday’s GS race, we were only able to get in a single training run on the race hill. This meant a massive advantage for the western schools, and Utah specifically, which trains and races on that hill frequently. Nonetheless, Becca attacked the hill on race day as she has attacked every race during her four years at Harvard: full throttle! She skied a solid first run, and then put the hammer down on her second run to move from a start number of 13 into sixth place for the race. This is particularly noteworthy because start number played a huge role in the way the race took shape. The first three starters, for example, all finished in the top four overall. Becca had one of the biggest move-ups of the day, so this was quite a successful performance on a number of levels. It should also be noted that four of the top five finishers were all previous NorAm winners in GS (NorAms are only one level of racing below the World Cup level), so it was one of the strongest fields the Championships has ever seen.

Friday’s slalom was postponed to Saturday due to unskiable conditions, as the snow was so crumbly the gates wouldn’t stay in the snow. Colder temperatures on Friday night produced the best racing surface of the week for the slalom on Saturday. Starting with bib 32, Rebecca skied a solid first run to move into the “flip-30″ for the second run, where she took full advantage of a better start position, notching 10th place on the run with some very aggressive and motivated skiing, and ending the day in 20th position.

We are very proud of Becca and all she has accomplished in her four years at Harvard.

Nordic Report: 5/10k Classic and 15/20k Skate at Soldier Hollow

Like our alpine counterparts, the nordic contestants at NCAAs had to contend with unusually warm and soft conditions for the championships this year. It was quite something to pull up to the venue for our first course preview on Tuesday and see the entire 5k ribbon of manmade snow highlighted in contrast to the brown mud on the surrounding terrain. Soldier Hollow knows how to organize a top-level race series in the face of challenging conditions, however, and they did a fine job this time around of making sure everyone was able to race on a fair, safe course.

Chris Stock climbing Hermod's Hill during the 10k classic. Photo: Peter Hoenig.

2014 was the NCAA Championship debut of all three nordies who qualified this year. The individual-start 5/10k classic was our first race, and senior captain Jen Rolfes led the way with an impressive 17th as the fifth finisher from the Eastern region, just 14 seconds outside the top-10 in a very talented field.

Senior men’s captain Chris Stock led the way in the 10k with a 31st, followed by junior Akeo Maifeld-Carucci in 36th. Chris had finished the EISA season feeling a little tired, and went into the championships wanting some redemption. As the eighth Eastern finisher of the day, we consider his classic result mission accomplished. Akeo didn’t quite have the race he was hoping for, but skied as well as he thought he could have on that day.

After one rest day between nordic events, the 15/20k mass start dawned on the final day of the championships slightly ahead of schedule. Organizers moved start times up by an hour to avoid the extremely soft, slushy conditions that would inevitably develop on course by late morning.

Akeo Maifeld-Carucci in the 20k skate.

The men started at 9:00 am on rocket-fast, icy snow for what was a very tactical 20k at altitude. By the end of the race the course was getting slushy, and Akeo, wearing bib 21, skied smart within his pack and finished 30th, only 1:36 outside the winning time. Chris finished his career for the Crimson in 38th, starting at the back of the race but gradually moving up and winning a battle with UNH’s Per Lindgren in the middle kilometers.

Jen had another outstanding day in the women’s 15k, which started after the snow transformation at 10:30 am. Rather than play the tactical game, the women took the pace out fast right from the gun. Jen started in bib 21 and held her position for the entire race, finishing 23rd. She skied at or near the front of a pack for the first lap and on the second lap tried to bridge a gap to the group in front of her. By the time she caught and passed the next skier the race had strung out, but she made a strong push in the final lap, scampered up the legendary Hermod’s Hill in the final kilometer and held off a closing MSU skier through the finish to complete the best 15k of her career.

Jen Rolfes during the first lap of the 15k skate.

With the combined points from Harvard’s four athletes, the Crimson finished thirteenth as a team at the Championships.

In addition to NCAAs, sophomore Hanna Barnes and freshman Maile Sapp competed in the U20 division of the 2014 Junior National Championships in Stowe last week. The plan was for both athletes to compete in only the first two of four races at the event. Hanna led the way for Harvard in the 5k classic on day one, taking 15th, and Maile wasn’t far behind in 21st. Both women qualified for the classic sprint heats on day two; Maile was 17th and Hanna took 20th. Complete results from JNs are available here.

And with that, we conclude our 2014 season. Thank you to all of our alumni and fans for following our progress along the way.

The NCAA team with coaches at Park City after Becca's second slalom run on Saturday.