Dominating is the only word to describe the Yale ski team’s performance at its meet last weekend in Middlebury, Vt.

Both the men’s and women’s programs finished first in the McBrine division of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association. The McBrine division includes Wesleyan University, the University of Rhode Island, Springfield College, Brandeis University, Vassar College, Marist College, the University of New England and the University of Maine.

Yale competes in both the slalom and giant slalom events, each featuring about 50 men and about 50 women racers. In the men’s slalom division, Nikken Cullman ’04 placed second, Drew Palin ’06 finished fourth and Goran Lynch ’06 finished 10th. The women’s team swept the competition: Rebecca Rapple ’06, Miranda Jones ’06 and Tory Phillips ’05 placed first, second and third, respectively.

The freshmen made an immediate impact on the ski teams’ first meet of the season.

“The freshmen have added a punch that we didn’t have before,” Katie Palms ’03 said. Palms is a former Production and Design editor for the Yale Daily News.

Last year, the men’s team finished first and the women’s team finished second in the league, qualifying the squads for the regional ski tournament. It was Yale’s third consecutive invitation to the regional competition.

“Given all the great new talent, we hope to do the same this year,” Palms said.

Palms said in the past, many freshmen joining the team have skiing experience but no racing background. This year, many rookies have competed previously.

But the season-opening victory required hours of preparation.

Throughout October and November, the team practiced on dry land three times a week. Over winter break, the team traveled to Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada, to train on the slopes from Jan. 5 to Jan. 11.

The McBrine division competes just five times a winter. Yale’s next competition is this weekend in Lost Valley, Maine.

Men’s captain Jonathan Treem ’04 said it is still early in the season, and this weekend’s meet will clarify which schools will compete for the league crown.

“It’s kind of anyone’s game right now,” Treem said.