It has taken almost two and a half weeks, but the Berkshire County high school Alpine ski season is ready to begin.
Bousquet has made snow, the weather has turned cold, and tonight at 5:30, the first slalom race of the season will be held.
This year, the three slalom races will be held first, with the three giant slalom races to follow. And because of the lack of snow, the schedule has been truncated. There will be two regular-season races in each of the next two weeks. The final GS race is set for Monday, Feb. 8, and the open race is Wednesday, Feb. 10. The MIAA state championship will be held Feb. 23, at Wachusett.
Coach: Greg Knight (2nd year)
Last year: Boys — 2nd place. Girls — 5th place.
Key returnees: Connor McNinch, Sr.; Devon Atwell, Soph.; Isaac Tabakin, 8th grade; Ella King, Soph.; Taylor Knight, 8th grade; Gabby Suffish, Soph.
Outlook: The Lenox boys finished five points behind league champion Monument Mountain last year. The Millionaires have enough depth to perhaps take the next step. McNinch is the lone senior on the Lenox roster, either boys or girls. There are six middle schoolers on the boys side alone. McNinch, Atwell and Tabakin will lead this group of youngsters. The Lenox girls look to make a major leap and qualify as a group for states. King is in her fifth varsity season and was second in the state last year in GS. Knight qualified for states as a seventh grader and had five top-10 finishes last year. Suffish is also going to be counted on for some big performances.
Coach: Keller Dinan (1st year)
Last year: Boys — 1st place. Girls — 2nd place.
Key returnees: Micaela Bartlett, Jr.; Meg Lacombe, Sr.; Theo Burns, Sr.; Justin Bartlett, Sr.
Outlook: The Spartans, under first-year head coach Keller Dinan and assistant Cait Tracey, will have to replace some key graduated seniors. That includes Trevor McFarland, last season's All-Eagle MVP. The boys team, which won the league title last season, will rely on returnees Burns and Justin Bartlett plus newcomers Brighton Sawyer, Cadin Shafiroff and Walter Boyko. In the final league race of the season last year, Burns and Justin Bartlett each finished in the Top 20, helping their squad finish first in the league. On the girls side, Micaela Bartlett finished third at the state race in slalom and eighth in GS last year. Adelaide McFarland, eighth in the final league race last season, is out for this season with an injury. Meg Lacombe also returns after helping her squad to a second-place finish in the league last year.
Coach: Bob Geller (6th year)
Last year: Boys — 3rd place. Girls — 1st place.
Key returnees: Ali Williamson, Sr.; Molly McGuigan, Sr.; Teaghan Lyon, Sr.; Cam Giardina, Sr.; Logan Higuera, Sr.; Ryan Keenan, Jr.
Outlook: Any discussion of PHS starts with the girls, and the returning state slalom champion Williamson. Of her three slalom races in the regular season, she finished 2-1-1, and carried that momentum into the postseason. McGuigan is a four-year veteran and will be counted on to provide some top-10 finishes. Among the newcomers are freshman Kate Dumigan. Geller said that with three of his top six having graduated, it's a bit of a retooling year. The boys have 14 racers battling for six A-Team slots. Senior Cam Giardina qualified for the state meet. Among the younger racers that PHS may count on are sophomore James Korenman and brothers Josh and David Mansfield — a sophomore and freshman, respectively.
Coach: Steve Feathers (2nd year).
Last year: Boys — 6th place. No girls team.
Key returnees: Mike Peplowski, Sr.; Niko Terpak, Sr.
Outlook: With only two racers, the Crusaders will finish sixth again. But both Peplowski and Terpak are threats to crack the top 10 in any race. Both are strong skiers.
Coach: Marc Latimer (7th year)
Last year: Boys — 5th place. Girls — 3rd place.
Key returnees: Reilly Lynch, Sr.; Cody Latimer, Jr.; Anthony Arace, Soph.; Lindsey Coe, Jr.; Robbie Croshier, Jr.; Randi Robbins, Jr.
Outlook: Latimer said the boys side is a little bit "light on numbers," but there is quality at the top of the order with Lynch and Latimer. Lynch won the final slalom of the 2015 regular season. Sophomore Arace will also be a key factor. On the girls' side, the Braves graduated standouts Jill Scussel and Hannah Barbarotta. Girls ready to step in are juniors Coe and Croshier. Freshman Morgan Schnauber is a newcomer to watch.
Coach: Jill Johnson (4th year)
Last year: Boys — 4th place. Girls — 4th place.
Key returnees: Ben Schmitt, Sr.; Brecken Burke, Sr.; Brittany Quinn, Sr.
Outlook: The Warriors return All-Berkshire boys racers Schmitt and Burke. Johnson's team now has 24 racers which will help them move up in the standings. There are some freshmen of promise in Drew Dunham, Tanner Hill, Kyle Brogan and Aspen Burke.