Mount Mansfield Ski Club athletes made an end-of-year push and tore up race courses, culminating with the annual MMSC Cruise Into the New Year race on New Year’s Eve. In addition, there were three other races in the region: a Vermont Cup event at Okemo, the annual Cochran’s Holiday Slalom, and the New Year’s Eve FIS Slalom at Proctor Academy.
New Year’s cruise
Part New Year’s celebration, part early-season bragging rights for athletes young and old, this year’s Cruise into the New Year attracted 161 racers from age 4 to 70. The cold weather didn’t dampen spirits, as each athlete took two runs on a dual GS course to the cheers of the crowd at the finish.
Young athletes winning their age groups included Hugo Vanovac, Sofija Vanovac, Izze Lovell, Cailin Apple, Poppy Sargent, Aidan Robin, Sophie Sargent, Renny Matthes-Therriault, Taylor Rosenbloom, Trent Gutstein, Rachel Smith, Dash Kim, and Sandra Schoepke.
MMSC sent 26 athletes (10 women, 16 men) to a Vermont Cup giant slalom race in Okemo. For MMSC, this was the first chance for some U16 athletes to compete against older athletes, and they did not disappoint. Rachel Smith posted the top result of all MMSC participants with a first place for U16s and fifth place overall. The only racers to finish above Smith were at least three years older.
In what has become an annual tradition of attracting U.S. Ski Team members to a race during their holiday break, Cochran’s held an afternoon/evening two-run slalom for men and women. Numerous U.S. Ski Teamers competed, including former MMSCer and Cochran family member Robby Kelley.
For the women, five of the fastest 10 racers were either current or former MMSC athletes, including Alita Rogers (Saint Lawrence University) in second, Michelle Connacher in third, Kelsey Chenoweth (Bates College) in fourth, Sandra Schoepke in fifth, and Linley Shaw (Middlebury) in eighth.
On the men’s side, current and former MMSCers occupied six out of the top 10 places, with Kelley (U.S. Ski Team) in second, Griffin Brown in third, Sean Higgins in fifth, Brad Farrell (St. Michael’s College) in eighth, Carter Robertson in ninth, and Charlie Harrison in 10th.
Eighteen MMSC athletes (four women, 14 men) also competed in the New Year’s Eve slalom race at Proctor Academy in New Hampshire. Also attracting many U.S. Ski Team athletes on their holiday break, the event included two slalom runs under the lights of Proctor’s home hill.
On the men’s side, MMSCers, Sean Higgins posted the fastest second run on his way to third overall, and Griffin Brown followed with an eighth-place finish.
On the women’s side, the top finisher was Michelle Connacher in 15th as the fastest non-college athlete in the race.
UVM Winter Carnival
The well known University of Vermont Winter Carnival takes place this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 10 and 11. The alpine racing portion of this annual carnival consists of a giant slalom race on Friday and slalom on Saturday, both on Spruce Peak’s Main Street racing trail. The carnival’s Nordic races will take place at the Trapp Family Lodge trails Feb. 28 and March 1. The UVM Carnival attracts eastern college powerhouses University of Vermont, Middlebury, Dartmouth, Williams, Colby, Bates, Saint Michael’s, Plymouth State, University of New Hampshire, Harvard, Bates, and Saint Lawrence.
Then, on Sunday, MMSC will host the first U14 Northern Vermont Council Qualifier of 2014, a giant slalom on Spruce’s Slalom Hill trail. It’s a short walk up the hill to the UVM carnival races on Friday and Saturday, and great viewing from the deck of Spruce Peak Lodge for Sunday’s race.
All races begin at 9:30 a.m., so come on out and enjoy some great ski racing.