Alexa Dlouhy ’19 standing out in EISA competition

by Max Zhuang | 2/4/16 6:00pm

2-5-16-sports-alexadlouhy-courtesy
Alexa Dlouhy '19 has won her last three slaloms and looks to continue her success this weekend.

Freshman alpine skier Alexa Dlouhy ’19 has been dominating her competition in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association. After winning three straight slaloms, Dlouhy is one of the EISA first-ranked Dartmouth alpine skiing team’s most valuable assets.

“She’s absolutely crushing it,” teammate Foreste Peterson ’18 said. “Alexa is kind of in a league of her own right now, but more than that she’s been such a breath of fresh air.”

As a freshman, Dlouhy has been a big addition to the team as the current league leader in the slalom. To her teammates, however, Dlouhy is also known as someone who rounds out the ski team family with her unique personality. Known for her gullibility and entertaining vegetarian eating habits, Dlouhy is makes her teammates, who call her “snappy,” laugh in different ways.

“I feel very comfortable and I can be just about as silly, outrageous, or rambunctious as I am with them,” Dlouhy said. “I’m definitely not the leader and I very much rely on my teammates for advice and a lot of guidance. I’m really lucky to have been having such a great season.”

For Dlouhy, her amazing season can’t be solely attributed to luck. Born into a skiing family, her father competed at the collegiate level at McGill University in Montreal, her hometown. She has been skiing since she was four years old. When she was six, she began her skiing career and quickly realized that skiing was what she wanted to focus on, prompting her to transfer from her high school to Vermont ski academy the Green Mountain Valley School.

“I remember how much my parents were willing to sacrifice for me to be able to race,” Dlouhy said.

When it came time for college applications, Dartmouth was not interested in Dlouhy for skiing. She simply wasn’t competitive enough at that point. Nonetheless, with her new commitment to the ski academy, Dlouhy found herself quickly improving in the slalom and the giant slalom. Her success is due to her ability to snap her skis around quickly on her turns, forming smaller arcs. She learned to cut the radius of her turns, develop quicker feet and to be more patient in the giant slalom looking for speed.

After showing promise in early competitions in December, Dlouhy was contacted by the Dartmouth ski coach. By February, Dartmouth began to show serious interest in her and a month later officially recruited Dlouhy.

“I have always been set on going to Dartmouth,” Dlouhy said. “Even as a little girl I would remember seeing Dartmouth [skiers] come to races and they were always known for not only being great skiers but also having a lot of fun.”

After her senior year in high school, Dlouhy chose to take a gap year­ — not an unusual move for skiers so they can specifically focus on their training.

During this time, Dlouhy traveled to ski with the Quebec ski team, spending time in France, Austria and western Canada. Not only did she meet fellow Dartmouth skier Kelly Moore ’18 along the way, Dlouhy also spent time with University of Vermont skier Laurence St-Germain who has been absent from EISA competition while skiing for Canada in the World Cup North American Circuits.

To keep up with her talented teammates, Dlouhy trained and raced day and night, everyday. She learned to shorten her arcs to turn quicker, which combined with a smoother turn, gives her more speed during the space at the gates. It was during this time she developed the confidence and skills to put her slalom together and ski at the collegiate level.

“Alexa is always first on the hill and last off the hill,” women’s alpine skiing head coach John Dwyer said. “It’s a testament to her dedication. She’s the slalom leader right now and hopefully she can retain that title for the rest of the season.”

With her hard work, Dlouhy takes an aggressive approach when on the hill. She pushes herself to ski straighter than her competition, helping her ski faster. Not only has Dlouhy won each of the three slaloms to date, she has posted the best time on each of the six runs that made up those three races.

“She won her last slalom by two seconds,” Peterson, who finished that race in second place, said. “In terms of skiing, that’s a huge difference and she’s killing it. I think, based off the way Alexa is skiing right now, she has a long road ahead of her.”

The Big Green snapped UVM’s 20 carnival win streak by winning the Colby Carnival with Dlouhy’s help. At next weekend’s Dartmouth Carnival, one of Dlouhy’s top rivals, UVM skier St-Germain looks to dethrone Dlouhy and take the slalom leader title in the EISA. UVM as a team sits in second place of the EISA only behind Dartmouth College. For the first three out of six carnivals, St-Germain has not skied with the team due to World Cup competition. The two teams will face off during the Dartmouth Carnival Friday, Feb. 12, through Saturday, Feb. 13.

“I think the way Alexa’s been skiing, she has a good shot at retaining the leader bid for the rest of the carnival season,” Dwyer said.

As for Dlouhy, she remains less concerned with her individual accomplishments compared to the team’s goals. According to Dlouhy, she can often be spotted “screaming her brains out” in support of her teammates during every race.

“I’m hoping that we can remain number one,” Dlouhy said. “With a strong Nordic ski team as well, it would be excellent to clobber the other schools and remain first in the East. Then, we can advance to ski in NCAA championships against western teams.”