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Holderness School Sends 26 Skiers and Snowboarders to National Competitions
Greg Kwasnik

In spite of an unseasonably warm winter that presented unique challenges to all Snow Sports athletes, Holderness School is sending an unprecedented number of skiers and snowboarders – 26 in total – to national competitions this spring.
 
“The success of the Snow Sports program this season is at an all-time high,” said Snow Sports Director Ben Drummond. “The quantity of athletes qualifying for state, regional, and national events is exceptional. All coaches developed and executed a great plan for the season, and the student-athletes did their part and put forth tremendous effort to get where they are today. We are all so proud of everything they have accomplished.”
 
Here is where Holderness skiers and snowboarders are competing this spring:
 
Eastern Alpine U18
In early March, several U18 skiers traveled to Wyoming to compete in the U18 Nationals at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Resort. Skiers Charlotte Lehr ’24, Alex Roguet ’24, Blake Norris ’25, and Ian Lebish ’25 competed admirably against the best skiers in the country – while contending with abundant natural snowfall. “The U18 Nationals in Jackson Hole was an amazing experience for the team,” said Drummond, who is also the school’s Eastern Alpine Director. “They battled it out in powder-soft race conditions and fought for top-25 results. However, they got to experience JHMR and Snow King at their peak with historic snowfall during the race series.”
 
Eastern Alpine U16
Of the 60 skiers from across the country who qualified for the U16 Nationals at Vail, four are Holderness students. Sam Martin ’26, Georgea Fisher-Smith ’26, Mimi Matviak ’27, and Beckett Lehr ’27 are competing at the Colorado resort from March 31 to April 4. 

Head Coach Travis Nevis said his athletes turned in exceptional results this winter - including Sam Marin ’26, who finished fourth overall at the Eastern Championships, and Georgea Fisher-Smith ’26 and Mimi Matviak ’27, who finished one-two in New Hampshire ski racing this season. “This group, as a whole, is incredibly excited about the opportunity to show their best skiing. My hope is that if we can do that, we could potentially land on some podiums,” Nevins said. “We will be shooting for that and see what happens once the dust settles. Any result inside the top 15 will be an incredible accomplishment. For me as a coach, I truly hope they can just put down runs that they can walk away from being proud of.”
 
Eastern Freeski
A contingent of 12 Holderness skiers will travel to Copper Mountain in Colorado for USASA Nationals from April 2 to 11. Traveling to Colorado are Max Carter ’27, Henry Mahady ’27, Pete Remington ’26, Gina Mulcahy ’25, Kate Miele ’24, Asher Hamori ’24, Theo Wallach ’24, Tanner Snyder ’25, Gavin Byrne ’24, Eddie Winner ’27, Ben Harrington ’27, and Kai Small ’24. Holderness athletes will compete in the slopestyle and rail jam disciplines against the top 60 skiers in the country. The Holderness contingent will travel to Colorado several days in advance of the competition to acclimate to the high altitude and get used to the larger jumps and rails at Copper.
 
Head Coach Peter Elliott said his team’s drive was a key to their success this season. “There’s a recipe to having competition success in your facilities, your environment, your coaching, and your culture,” Elliott said. “I think a big part of it right now is the culture. These kids really, really want to make it to these competitions.”

Eastern Snowboarding
Three Holderness snowboarders are also traveling to Copper Mountain for USASA Nationals from March 27 to April 5. Snowboarders competing in Colorado include Zahra-Kadi Kegode ’27, Ryan Lee ’26, and Whit McLane ’25. Those athletes will also travel to Copper several days early to acclimate to their new surroundings. “Everything is bigger out there,” said Head Coach Erik Ely. “You’re going to see a lot more snowboarders, and a lot of really good snowboarders, a lot of huge programs and teams out there.”
 
While his athletes will no doubt rise to the challenge of competing on a larger stage, Coach Ely isn’t focused solely on results or podiums. “I think it can be intimidating, but at the end of the day, it’s just snowboarding,” Ely said. “You know, we’re all out here to have fun.”
 
Eastern Freeride
Two Holderness skiers – Rio Gladchun ’25 and Bear Pingree ’27 – will travel to the IFSA Junior Freeride Championship at Breckenridge, Colorado, from April 7-14. Both athletes fared exceptionally well in this winter’s freeride competitions, where skiers compete on natural terrain and are judged on control, technique, fluidity, and overall style and energy. The 2023-24 winter season was the most successful yet for the five-year-old program, said Head Coach Eli Sobel. “We had a pretty young group of kids this year, and morale was super hot,” Sobel said. “It seems like they were just excited to get out there and ski every day.”
 
Qualifying for the IFSA Junior Freeride Championship is exceptionally difficult, Sobel said, with less than 10 percent of all registered Freeride skiers in North America qualifying for the event. “You basically have to have a couple of podiums throughout the season to get there,” Sobel said. “The events are pretty well attended now, so even qualifying for this is like a win.”

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