The Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) kicked off its season last weekend in Sugarloaf, Maine, with a series plagued by challenging New England weather. High winds put Saturday’s race on hold, but the circuit was able to complete its first race on Jan. 21. Dartmouth and the University of Vermont (UVM) distanced themselves from the field in the giant slalom, and it could become a trend to watch throughout the season.

Foreste Peterson posted the most impressive individual result for the Big Green, winning the first women’s race of the season with a time of 2:03.65. Middlebury’s Caroline Bartlett finished in second, 0.66 seconds back, and Lisa Wedsjoe from UNH rounded out the podium, 1.66 seconds behind.

Earlier this season, Peterson made her World Cup debut in Soelden and most recently competed in Kranjska Gora. Peterson said that because of those starts; she felt a little more pressure to win at Sugarloaf.

“[Sunday] felt especially good just because I think it sets the tone for the rest of the season,” Peterson said.

Peterson is also settling in for a battle at the top of the women’s circuit.

“Right now the top carnival skiers, anyone can win on any given day, so I think it will be a really exciting rest of the season,” she said.

Although Peterson left Sugarloaf with a win, Dartmouth’s team success can largely be attributed to the men’s team, putting three skiers in the top five. Tanguy Nef took second place while Brian McLaughlin and Tomas Woolson finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Dartmouth returns this season with their entire NCAA Championship team, giving them some of the best depth on the circuit.

“Our team as a whole is super strong,” Peterson said, “Last year at NCAAs, we had some issues all the way around… and I think if we compete to our full potential it could be a really cool and exciting year for us.”

Sandy Vietze took the win for the men, dominating both runs for a combined time of 1:59.39. Nef finished 0.72 seconds back in second place and Guillaume Grand from St. Michaels College finished third, 1.12 seconds back.

Sunday was the first carnival win for Vietze.

“I have been wanting to [win a carnival] for a while, so yesterday was pretty good,” Vietze said.

Vietze, now a senior at UVM, said that he has progressed continuously while at school and it finally paid off last weekend.

“It’s definitely a good way to start the season,” Vietze said.

UVM Assistant Coach Tim Kelley was impressed by the Catamount’s race.

“I thought he skied really well,” Kelley said. “He’s been skiing really well in training. He’s always had that top speed. Consistency has kind of been an issue in the past, so it’s nice to see him skiing solid and consistent, and putting two runs down.”

UVM is the other team in the East vying for the top spot alongside Dartmouth. On Sunday, the two teams made up eight of the top ten spots in the men’s race. Though it is only one event, each team returned with the majority of their top athletes from the 2017 season.

Meanwhile, Middlebury is dealing with the loss of Robert Cone and Colin Hayes on the men’s side, but they have added Erik Arvidsson fresh off the U.S. Ski Team, who was on his way to a top-10 finish in his first carnival prior to exiting the course in his second run.

Luckily, the ladies team from Middlebury remained largely in tact with Bartlett, Jackie Atkins and Lexi Calcagni, tying the Dartmouth women for first place on Sunday.

After the GS and the nordic races the weekend before, Dartmouth leads the Colby Carnival with 996 points, followed by UVM with 946. Middlebury sits third with 730 point. A make-up date for the canceled slalom race will be announced at a later date. 

EISA action continues with the St. Michael’s College Carnival on Jan. 26-27. RMISA racing resumes on Feb. 3-4 in for the New Mexico Invitational.

Complete results from the Colby Carnival can be found here.