RUMFORD — Joey Guimond grinned as he glanced up the icy slope of Black Mountain’s Lower Androscoggin slalom course, a streak of dried blood trickling from his right nostril.

Somewhere up there, out of sight above the headwall, was a gate that smacked him in the schnozz early in his first run of the Class B slalom championship.

“I didn’t put my hand up fast enough,” he said with a slight twitch of his nose. “It’s swollen but as long as it’s straight, I’m happy.”

Guimond exacted his revenge on Androscoggin later Wednesday with a slalom victory by nearly three seconds as Fort Kent opened a commanding lead in the two-event Alpine state meet that concludes with Thursday’s giant slalom.

A senior, Guimond was one of the four Fort Kent skiers among the top six boys on a day when racers from 16 other schools frequently found the frozen surface unforgiving.

Fort Kent compiled 15 points to 36 for second-place Mountain Valley. Yarmouth was third at 78 followed by Maranacook (81) and Spruce Mountain (115). Gray-New Gloucester tied Central Aroostook for sixth at 124.

Earlier Wednesday, Alisha Guimond, Joey’s sophomore cousin, won the girls’ Class B slalom by more than four seconds as Fort Kent opened a 25-47 lead on Spruce Mountain with Maranacook (51) in third and Mt. Abram (100) in fourth.

Wednesday marked the first state meet since the Maine Principals’ Association contracted the number of Alpine classifications from three to two, and separated Alpine and Nordic into distinct disciplines, each with its own state meet.

“We know Nordic is killing it,” said Yarmouth junior Hannah Van Alstine, whose Clippers won the final nine overall Class B titles before the split. “We’re excited to have a chance to stand by ourselves, to make it on our own.”

Van Alstine was one of the few skiers Wednesday who managed two fast and fall-free runs. Her combined time of 1:46.37 was behind only Guimond and Spruce Mountain’s Allison Acritelli … but instead of third Van Alstine learned she had been disqualified.

Not for missing or straddling a gate, as was the case with so many others Wednesday, but for the ghastly sin of – wait for it – starting too early.

“They go ‘Five, four, three, two, one,’ ” said Van Alstine, describing the starter’s countdown. “You can start at ‘three, two, one’ or three seconds after they say ‘Go.’ They think I started sometime between ‘four’ and ‘three.’ That’s considered an early start, I guess, which I wasn’t aware of.”

Another Yarmouth teammate failed to finish her first run and a third did likewise on her second run. A fourth, Greta Elder, fell and hiked, but completed both runs in a time good enough for 12th only to discover later she had been disqualified for straddling a gate.

That left the Clippers with only two skiers in good standing, Emma Marston in 13th and Emi Ruth in 24th. A minimum of three is required for a team score.

All six Yarmouth boys successfully completed their two runs but not without difficulty. Tumbling, recovering and side-stepping up the slope to negotiate a missed gate was commonplace.

“I’ve been racing since sixth grade,” said Clippers junior Conner Pearl, who placed 28th. “I’ve fallen three times. Two were (Wednesday), on one run.”

Tuesday’s rain coupled with a season of man-made snow created conditions similar to the stuff that builds up next to that neglected ice cream carton inside your freezer.

“It’s sheer ice,” Pearl said with a hint of awe. “It’s like a melted waterfall.”

Why, then, were so many skiers from Fort Kent unfazed?

Joey Guimond shrugged.

“We were taking our time,” he said. “Ski smarter, not harder.”

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