STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) For the first time since 2011, the town of Stowe is set host the NCAA Skiing Championships, with the Nordic events slated for Trapp Family Lodge and the Alpine competitions at Stowe Mountain Resort.
The University of Vermont will serve as host as they seek the program's seventh national title and first since 2012. The Cats are expected to field strong contenders in Lina Sutro (women's Nordic), Bill Harmeyer and Ben Ogden (men's Nordic), and Laurence St. Germain and Paula Moltzan (women's Alpine). UVM thinks their familiarity with the course at Trapp's and hill at Stowe can provide a big boost.
"East coast skiing is different from any other skiing in the country so we definitely have that going for us," said Harmeyer.
"For sure its a good advantage for us," added St. Germain. "Our hill is definitely the hardest on the circuit, it's a world cup level hill and yeah it's a really good advantage."
The St. Mike's ski team is also very familiar with the term "variable conditions" as they do their training at a couple mountains in our area. But for at least one member of the Purple Knights, that took some adjustments over the last 4 years.
French native Guillaume Grand spoke virtually no English when he arrived, but he's since excelled in the classroom and is now getting set to compete in his fourth NCAA championships for St. Mike's. He's also the first in program history to earn All-America honors, and he'll be looking to add to his remarkable list of career accomplishments this week.
"We've been training at Stowe forever, for four years," Grand said. "I know the hill, I know the kind of snow we have so I kind of know what I have to do for it. And it's also awesome because we are qualifying five skiers this year which has never happened. And so I want to show them the path to do well. I know now how NCAA's work and I think it's gonna be awesome."
As for the other area schools sending racers, Midd had the maximum twelve qualify including a pair of Vermonters and Middlebury Carnival slalom champ Erik Arvidsson.
Dartmouth is the three-time defending Eastern champ and they're looking for their first national title since 2007. They also qualified 12 competitors including individual national champs from last year Katherine Ogden and Tanguy Nef.
The NCAA Championships start on Wednesday.