On the ski: it’s not easy, but high school skiers deserve the support of the fans

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Finding the schedules for high school ski competitions is not easy, but the season is on.

By going to the Maine Principals’ Association website, I was able to find the dates and locations of the state championships, but unlike team sports, there is no regular fixture list. For these you’ll need to check with your local school, or you can call your local ski area to see if they have races.

Dave Irons, Ski Columnist

The Class A Alpine State Championships are scheduled at Black Mountain in Rumford on February 17-18. On those same days, the Class B Alpine Championships will take place at Saddleback.

The Class A, B and C Nordic State Championships will be held at Black Mountain on February 23-24.

Without announcements for competitions, it’s not easy to support high school skiing. Team sports taking place in stadiums and gymnasiums are easy. Just go to the gym and cheer on your team.

Skiing is not that easy. Not only are the events held outside, but often getting to the finish requires a hike.

There are a few places where the alpine races end near the base lodge and others where you can actually watch a good portion of the race from the inside. This is true for the races held on Bull Moose Under the Chair at Lost Valley. Additionally, Mount Abram ran over Boris, which can be seen from the bottom.

Cross country races usually end near the lodge so it doesn’t take much of a hike to see the finish, but it does require a warm outfit.

HIGH PRICE

Of course, skiing requires equipment usually provided by the competitor, and as any parent who has ever outfitted a skier for competition knows, it can be costly. All the cushions for a soccer player or a hockey player are provided by the school and can cost hundreds of dollars per player.

I have to admit that I am not as up to date with the equipment costs for Nordic as I am for Alpine. I know a high end racing shoe for GS and slalom can cost up to $ 800, and to be truly competitive a skier needs skis for both events, which with bindings can exceed $ 1,000 each. .

Fortunately, Leon Akers helped with the Nordic awards by sending in this year’s catalog. Unfortunately, the winter 2021-2022 catalog will be Akers’ last.

After 62 years, this Andover, Maine store, which has supplied a full line of cross-country ski equipment for skiers, teams and schools across the country, will no longer provide a printed catalog. Printing and mailing costs have increased to such an extent that it makes more sense to publish everything online. The Akers store is always open with a full line of Nordic gear, and they will send occasional flyers to those on their mailing list. Everything can be found on www.akers-ski.com.

Obviously we cannot reproduce an entire catalog in this space, but browsing the catalog it is obvious that a Nordic skier’s equipment is cheaper than Alpine.

Traditional XC skiers will notice the difference in footwear. Instead of outfitting for the classic, straightforward style of XC competition, skating added another dimension. The softer boots used for the classic and straight stride are still suitable for classic competition, but skating requires a boot with lateral stiffness.

There are a number of packages that include a Combi boot. These have a removable cuff which provides the stiffness needed for skating but can be removed for a classic stride. This additional technique made the XC boots more complex, but they are still much simpler than an alpine racing boot.

The point of all this is for high school skiers to train as hard as any athlete and buy their own equipment, and for the most part, they compete without anyone looking at them except a few coaches and trainers. teammates.

For a few years, when Mount Abram booked Friday nights for high school races and turned on the lights, we could count on a group of parents to be available. They gathered around the finish area and cheered as their kids and teammates finished.

It was an ideal setup. The whole course was visible from the base area, and it was only a short walk to get in and warm up. With most high school races taking place during the day in the middle of the week, it is difficult for parents to be spectators at times when most are working.

To see if there might be a source for information on running in high school, I spoke with former coach Edward Little Dick Osgood and learned that there is a website. I will inquire www.mainehighschoolskiing.com to find out more about the regular meeting schedule, but all I can offer at this point is the name of the site.

Osgood told how the school provided Nordic skis for the kids, but given the changes in the sport, it would be very expensive today. Just as the alpine runner needs to have both GS and slalom skis, the cross-country runner would need skis for both classic and skate competitions.

Most of the time, my research told me that I needed to do a lot more. Skiing in high school in Maine is busy with a bunch of schools and a lot of kids. They would like nothing better than to see crowds of spectators at every race. Go to the website and find out when and where your school will compete.

It could make your ski season a lot more interesting. You might even see me at a run or two.

See you soon on the slopes.

Dave Irons is a freelance writer and columnist from Westbrook. He has contributed to the Sun Journal for many years and is one of the North East’s most respected ski editors. He is also a member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. Write to him at [email protected]


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