On Friday evening, Sam Gallaudet ’23 led the race at Weston Ski Track with Remy de Saint Phalle ’23 following closely behind him, propelling the Andover Boys Nordic team to a second-place team finish. Andover Girls Nordic took first place, with Claire de Saint Phalle ’22 and Hannah Justicz ’22 also securing individual first and second standings.
On Wednesday afternoon, Andover competed at Proctor, skiing Classic for the first time this season. There, Claire de Saint Phalle secured a tenth-place finish, and Gallaudet continued his dominance by placing second.
According to Gallaudet, the 4.4km course on Friday felt easier and faster than usual, in great part due to the snow conditions and lack of elevation at the Weston Ski Track.
“It’s Weston Ski Track, which is a golf course that they make snow on, so it doesn’t have that many hills. It’s pretty flat, and it was cold, so it was very icy and fast. It was very quick because the course was really easy, and the snow was really fast,” said Gallaudet.
Despite the course advantages, there were also challenges that came with man-made snow and the sub-zero temperatures the team had to face under the lights, according to Remy de Saint Phalle.
“It was super icy because it was warm, and I think the snow melted and then refroze. There were a few corners where if you had too much speed, you’d be sliding out. [These made for] pretty difficult conditions,” said de Saint Phalle.
Despite having few opportunities to practice on skis in the week leading up to the race, the team still found success in Friday’s race, according to Sage Preston ’25.
“We’ve really only had two days out on the snow practicing. Monday was teaching people how to ski, Thursday was stability and balance drills and people orienting themselves on the snow,” said Preston.
Since Friday was only the second race of the season, novice skiers were still getting acquainted with the skis and the race distance. However, racers were able to put up impressive performances, and Preston finished eighth individually.
“It was my first race over 3k. I haven’t gone that hard in a while, and it was intense. We’ve been training in preseason in December on stamina stuff, and I guess that paid off. It’s a good look into what the rest of the season is going to be like,” said Preston.
For the more experienced members of the team, Friday served as a transition into a more competitive mindset. Both top finishers discussed strategies prior to Friday’s race.
“I think we’re starting to build more of a team strategy and less individual racing. Sam and I talked before the race about our strategy together and what we wanted to do. With future races, we didn’t want to go super hard on this one, so we made an agreement to stay in good shape for the next race on Wednesday, which is a pretty big race,” said Remy de Saint Phalle.
The team’s first two first races involved Skate skiing, whereas Wednesday’s race was an introduction to Classic skiing. Despite the abrupt switch, Remy de Saint Phalle still felt that the team adapted well.
“I think we did pretty well considering we weren’t able to train Classic skiing at all. In the future, we’ll do better because we’ll have time on snow. The team race strategy was really to just get a feel because a lot of people hadn’t Classic skied in a long time,” said de Saint Phalle.
Andover Nordic will be racing at Holderness next Wednesday.