Slippery Slopes Scatter Skiers, Many Crash in N.H. SlalomsBy Jonathan S. Shefftz
The alpine skiing squads competed in their third of five regular season race weekends last Saturday and Sunday, displaying some fast skiing, as well as some equally hard crashing.
Brown University and the University of Connecticut sponsored the race at Loon, N.H., MIT's training site for most of the Independent Activities Period. Saturday's slalom course was relatively short with flat terrain, but the knolls and undulations at the bottom caught many skiers unprepared as they sprinted to the finish.
Captain Brooke Baker '99 led the women's team with 13th place in Saturday's slalom, while Monica Taylor '01 and Chrissy Hartmann '98 provided the other two scoring times. MIT finished ninth out of 11 teams, ahead of New England College and UConn.
Co-captain Dave Kurd '98 led the men's team with 27th place, while the other two scoring times came from Brett Vasconcellos '99 and co-captain Ryan Maupin '00. MIT finished seventh out of 10 teams, ahead of New England, UConn, and Saint Anselm's College.
For Sunday's giant slalom, the sun shone warmly on the base area, but the long race course stayed in the shadows, meaning hard, slick, and very fast snow conditions. The Loon course is one of the longest in the east and although MIT had trained at Loon all January, safety concerns had precluded training such a long course through various trail intersections.
As a result, they were unprepared for the difficult transition as the course cut from one trail to another, and for the high speeds at the course carried down into the lower mountain.
Most of MIT's top skiers crashed hard. Kurd's acrobatics started at the top in a steep section of the course. "He gets an eight for style points," said one of the amazed onlooking competitors.
The final crash came further below. Baker lost it in the transition, catching spectacular air. Vasconcellos's binding proved not to be up to the challenge as he "pre-released" in an especially "chattery" turn.
Boston College sponsors the next race at Ascutney, Vt. this weekend. With the end of IAP and the beginning of classes training now reverts to nearby Blue Hills.