Ski teams look to channel recent momentum for upcoming Winter Carnival race


Chloe Aust ’25 skis into a top 20 finish for her event at the Harvard Carnival giant slalom. (Photo courtesy of Sports Information.)

Daniel Okstein

This weekend the Williams Alpine and Nordic ski teams, ranked number 8 overall in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA), will host the Williams Carnival. This is the fifth carnival of this year’s EISA collegiate circuit and the first home competition during the College’s Winter Carnival weekend since 2020. 

The Alpine races will be held at Jiminy Peak, while the Nordic races will take place on Prospect Mountain. The Williams Outing Club (WOC) will fund one fan bus on Friday to Jiminy, and another to Prospect on Saturday, weather permitting. There will be other festivities and events planned by WOC at Jiminy as well, such as fireworks and a barbeque.

The Alpine team overcame a slow start to the season to earn strong finishes in their previous few carnivals, according to Maddy Sullivan ’23, a co-captain of the women’s Alpine team. The slow start, in large part, was due to the especially poor weather conditions, characterized by a lack of snow necessary to conduct races. “It’s just been the worst weather season weather-wise I’ve ever had,” she said. 

But the team has picked up steam lately according to Alpine co-captain Zach Dekko ’23. At the Harvard Carnival giant slalom, Alpine placed four skiers in the top 60 scoring positions, including Chloe Aust ’25, who finished in 16th place overall that day. Throughout the season, only finishes within the top 30 competitors in an event accumulate points toward a player’s qualification for NCAA Championships. “We’re starting to break through that and get some strong finishes in the top 30,” Dekko said. 

Sullivan credited the Alpine team’s progress to the skiers’ hard work. “We’re working the hardest I’ve ever seen in my four years here,” she said “That’s been really positive… We’ve started to see some improvements, I think in [our] results over the last week or two.”

This upward trend in results driven by hard work mirrors those produced by the Nordic team. In the Harvard Carnival 15k, men’s Nordic finished in 6th place, and women’s Nordic finished in 8th. After combining scores with Alpine, the Ephs placed 8th overall at the Carnival. “Everyone’s been working really hard,” Nordic co-captain Lilly Bates ’23 said. “It’s really coming together for a bunch of people on the team which has been really, really good to see. And I think most importantly, everyone’s having fun with it.” 

Looking ahead to this weekend, Nordic co-captain Jacob Jampel ’23 added that the team is on an upward trajectory. “We’re trending in the right direction heading into [Williams Carnival],” he said. 

Bates pointed to sustained personal improvement as an obtainable objective for the final stretch of the season. “I think one of our team goals is to have everyone get a season best result, which looks possible because everyone’s really been trending upwards,” Bates said.

The teams are united in their excitement to host a carnival on home turf. For Sullivan, the weekend will be an exciting opportunity to race in a home atmosphere in front of alumni, family, and friends. “With the Williams Carnival in particular, we definitely want to have an exciting event where we can showcase what we do,” she said.

Bates echoed Sullivan’s sentiment, adding that racing at home proves to be strategically advantageous as well. “Having a bit of home-court advantage really helps everyone’s confidence when they’re racing,” Bates said. “We’ve got some crazy corners, downhills, and really hard climbs that we’ve been training on all season.” 

Dekko noted the significance of hosting a carnival at Williams given ski racing’s historical origins in the northeast. “It’s always kind of fun to bring the history back from the past hundred or so years,” Dekko said. “We all have the opportunity … to race for something bigger than [ourselves] for the school and for the history of ski racing.”