With 23 ski racers on the team, the Windham High School alpine team is taking former recreational skiers and making them into competitive racers.
There are 15 boys and 8 girls on the team, all of whom compete in slalom and giant slalom during the meets, which take place at Shawnee Peak. Giant slalom (GS) is where the skiers reach higher speeds as they ski through further apart two-poled gates that are hung with a banner. Slalom is done on shorter skis through poles that are close together. The skier only makes one turn before entering each gate.
The meets are held at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton and started after the new year. The first GS race took place last week. “Despite firm, challenging snow conditions, the Windham Alpine Team had a very promising first GS race of the season. The boys came in second overall (Marshwood first) behind strong performances from Jack Brockelbank (fifth place), Johnny McAvoy (15th), Brandon Palmer (17th) and Kyle Joseph (19th),” said coach Gavin Glider.
“The girls team continues to show promise with a fifth place finish (out of six). Our scoring racers were Carly Chasse (eighth), Cassie Symonds (11th), Liz Mycock (25th) and Meagan Jones (26th),” said Glider.
The team began in 2002 with one racer and in 2003 had its first full team with seven. The team competes in the SMAA conference against Kennebunk, Cheverus, Gorham, Scarborough and Marshwood.
The top racers who show potential in slalom after one meet are Jack Brockelbank and Garrick Rogers for the boys and Cassie Symonds and Elizabeth Mycock for the girls.
Glider’s team philosophy is to “achieve at our highest level whatever that might be and work our hardest to achieve it.” He also encourages good sportsmanship. The ski team won a sportsmanship banner in 2011.
“The way we conduct ourselves is more important than the results we achieve. It’s nice to win, but it’s nicer to win with dignity,” Glider said.
The team is partially funded by RSU14. Lift tickets are purchased for the team for practices and races. The athletes provide their own equipment and the coach along with assistant coach Jennie Butler are looking for opportunities for fundraising and sponsorship to aid in the purchase of uniforms for next season. Sponsors would be embroidered on the jackets, Glider said.
Upcoming races are the division championship on February 14 and the class A State meet on February 27 and March 1 all at Shawnee Peak.