One-on-One with Patrick Caldwell '17
This week, I talked with men’s Nordic skier Patrick Caldwell ’17. Caldwell had a historic winter season which he capped with a national title in the men’s 10K Freestyle race at the NCAA skiing championships, helping the Dartmouth ski team place sixth at the event, an improvement over last year’s finish.
How did you get into skiing?
PC: I grew up skiing with my family. Skiing was one of the first things we learned how to do. I probably started when I was two or three years old. Every year we’d go on a trip to Quebec to go skiing for Christmas so it was definitely something we grew up doing.
Did you go to a ski academy for high school?
PC: I did for my junior and senior years. I went to Hanover High [School] and then Stratton Mountain School in southern Vermont. A few of my [Dartmouth] teammates went [to Stratton Mountain School] as well.
What is your favorite thing about skiing?
PC: The people you meet while competing. Also, the fact that it’s an individual sport, but you are with a team and that you are always with other people. It is a very social sport in that sense. You’re always with other people.
What was the week of the NCAAs like?
PC: The NCAAs were hosted in [Lake Placid, New York], which is a really unique venue. It is a really historical place because they had the [Winter] Olympics there about 30 or 35 years ago. It was amazing to be in a place with so much history for cross-country skiing. It was a really fun week. It was also good to see my friends from western schools, like in Alaska and the Midwest. During the week you see really high energy from everyone. It’s always cool to go to the NCAAs because everyone is so fired up to race and compete.
Were you nervous to compete that week?
PC: It was a definitely a higher stress week for sure. Any championship week is intense in that way. There is a bigger pressure to do well because you are contributing to a team score. It is a good kind of nervous because everyone is really excited as well.
What are your highlights from this past season?
PC: Definitely the NCAAs. One of my biggest goals was to do well in that race. U.S. Nationals in January would be my second highlight. I had my first podium at Nationals, which qualified me for [the U23 Championships] in February, which would be my third highlight. Those are my three highlights from this past season.
How do you think that Dartmouth skiing can improve upon its already impressive record in future season?
PC: As a whole, the NCAAs is a really challenging week because it takes a lot to have a high caliber team effort because there are so many different variables going on. We maybe had a little bit of bad luck during the week, but overall we performed well and better than people expected us to do. I think we need to keep doing what we’re doing, and if it all comes together at the right time, we should have successful future seasons.