Crashing into gates is nothing new for Alex Rose of Livermore Falls.
It’s a part of life for any slalom racer, particularly those who perform consistently at a high level, like Rose.
But what happens when the gates fight back?
Rose, racing in the slalom event at the Class C state championships in Aroostook County this winter found out.
“I was flying, and I caught the gate,” Rose recalled. “It popped out of the snow, and because of the speed I was going down the hill, it balanced there with me and stayed attached to me. All I could think was, ‘Oh no, now what am I going to do?'”
He skied through two more gates before he reached a decision. As he cross-blocked a gate, he reached down with his off hand, grabbed the errant plastic pole and tossed it aside.
“The gate pulled up as he went by and he held onto it for a few more gates,” coach Kenny Jacques said. “It looked like he was walking a tightrope.”
All of that, in less than five seconds. And, he still had the presence of mind to keep his speed and his balance.
And he won the race.
“He’s just a great athlete,” Jacques said. “Whatever he does, he’s just really good at it. He’s just one of those kids who comes along every so often and just blows you away.”
Rose also won the giant slalom at this year’s Class C state races, repeating both title he won in 2009. This time around, Jacques said, Rose was even better.
“I think it’s more just a natural progression as he continues to work hard,” Jacques said. “Alex focuses on training for skiing all year round. He’s had the raw talent for as long as I can remember, and he just keeps working hard at it.”
Jacques said Rose’s aggressive nature on the slopes has served him well, and his ability to rein in that aggression and use it properly has helped him develop into an elite racer.
“That’s something I definitely feel like I’ve improved on,” Rose said. “I am always being aggressive out there, even when I’m nervous. It didn;t feel much different this year than it did last year, but I wasn’t as nervous.”
Ultimately, Rose said, there is one piece missing to this year’s puzzle. The Andies came up one point short in the team alpine competition.
“That would have been great, to celebrate that with everyone on the team, too,” Rose said. “We’re a family. It’s pretty much the same guys.”
All things considered, though, Rose’s season was plenty successful. His ultimate goal is to continue racing, and eventually race for a Division I program, “like Colby or Dartmouth,” he said.
Jared Foster, Mt. Blue
James Jackson, Edward Little
Branden Lever, Edward Little
Sam Ricker, Leavitt
Alexander Rose, Livermore Falls*
Alexander Witt, Mt. Blue
Willie Brown, Livermore Falls
Clark Chamberlain, Edward Little
Cody Jacques, Livermore Falls
Gavin Lee, Telstar
Nathan Nicols, Mountain Valley
Sam Prentiss, Mt. Blue