WATERVILLE — With less snow than usual falling so far this winter, on top of restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, high school skiers were wondering what would be in store for them this season. Those questions were answered on Friday night, when Maranacook along with Camden Hills, Mt. Abram, Mt. Ararat, Mt. Blue, and Spruce Mountain hit the Quarry Road Trails in Waterville to open up their season.

“For me, it felt amazing to be out there, and I really improved my time compared to last season,” said Max Olmstead of Maranacook, who finished second overall individually. “We were just out there having fun, it was something that we needed.

With the lack of the snow, skiers and their coaches have gotten creative in figuring out different ways to train while still adhering to guidelines surrounding the pandemic. Maranacook has been fortunate enough to ski at their own school, with a little help from mother nature and their coach, Steve DeAngelis.

“Coach D. has done a fantastic job in making sure we have a place to get out and ski on,” said Wyatt Stevenson, who placed 10th individually. “We’ve been conditioning when we aren’t able to get on the trails, so it’s a nice change of pace from one thing to the other.”

Maranacook’s Seth White hits the trail during a Nordic ski meet Friday in Waterville. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Regardless of how it had to be done, many skiers had been working towards this day for a long time and were happy to just be able to compete on the trails.

“I woke today and couldn’t believe that we had a race tonight, it was something I’ve been working towards for a while,” said Ruby Nelson of Maranacook. “The work that the team has put in paid off tonight.”

While it may have been a different setting this season, that feeling of racing under the lights is still a source of some extra motivation for the skiers.

“I really liked the idea of it going in, but to actually experience skiing under the lights was a different feeling,” added Olmstead.

The Black Bears secured a victory in the boys race with 777 points to Mt. Blue’s 754. Mt. Blue edged out Maranacook in the girls race, with 794 points. Maranacook finished the girls race with 766.

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