Lucas Bonnevie likes to go fast.
His work ethic and athletic ability make that possible as he barrels down the side of a mountain at breakneck speeds.
And his knack for being faster than just about everyone else in his age bracket make him a valuable asset to the Mt. Blue ski team as it prepares for another run at a Class A state championship this week.
“We had some depth, but didn’t have anybody who could come in the top two or three on a regular basis,” Cougars’ coach Mark Cyr said. “When Lucas showed up (during preseason), I knew — I’d seen him skiing here at Titcomb — I was pretty confident he was going to win every single race or come in in the top two. We have a lot of kids who can finish in the top 20, but we didn’t have a one or a two. That’s huge.”
Bonnevie spent the first three years of high school skiing and taking classes at Carrabassett Valley Academy at Sugarloaf. In his final year of high school eligibility, he returned to his “home” school, Mt. Blue.
“CVA really helped me out for skiing,” Bonnevie said. “High school racing now, I’m winning a lot of these races. But I like my friends, I like being around the people I’m around now at Mt. Blue.”
Winning a lot of races may be a statement of modesty for Bonnevie, who has finished first in every race he’s entered this season but one, where he finished third.
“A friend I race FIS with won that one, and I don’t even know who the other skier was, I don’t remember,” Bonnevie said. “I just know I don’t want that to happen again.”
The biggest reasons for Bonnevie’s success? According to Cyr, there are three.
“It’s technique, it’s tactics, and it’s athleticism,” Cyr said. “His technique is unbelievable, his tactics as far as where to turn and when to turn is above anyone else and he is an outstanding athlete.”
That manifested itself, Cyr said, in preseason training, before there was any snow to be found.
“I watched him during dry-land, some of the stuff he was doing during training as far as the plyometrics in the workouts we were doing,” Cyr said. “Lo and behold, some of the things he can do on skis because of that are just amazing athletically. When he’s on the verge of disaster, he’s able to pull it out because of his athleticism.”
“I dry-land train whenever I’m not skiing, so, like, six months out of the year I’m doing that, and I think that helps out a lot,” Bonnevie said.
Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, the school’s home track and a valuable resource for any skier, is better suited to train for the slalom, which is slower and requires more technical skill than a giant slalom.
“Here at Titcomb, we can train the crap out of slalom, but it’s just not long enough for a good GS,” Cyr said. “That’s where a lot of my kids who haven’t had a lot of big-mountain experience, they suffer. You have to be able to turn 30 times, versus what we do here, maybe 10 times.”
That’s where Bonnevie’s time at CVA comes in handy.
“I like GS a lot, when it’s really icy and steep,” Bonnevie said. “I think that’s when I do my best.”
“A lot of that comes from growing up at Sugarloaf, at CVA, and getting big mountain experience,” Cyr said.
Bonnevie’s ability to harness his speed comes mainly from his dedication to fitness.
“He’s strong from the waist down, which is big in alpine skiing now,” Cyr said. “With the shaped skis and the torque that’s being built up, to be able to hold the pressure that he crates in those skis takes a lot of strength.”
And Bonnevie’s ability to lead the Cougars as they look to capture their sixth consecutive Class A overall state title and 13th in the past 15 years depends largely on his ability to inject confidence into the rest of the squad.
“If he stands, he’s going to be right there,” Cyr said. “I know Falmouth has some good skiers, we faced Greely last year. But looking at (Bonnevie’s) USSA results, I know he can still come in the top two.”
“I feel like I bring confidence to the team,” Bonnevie said. “Finishing one or two in every race, I think it makes us a strong team in every race.”