Alpine skiers enjoying a competition

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 9:54 AM EST
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It was a much smaller meet than originally scheduled. The Aroostook League held the first alpine race of the season today at BigRock in Mars Hill. Fort Kent and CAHS are both in the red mode and are doing remote learning so they did not participate in the slalom races. Presque Isle and Caribou skiers were very happy to finally get their competitive juices flowing.

(Edie Shea):” I am very excited. We have a very qualified team this year. The freshmen who are coming in have done gate racing in the past. I think it is going to be a good year.”

(Devon Ouellette):” Just to be able to be out here especially during these times. It is just special that we have a season to get outside.”

The athletes are taking a one day at a time attitude knowing the season could be cut short, but they are happy to get in at least one competition.

(Clay Gregg):” I am just excited that we are skiing. I didn’t think we would have a ski team due to COVID and we don’t have that much snow, but I am just happy to be here.”

(Izzy Higgins):” I am glad to be here. I didn’t really think we were going to have a season. I am glad I can be on skis and go through the gates because this is my last season to compete.”

Caribou Coach Neal Sleeper and Presque Isle Coach Eric Hendrickson say that you can see the happiness on their faces as they prepared for the meet.

(Neal Sleeper):” These kids are ecstatic they have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. They really didn’t do much since soccer ended this year. For a lot of the kids that played soccer it ended prematurely. This is a real welcome opportunity to get back outdoors. They need it for their mental well being.”

(Eric Hendrickson):” I was a little nervous about the whole season with what is going on. It’s nice to get the first one out of the way just so we can say we had at least one. We are on man made snow which is kind of hard. We are waiting for Mother Nature to lend a hand.”

Just like all high school sports the athletes have to wear a mask while competing.

Sleeper:”There’s a lot of kids who wear glasses and they have been struggling with masks and fogging up. Today is a great opportunity to figure out what it is going to be like racing with a mask on.”

Higgins:” It’s not bad. When it is cold your goggles can get pretty fogged up, but it’s not much different than normal skiing. We always have them for warmth so I don’t see a big difference.”

Higgins said she would take it one step further if needed.

Higgins:” If I have to wear two mask I would be fine as long as we get to race.”

The conditions aren’t perfect, but at least the athletes from Presque Isle and Caribou were able to put on the skis and compete.

Higgins:” If you are on the ski team you have a motivation to get down through the gates. I think everybody is pretty excited to be racing especially if we only get one or depending on how the season goes.”

Shea:” We are excited to be on the snow no matter what. A race or a practice we are happy.”

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