Spills and thrills at 2011 NCAA Skiing Championships in Stowe

Friday, March 11, 2011 at 08:00 PM

2011 NCAA Skiing Championships, Stowe, Vermont. No. 15 would win.
The men's 20K classic start.
UVM's Alexander Howe.
UVM's Scott Patterson leading a group.
Dartmouth's Sam Tarling, the winner of Wednesday's men's race.
UVM's Franz Bernstein clutches his side after suffering a crash.
UVM's Howe and Middlebury's Lustgarten battle at the finish.
UVM's Patterson (left) and Howe (right).
The rain came to a stop during the men's race.
The leaders tuck down the hill and around a curve.
Franz Bernstein of UVM.
Alex Howe of UVM.
Men's winner Reid Pletcher of Colorado.
UVM's Patterson catches his breath.
UVM's Bernstein is checked out for injuries at finish. Coach says he's fine.
Fourth place finisher Tor–hakon Hellebostad of U. New Mexico.
Nils Koons of Dartmouth finished 7th -- the top eastern finisher.
The men's podium: Pletcher of CU, Bjornsen of UAlaska, Kjoelhamar of CU.
The women set out on a 15K classic course.
It was raining steadily.
The top two women's finishers: Hajkova of CU and Graefnings of Utah.
UVM's Lucy Garrec.
Making a climb out of the woods at Trapps.
UVM's Caitlin Patterson.
Women's winner Eliska Hajkova of Colorado.
UVM's Amy Glen heads for the finish.
Glen finished in 6th. Dartmouth's Rosie Brennan in 7th.
Patterson of UVM falls to the ground after finishing.
Patterson and Glen compare notes in the finish area.
UVM's Glen was the top women's eastern skier.
Women's podium: Hajkova of CU, Graefnings of Utah, Bronga of UAlaska.
The Colorado Buffs pulled ahead even farther in the lead today.

Note: Photos may take a moment to load. Yeah, I was a shutterbug today.

Despite a rainy forecast, I made the journey to Stowe's Trapp Family Lodge today to watch the second day of nordic competition in the 2011 NCAA Skiing Championships. And rain it did.

The women raced a 15K and the men a 20K classic race. These were "mass start" races, which are always exciting as a big group of skiers thunders out of the start together. The women actually skied in the most rain, and you could tell it hampered their vision as they either got pelted in the eyes by the rain, or they had water droplets covering their glasses.

The homologated course (basically, a very high-end race course) at Trapps allowed for many chances to view the racers as they worked their way through each race. The course twisted and turned and climbed and fell in the meadows near the lodge and nordic center before heading into the woods.

Maybe it was the nasty rain, or maybe the rather new snow and warm temperatures, but there were definitely spills and thrills today.

In fact, a total of three UVM racers crashed and took diggers during their races! As you could imagine, this did not bode well for the Catamounts. Only one UVM racer -- Amy Glen, a junior from Anchorage, Alaska -- finished in the top 10 today.

The three skiers who crashed -- Franz Bernstein, Caitlin Patterson and Lucy Garrec -- all finished their races, much to their credit. But you could tell the day was a disappointment to them.

Now, heading into the final slalom races at Stowe Mountain Resort on Saturday, UVM has dropped from fourth to fifth place in the team scores. With an overwhelming performance today by western skiers, Dartmouth also dropped a spot to third position and Middlebury College dropped from 9th to 12th. Meanwhile, the Buffs of U. Colorado maintain their stampede.

Top 10 teams after today's races:

1. UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO CU 647.0

2. UNIVERSITY OF UTAH UU 562.5

3. DARTMOUTH COLLEGE DAR 500.0

4. UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO UNM 492.0

5. UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT UVM 451.5

6. UNIVERSITY OF DENVER DU 409.0

7. UNIV OF ALASKA-ANCHORAGE UAA 408.5

8. UNIV OF NEW HAMPSHIRE UNH 222.0

9. MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY MSU 190.0

10. NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIV NMU 185.0

I hope you enjoy my photos of the 2011 NCAA Skiing Championships in Stowe, Vermont!

Visit this UVM website for full results and other information about the 2011 NCAA Skiing Championships.

And visit UVM's YouTube page for video.

Filed in: Cross-country skiing, Trapp Family Lodge

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