Ski team preview

The UVM Ski Team opened its 2014 season at Stowe Mountain Resort this past Friday with the alpine portion of the UVM Carnival. The Catamounts are off to a positive start; members of both the mens and women’s teams won slalom races where competitors race down the mountain while weaving through gates as fast as possible.

The 2013 Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association Alpine Rookie of the Year, sophomore Dom Garand earned his first career win in the men’s race. His winning time was 1:58.88. Senior Kate Ryley earned her 15th career victory in the women’s race, posting the top two runs of the day with a combined time of 2:02.71.

The Nordic ski team attended the U.S. Cross Country Championships in Midway, Utah, Jan. 6. Junior Linda Danvind Malm led the Catamount’s in the women’s 1.5k freestyle sprint race. She finished in eighth place.

In the men’s race, sophomore Cole Morgan was the top junior skier. Former Catamount Jennie Bender’10 won her second U.S. Cross Country title in the past two years.

Bill Reichelt, director of Skiing and Head Alpine Coach, hopes to improve throughout the season. “It feels like we have had more races than practice thus far and are looking forward to getting quality training in at Stowe Mountain Resort,” he said.

Patrick Weaver, head Nordic coach, looks to build off the success of winning last season’s national championship. Newcomers such as first-year Marion Woods, who skis for the Nordic team, will “give the women some depth,” according to Coach Weaver. “It will be exciting to see what she can do,” he said, “especially in Classic.”

Coach Reichelt agrees that the women’s team has new depth. He attributes this to first-years on the alpine team Brittany Lathrop and Celine Rytz. He noted that these additions make “for a total of five women, something [the alpine team] haven’t had for a few years.”

UVM has a number of members of the Capital One Academic All-American squad on the ski team. Morgan, Danvind Malm, junior Anja Gruber and senior Scott Patterson ski for the Nordic team. Senior Sean Higgins, junior Jonathan Nordbotten, Kate Ryley and sophomore Kristina Riis-Johannessen also ski for the alpine team.

Coach Reichelt said he has high expectations for his top skiers senior Jonathan Nordbotten, 2013 NCAA national grand slalom champion, senior Travis Dawson, Ryley, 2012 NCAA national slalom champion and Riis-Johannessen, who earned a podium position three times in the last two NCAA championships.

Coach Weaver also sees potential in his top skiers, including Anja Gruber, 2013 NCAA national champion, Danvind Malm, sophomore Stephanie Kirk, Woods, and Patterson. Coach Weaver said, “second place [for the men’s team] is up for grabs, and the remaining men are all close to one another.”

Weaver said, “the team trained really well this past fall. They are all very competitive but support each other at the same time.” He expects that Dartmouth, particularly the men’s team, will challenge the Catamounts this season, as well as the universities in Denver, Utah and Colorado.

Last year, the ski team had great success. Not only did the Catamounts win a national championship, but the women’s team, led by Gruber, was honored with a Public Recognition Award for the second time in three years. Gruber also won an individual national championship in the 5k classic last June.

Both coaches have ideas regarding how the Catamounts can win another national championship.

“If everyone skis to their ability, we will be competitive,” Weaver said. We have a lot of talent and hard workers on this team, it will be exciting to see what they can do.”

Reichelt plans to focus on the process of building up the team and its members. “We have to stay healthy,” he said, “and have some luck!”

The ski team will hit the slopes once more Jan. 17 and Jan. 18 at the Colby Carnival in Waterville, Maine. This will be the beginning of the Nordic team’s Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association Circuit.