Over 30 members of the HBS Ski and Snowboard Club traveled to Hanover, NH last weekend to compete in Tuck’s 20th Annual Winter Carnival, an event that drew 13 other business schools, 30 ski teams, and over 250 individual participants.
The festivities began on Friday afternoon, where the students at Tuck welcomed skiers and fans to the games with a kick-off reception. As more and more teams arrived, the excitement grew palpably. HBS’s own Dan Rosenberg (OD), whose wife is a second year at Tuck, manned the Red Bull and Vodka bar, which may have contributed to participants’ enthusiasm.
Following the happy hour, HBS students gained a new appreciation for Cambridge/Boston when choosing between one of two local establishments for dinner. Ken Collins (OD), however, brought his down-home charm and between appetizers and entrees, managed to change the flat tire of a distraught Dartmouth sophomore, (proving that chivalry isn’t dead).
Battle of the Bands
Later that evening, the crowd moved to Club Electra, (an establishment that makes even the Hong Kong appear glamorous), for a b-school ‘Battle of the Bands’. Six members of NH represented HBS as the band Default Risk. Combining the talents of vocalist and pianist Bud Bhattacharyya, vocalist and bass player Michael Graffeo, lead guitarist Jason Young, percussionist Michael Carey, saxophone player Jon Pastor, and rhythm guitarist Christian Garcia, Default Risk delighted the crowd with high-energy, pop covers.
After opening with “Summer of ’69″, the band kept the crowd on their feet with Maroon 5′s “Harder to Breathe” and The Counting Crowes’ “Mr. Jones”. Finishing with the favorite, “Sweet Home Alabama”, Default Risk clearly won this show-down (though no official winner was declared). “While we’re not ready to quit our day jobs, playing at Tuck was a great time and we can’t wait ’til next year,” remarked Jon Pastor, adding, “Nobody rocks New Hampshire like Default Risk.”
Saturday morning skiers woke bright and early, arriving at the Dartmouth Skiway before nine in order to slip the course and prepare for the competition. In its 20-year history, the Winter Carnival ski tournament has only been won by Tuck or HBS, making for an historic and intense rivalry. As Tuck won the two previous competitions, after breaking a four year HBS winning streak (1999-2002), the HBS team hoped to return the honors and glory to Boston.
Teams of four men and two women skiers raced head-to-head on red and blue courses set up at the Skiway. Racers skied two runs each, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and alternated between courses. Individuals were ranked by the sum of the morning and afternoon runs; the team results were determined by summing the four best individual race results on a team (one of which had to be that of a female skier).
In the morning run, the HBS A team posted solid results. Co-captain Anne Ristau (OA) led off, followed by Knut Heje (OG), who despite a near fall at the last gate ranked in the top 15 (out of over 120 male skiers) after the first run. First year superstar Andrew Fortier (NG) raced next, finishing in 20.69 seconds and only .74 s out of first place. Co-captain Kevin O’Brien (OI) also skied magnificently, easily pulling off a top 10 finish. Kanji Takenaka (OB) and Dean Zigun (OE) completed the team, and both achieved top tier results.
The HBS B and C Teams fared equally well, propelled by the enthusiasm of superfan Irina Babushkina (OC). On HBS B, Norwegian sensation Harald Hoegh (ND) led the team with an impressive 22.29 s time. Co-captain Stefan Haselwandter (OC) and fellow Austrian Herbert Doleisch (OI) skied neck-in-neck, with Andrew Immerman (OG) right on their tails, adding to the team’s strong performance. Perhaps most impressive, however, were first time racers Darria Long (OG) and Vickie Mukovozov (OG) who despite their lack of experience, raced superbly.
For HBS C, Ken Collins (OD) achieved a solid time despite two falls, and sectionmate Dan Rosenberg (OD) made an impressive run on snowboard. Blazing Blair Irwin (OA), the reluctant-but-fearless Janelle Lin (OG), invincible Indy Ratnathicam (OE), and the amazing all-around athlete Alison Miller (OA) completed the team and all handily skied the course.
Going in to afternoon runs, HBS was well-poised for a top finish, but unfortunately could not overcome the powerful Tuck women who individually placed second and third among the female skiers. As a team, HBS placed fifth, behind Tuck, Babson, Johnson, and Wharton respectively. Individually, HBS skier Andrew Fortier (ND) also placed fifth overall.
The aprŠs ski activities began at the Skiway with kegs and food, serving as a gentle precursor for the main event of the weekend: the Saturday night banquet, awards ceremony and celebration party (think frat party) held in time-honored tradition at the infamous Coolidge Hotel. Luckily, most skiers were able to rest before the event, as baudy revelry ensued even before dinner had been served. Urged on by the Tuck MC Tom Felago, teams challenged one another to chugging contests in between the presentation of awards. Always a target, the HBS team found itself facing off more often than most schools (which may have affected the team’s later performance in the Kniessel Cup boatracing competition).
Top individual honors went to Andrew Lincoln of Babson and Jenny Viele of The Johnson School. Though his ski times put him dead last (undoubtedly affected by his on slope pirouettes) Aldo Melpignano of Wharton won the best dressed award for his hippo-in-a-tutu suit. Though HBS left without any awards, the weekend was an overwhelming success for all who participated.