Ski Racing Is at the Center of Winter Carnival

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For over 100 years, alpine and Nordic events have anchored the festivities.

a black and white photo of a skier soaring through the air after a jump at the 1911 Winter Carnival
Fred Harris, Class of 1911, founder of the Dartmouth Outing Club, soars through the air during his jump at the 1911 Winter Carnival. (Photo courtesy of Rauner Special Collections Library) 

Ski racing is at the heart of Dartmouth’s annual Winter Carnival.

Since 1910, when Dartmouth Outing Club founder Fred Harris ’11 organized the College’s first “Winter Sports Day,” collegiate teams have always called their multi-event competitions carnivals. The other festivities—ice carving, polar plunges, snow sculptures—are the icing on the snow.

“A lot of students may not know it, but it used to be all about the skiing,” says men’s slalom skier Thomas Woolson ’17. “We want to get back to that.”

A longtime New England tradition, the carnival is a powerful way to mold a ski program’s individual athletes into a cohesive team. Because a college’s final score is calculated from the best race times from all of the men’s and women’s alpine and cross-country events, each individual competitor is cheering on every other skier, says Dartmouth Director of Skiing Cami Thompson Graves, who also coaches the women’s Nordic team.

And Dartmouth’s storied history in the sport makes that team spirit all the more enduring and attracts many world-class athletes to the College, she says.

“We pride ourselves on having had Dartmouth skiers in every modern Olympic games, and we see skiing here at Dartmouth as a key part of bringing skiing to the world,” says Thompson Graves, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team who competed in several World Cup events. “Our contribution to the sport is an important part of who we are.”

As the men’s and women’s alpine teams prepared for this weekend’s carnival events at the Dartmouth Skiway, the racers agreed to share a skier’s-eye view of a giant slalom run.

Race Schedule

The men’s and women’s alpine events, slalom and giant slalom, are set for Friday and Saturday at the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, N.H.

The men’s and women’s Nordic events, freestyle relay, and classic races, will be held Friday and Saturday at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vt. The Nordic races were moved to Craftsbury from the Dartmouth’s home course at the Cross Country Ski Center at Oak Hill in Hanover for the fourth year in a row due to insufficient snow.

Dartmouth has won each of the first three carnivals this winter—at St. Lawrence University, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Vermont—edging out perennial rivals UVM and UNH and putting the teams in a strong position for the March NCAA Championships at UNH. The skiers aim to continue this streak heading into the Dartmouth Winter Carnival and are looking for a good turnout for the races this weekend.

Alpine Race Schedule, Dartmouth Skiway, Lyme, N.H.

Friday, Feb. 10, Giant Slalom, Wordens Trail

  • 9 a.m. First run start, women
  • 10:15 a.m. First run start, men
  • 12:30 p.m. Second run start, women
  • 1:30 p.m. Second run start, men

Saturday, Feb. 11, Slalom, Thomas Trail

  • 9 a.m. First run start, men
  • 10:30 a.m. First run start, women
  • 12:30 p.m. Second run start, men
  • 1:30 p.m. Second run start, women
  • 2:30 p.m. Awards, in front of McLane Family Lodge, Top 3 Giant Slalom and Slalom

Cross Country Race Schedule, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Craftsbury, Vt.

Friday, Feb 10, Freestyle Relay

  • 10 a.m. Men’s 3x5k freestyle relay
  • 11:30 a.m. Women’s 3x5k freestyle relay

Saturday, Feb 11, Classic

  • 10 a.m. Men’s 10k Classic, interval start
  • 12 a.m. Women’s 5k Classic, interval start
Bill Platt