Despite an unseasonably warm, slow start to the winter season, the 2022-23 winter was a pivotal one for Holderness Snow Sports. Not only did an unprecedented number of athletes qualify for national championships, but the school also debuted its new Nordic competition trails and snowmaking system.
What turned out to be an exceptionally successful winter for alpine skiing got off to an exceptionally slow start. Warm weather and scant natural snowfall in December meant the school’s home training venue – the Mittersill Race & Training Slopes at Cannon Mountain – wasn’t open in the early part of the season. As a result, Holderness athletes spent more time training on shorter slopes at Cannon’s main mountain.
“The coaching staff was able to get creative and still get these kids ready to go at the right time,” says Director of Snow Sports Ben Drummond.
“I think overall this was the best season we’ve had ever for the size of the group that went to nationals.”
A total of seven athletes on the U16 and U18 Eastern Alpine teams qualified for their respective national championships. On the U16 team, Aura Wieser '26, Troy Boissonneault '26, and Dino Boissonneault ’26 traveled to U16 Nationals at Mission Ridge, Washington. On the U18 team, Evan Gramas ’23, Emme Bell ’24, Charlotte Lehr ’24, and Finn Boissonneault ’24 qualified for U18 Nationals, which were held right at Mittersill. Additionally, three U18 athletes qualified for U.S. Senior Nationals, and six athletes qualified for Nor-Am Cup races, which are considered a stepping stone to the World Cup circuit.
Both the U16 and U18 teams shared other successes this season. The entire U16 team – all 25 athletes – qualified for the New Hampshire State Championships, and 12 skiers qualified for Eastern Regionals, where Aura Wieser '26 won the giant slalom and Troy Boissonneault '26 and Dino Boissonneault '26 both finished in the top 10 overall. The Eastern Alpine team also won the Macomber Cup and the Technica Cup this season.
This winter’s warm start normally would have spelled disaster for Nordic skiing – but this wasn’t a normal year. Thanks to the school’s brand-new five-kilometer FIS-certified trail network - which includes three kilometers of snowmaking - Holderness skiers were training on snow before most of their competitors.
“The Nordic team had a great year,” says Nordic Head Coach Pat Casey. “In our inaugural year of snowmaking, the Nordic team had skiable trails in December and the snow lasted until the second week in April.”
That long season allowed the school’s skiers to train and race at a high level, with the girls team winning every Lakes Region race, including the Lakes Region Championship. The girls team finished second in the NEPSAC Championships, which Holderness hosted on its new homologated racing loops. The team also produced a number of individual standouts, sending three skiers to the U16 Championships in Fort Kent, Maine, and four skiers to the Eastern High School Championships. And six of the school’s 15 Nordic skiers were All-NEPSAC and All-Lakes Region award winners.
Another highlight of the season was the team’s January trip to Sundsvall, Sweden, where they spent a week living and training with former teammate Elsa Granholm.
The Freeski team saw excellent results in terrain parks across the country this winter. Eastern Freeski athletes stacked up 27 podium finishes this winter with six in rail jam and 21 in slopestyle competitions. Skiers also earned two top-20 age group finishes at Future’s Tour, and 10 Eastern Freeski athletes qualified for the USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain, Colorado. In that competition, Kai Small ’24 was a finalist in the rail jam for the 15-22 age group. On the Varsity Freeski team, the boys went undefeated in Lakes Region competitions, and Holderness athletes took seven of the top 10 spots in the final slopestyle competition of the year.
The Eastern Freeride team began the season with a trip to Kicking Horse Resort in British Columbia for an IFSA Junior National competition. Holderness skiers held their own on a challenging venue and skier world-class big mountain terrain.
Upon returning to the East Coast, the team traveled to IFSA competitions at Smuggler’s Notch, Mad River Glen, and Jay Peak in Vermont. Holderness skiers earned multiple podium finishes at every event.
“We wrapped up our season with a month of powder skiing and fun training days, leaving everyone with a smile,” said Head Freeride Coach Eli Sobel.
This season was a very successful one for the Eastern Snowboard team, with both the boys and girls teams claiming Lakes Region Championship titles. Holderness snowboarders excelled in all three disciplines – slopestyle, rail jam, and giant slalom – with six different riders qualifying for the USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain, Colorado. “With no graduating seniors this year, the team looks to continue growing and progressing on the successes for next year and further expand their repertoire of tricks,” said Head Snowboard Coach Erik Ely.