Those two most recent Nor’easters that blanketed Maine with multiple feet of fresh snow and were unanimously cheered by state ski areas? The one person that was truly looking forward to just such a late winter wasn’t even here to enjoy it.

At least not in the moment.

“I definitely enjoy the snow,” Maranacook sophomore Katie Ide said. “Unfortunately, when we got those two big snowstorms, I was in Colorado on a trip.”

In the end, it worked out for Ide. The sophomore finished fourth in the Class B slalom state championships and fourth in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference slalom championships to earn Kennebec Journal Girls Alpine Skier of the Year honors.

Maranacook senior Janika Pakulski was also considered.

“Over the course of the season, she was very consistent,” Maranacook coach Ronn Gifford said.

Perhaps, but Ide was also nearly five full seconds faster in the slalom at the state meet than she had been in the KVACs. With a youth background in mogul skiing, Ide said she definitely feels more comfortable on a slalom course, with tighter turns that come at you more quickly than in GS.

“In slalom, the turns are quicker and shorter,” Ide said. “Because I did mogul skiing for a few years, I think that helped make me a better slalom skier. With GS, it’s more about speed and being really aggressive and going 100 percent, which is kind of where I struggle a bit.”

Ide surprised herself this year.

After her freshman season, she didn’t really know what to expect in terms of goals. She knew she wanted to improve technically, but she was more concerned with making her first run every time down the mountain count.

Slalom and giant slalom races consist of two runs each. Ide said that while the goal is often to establish a solid time on the first run before trying to shave time on the second with a more aggressive effort, she found her results this season were often the opposite.

“Last year I had some trouble with my first runs — they were quite a bit slower than my second runs, just because I wasn’t going for it as much. A lot of my first runs were faster this year,” Ide said. “It’s a lot mental. It’s getting myself ready before the race. I didn’t want to make mistakes was a part of it (as a freshman), but I talked to (coach Gifford) quite a bit about that at the beginning of the season.

“I really tried to set kind of a routine before the races to get me ready.”

That’s where Ide relied on a strong team bond at Maranacook. Despite getting some odd looks from officials and other teams on top of the mountain, the Black Bears could often be found singing and dancing prior to the start in an effort to spike the adrenaline.

That teamwork, on and off the mountain, helped Maranacook win the overall KVAC skiing championship.

“I think it’s really important to have the team there.” Ide said. “There were quite a few racers that don’t have a team, but we have one of the biggest teams. It’s super important. It’s a great support system.”

With two years left in high school, expect Ide to only improve. She’s already pinpointed where she wants to get better after her fourth-place finish in the state slalom race.

“I think I’m just trying to keep going — going hard at it all the time,” Ide said. “I think there were some races, especially with my GS skiing, where I can improve. I want to be more aggressive with my line and going for it a bit more. I didn’t make a ton of necessarily technical improvement, it’s more of a mental thing for me.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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