Alex Rose had just negotiated a tricky pitch down the slalom course at Lonesome Pines in Fort Kent when he noticed a red breakaway gate clinging to his waist.

Normally when a skier punches a gate, down it goes and up it springs. Sometimes it will pop entirely out of the snow and maybe slide down the hill a bit.

This time, in the second run of the Class C state championship meet earlier this month, the gate decided to hang on for the ride.

”It was distracting,” Rose said, ”but I had to stay focused and make sure I stayed on my line while going through them.”

A junior at Livermore Falls High School who also is a running back on the football team, Rose ran through two more gates before he reached down with his left hand and, as he was knocking another gate out of the way with his right hand, tossed the unwanted hitchhiker to the side.

Oh, and he still managed to cross the finish line faster than any of the other 46 skiers in the race, none of whom had come within two seconds of his time (37.34 seconds) in the first run.

”He’s just a good ski racer,” said Kenny Jacques, the Livermore Falls Alpine coach who also coaches the team at Jay High.

”If he stands, I don’t think he’ll lose another race in high school. I know that’s a pretty bold thing to say, but it’s the truth.

”If he stands and has two solid runs, he wins the race.”

The two-time defending Class C state champion in both slalom and giant slalom, Rose is our choice for Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram MVP for boys’ skiing.

If anyone doubted Rose’s ability because of his size (5-foot-8, 135 pounds) or that of his school, he proved them wrong at the Mountain Valley Conference championships — where he won the slalom and giant slalom titles, each by more than six seconds — and in a Friday night race series at Mt. Abram.

Competing against some of the best Alpine skiers in Class A and Class B, Rose won more races than anyone else, yet finished second in the overall standings to James Jackson of Edward Little after falling in two races.

But then, that is Rose’s style. It’s kind of a go-for-broke mentality reminiscent of another skier who came out of the mountains of northern New England to reach skiing’s biggest stage.

”Bode Miller, he’s always going for it,” Rose said. ”I’ve been told I ski like him. I either do well on my run or I’ll mess up. …

”There’s nothing like the rush of that testosterone going through your body as you’re flying downhill, where with one little mistake you can lose the race or fall.”

Rose spoke from a chair lift in between runs of a FIS race at Sunday River late last week. He also races in USSA competitions, trains at Kents Hill two nights a week under the tutelage of his father, Stacey, a former racer himself, and takes part in a Sugarloaf weekend racing program affiliated with Carrabassett Valley Academy.

Rose started skiing at age 6 on Spruce Mountain in Jay and began racing in fourth grade. Next Sunday at Mt. Abram, he’ll take part in the Shootout, a qualifying race to determine Maine’s team in the Eastern High School Championships, scheduled for the following weekend at Gunstock Ski Area in Guilford, N.H.

Eventually, he hopes to ski in college and someday make the national developmental team.

An honor roll student at Livermore Falls, Rose is loathe to leave public school for a ski academy because he loves playing football and baseball.

When the snow isn’t flying, he also loves to hunt and fish.

”Alex is one of those kids who, when he sleeps, he must just crash,” said Livermore Falls Athletic Director Sally Boivin, ”because he goes a hundred miles an hour during the day.”

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

[email protected]