AUBURN — Connor Jackson spent all his weekends this ski season at Mt. Abram at the Mt. Abram ski program, learning the track like the back of his hand.
All that time spent on the mountain paid off when states rolled around, when Jackson edged out Sean Maguire of Marshwood by nine-one-hundredths of a second win in the giant slalom for his first state title.
“I do the Mt. Abram program, so I ski there every weekend so I kind of knew what the conditions were going to be like,” Jackson said. “It ruts up after ten runs down, so I am skiing a totally different course than the top 20 racers.”
Last season, Jackson took a more laid back approach to skiing, and it cost him in the long run.
“Last year I didn’t really go,” Jackson said. “I would rather stay home and chill. This year I knew I had to actually go to the program, ski more, and work harder. It paid off.”
Jackson’s first run came after teammate Maxx Bell skied a blistering 47.03, the fastest time of the day. Jackson came in at 48.27, a tenth back from second but more than a second behind Bell.
Bell fell in his second run, leaving the door open for Jackson to take the lead.
“In the second run I heard that Maxx ended up falling and I got a little nervous,” Jackson said. “I was like, ‘I actually have a chance to win this race.’ I was able to keep it calm and when I got to the start I closed my eyes, took a breath, and went for it.”
Jackson knew it was a good run instantly.
“It felt like a really good run,” Jackson said. “it was one of those runs where you finish and you know it was good… I didn’t have any words. It was exciting.”
Jackson also posted a third-place finish in the Class A slalom race, and helped lead the EL squad all season. For his efforts, Jackson is the 2017-18 Sun Journal Boys’ Alpine Skier of the Year.