On Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11, the Big Green ski team competed at the Harvard Carnival in Dublin and Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. The team fended off the University of Vermont to claim first place in an Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association carnival for the first time in nearly four years.
The Big Green pushed through substandard weather conditions to take the lead on the first day. With temperatures dropping below negative 40 degrees and extreme wind in Dublin, the women’s Nordic team opened the carnival with the 10-kilometer classic ski. The women’s team started strong with Ava Thurston ’26 and Nina Seeman ’25 settling into first and second place by the second loops of the race. Thurston won the race with a time of 31:43.9 and Seeman took second. Garvee Tobin ’24 finished the race strong and ended in fourth place. With two skiers on the podium, Dartmouth claimed 138 points, beating out UVM’s 106 points.
Thurston attributed the success of her race to a clear and calm mindset after competing internationally in Whistler, Canada for the Junior World Championship.
“I was just really excited, and it was a fun atmosphere,” Thurston said. “I was in Canada for junior worlds, so that was more high stakes racing out there. Then, coming back to race at the carnivals and race for the team was just a lot of fun…I think I was able to ski more confidently because I was less worried about what could potentially go wrong.”
The men’s team followed suit with the 10kclassic ski on the first day of the carnival. John Steel Hagenbuch ’25 led halfway through the race, but ultimately ended in fourth place with a time of 28:46.5. Luke Allan ’25 took second place to claim Dartmouth’s only men’s podium spot. Jack Lange ’26 placed seventh to give the Big Green three skiers in the top 10. The men’s team gave Dartmouth a total of 123 points, beating out Middlebury College’s 114.
Cami Thompson Graves, the women’s Nordic team head coach, said that she felt that the team’s confidence helped in securing success despite the conditions.
“I think we were a bit lucky and we had good skis, so I think that helped us,” Thompson Graves said. “It gave the team confidence that they could go out there and just race their best and not worry so much about the tricky conditions that some of the other students were facing.”
The men and women’s alpine teams faced similar challenges in the slalom in Waterville Valley. Due to deteriorating snow conditions, only the top 30 skiers were allowed to compete in the second run of the race. This left Dartmouth with Carly Elsinger ’25 and Gwen Wattenmaker ’23 competing. Elsinger ended up in sixth place while Wattenmaker finished in fourth.
On the men’s side, Oscar Zimmer ’26 was initially in 14th place after the first run, but sped up in the next, climbing to the top of the podium for the first time with a combined time of 2:01.27. Max Martin ’24 finished in third, and the men’s team ended in second place with 94 points.
Dartmouth entered the second day of the carnival with a 68-point lead over Middlebury. The women opened for the Nordic team once again with the 3x5-kilometer classic relays. The Big Green entered two teams: one of Tobin, Thurston and Seemon, and another of Emma Reeder ’25, Tatum Witter ’25 and Grace Zanni ’26. Thurston’s team took third place and the second squad claimed seventh.
On the men’s side, Allan, Hagenbuch and Lange made up the first team and finished in second place just behind UVM. The second men’s team, consisting of Cameron Wolfe ’23, Cooper Camp ’26 and Wally Magill ’25 finished in fifth.
Graves explained that the energy of the team surrounding the race contributed to a lot of their success.
“It was pretty crummy conditions, but the sun was out and people were excited,” Magill said. “I think everyone just rallied around the fact that we had our big guns back with us…Certainly the energy around the Dartmouth carnival weekend, even though we weren't at home, also helped people rally.”
In Waterville Valley, the alpine team raced hard in the slaloms. Zimmer, Cooper Puckett ’26, Oliver Morgan ’25 and Dan Gillis ’26 all looked promising at the beginning of each run. Zimmer was ultimately unable to finish the race, but his teammates made up for this. Puckett made it to the podium in second place with a time of 1:24.89. On the second run, Gillis raced ahead from 15th to fifth and Morgan claimed seventh.
Alpine coach John Dwyer said he was proud of the accomplishments of the team this weekend.
“[Puckett]had a couple races where he didn’t finish and so for him to get second in the slalom was really great for him,” Dwyer said. “[Zimmer] winning the [giant slalom] was amazing. Then Dan Gillis, who finished fifth yesterday, won the second run and that guy is just a workhorse and such a good person.”
The women’s alpine team faced tough challenges with the top 19 skiers coming in within a second of each other in the first run. After the second, Sammi Trudeau ’26 claimed eighth place, while Elsinger and Wattenmaker came in ninth and 19th, respectively.
“[Wattenmaker’s] second run on the [giant slalom] shows she has speed even with a few mistakes,” Dwyer said. “[Elsinger] has been super consistent in both GS and slalom. [Trudeau]’s second run yesterday in the slalom was really good for her.”
By the end of the second day, both Nordic teams and Puckett took to the podium to give Dartmouth the carnival win.
This carnival welcomed back a few skiers who had missed out on previous races due to the FIS Cross Country Skiing World Championships. Graves explained that having the core group back together again contributed to the team’s success.
“We were really happy to have most of the team back all skiing for us this past weekend,” Graves said. “We’ve had a number of people off doing other events, so this was the first race where we had most of the team here.”
Thurston echoed that sentiment and said that the dynamic and spirit of the team contributed to a great experience at the carnival.
“We got a lot of team spirit. The freshman girls dyed their hair pink and the boys had mohawks, so I think we’ve got a lot of energy right now,” Thurston said. “We're really excited and stoked to have people back after being a part for a long time.”
The skiers will take on the Williams Carnival this weekend in Hancock, Massachusetts and Woodford, Vermont.