Dartmouth Skiway to host NCAA skiing championships in 2025

by Emily Lu and Andrew Doerr | 11/3/20 2:00am

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Source: Courtesy of Sofia Shomento ’21

For the third time in Dartmouth’s history and the first time since 2003, Dartmouth will host the NCAA men’s and women’s skiing championships in 2025.

The races will be held at both the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, New Hampshire and the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center at Oak Hill in Hanover.

According to director of skiing and women’s Nordic head coach Cami Thompson Graves, this year was the first time Dartmouth applied to host the championship event since previously hosting in 2003. Tiffani-Dawn Sykes, the associate athletics director for compliance, led the bid. Sykes said that the NCAA chooses a location based on factors including lodging, quality of facilities and electronic infrastructure for livestreaming the event. 

When Dartmouth last hosted the championships in 2003, the Big Green finished in sixth place. Several current ski coaches were in attendance; both Thompson Graves and men’s Alpine head coach Peter Dodge ’78 were already coaching, while men’s Nordic head coach Brayton Osgood ’03 competed in the races as a skier.

“We did an opening ceremony where we had a parade around the Green,” Thompson Graves said, recounting the 2003 championship. “Doing that made us realize how cool it was for our athletes to have their friends and classmates out there cheering them on. It was a great event, so it was just time to try and pull it off again.”

Osgood, who was a senior at the time, was able to compete in his final college ski races with the Dartmouth community watching him on the course he trained on for four years.

“The 5K loop was packed with spectators the whole way, and the whole school … wanted [me] to do well,” Osgood said. “I’m really looking forward to having our athletes get to experience that.”

Athletic recruitment is currently underway for the Class of 2025, which will be in its final year at Dartmouth when the championships are held on home turf. Thompson Graves said that Dartmouth hosting the event shows recruits the ski program’s strength and commitment to improving its facilities.

Dartmouth does not always have reliable snow conditions, which Thompson Graves said can be an issue for top recruits. However, she added that upgrading snow-making capabilities for the championship may make Dartmouth a more attractive option. 

Dodge said that hosting the championship will bolster recruiting by giving recruits exposure to potential opportunities they may have at Dartmouth’s skiing program.

“Cumulatively, we do well over the years, [with] our history and our consistency and putting out great teams,” Dodge said. “But [the championship is] certainly part of the picture. Hosting is part of the big picture recruiting scheme and something that we need to do.”

In addition to drawing in potential recruits, Nordic skier Sofia Shomento ’21 said that an event with “world-class skiing” will be advantageous for the Upper Valley community and especially younger skiers in the area. Shomento said that when she was in elementary school, she was inspired after attending the NCAA skiing championships that were hosted in her hometown of Bozeman, Montana.

“My dad took me out of school for a sick day, and I got to watch that racing,” Shomento said. “I was so young, but I just remember it was so inspiring to see that level of racing and also the sportsmanship that everybody had amongst each other. I think it’ll be really exciting for the younger generation.”

Alpine skier Peter Fucigna ’21 said he also feels that the event will be an exciting opportunity to highlight the team’s achievements.

“A lot of people at Dartmouth don't really understand competitive skiing that much, so being able to show that off and say that we have the NCAA championship is huge and validating for us,” Fucigna said.

While most of the skiers who will one day compete in this event have yet to begin collegiate racing or even the recruitment process, Sykes said that planning for the 2025 championships has already started. Upgrades at Oak Hill include widening the course to meet race standards and ensuring there will be adequate snow. 

“I think the biggest thing about the championship we had was that it was one of the few championships really held on a college campus,” Dodge said of the 2003 championship. “… We had incredible crowds where students could just get on the bus and go out to the skiway or the cross-country center … and it makes the event really special.”

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