Ellie Pelletier gets nervous before ski races, especially at Mt. Abram. Something about the giant slalom course at Mt. Abram causes Pelletier’s stomach to release all the butterflies. Maybe it’s the steep headwall, she thinks, or maybe it’s just a confidence thing.

But when she skied her second run in the Class A state giant slalom championship at Mt. Abram last month, Pelletier overcame her nerves.

“I told myself I need to let loose second run,” Pelletier said. “One through 10 were so close together… I know I couldn’t have done any better.”

Pelletier held on to third place in that race. The Mt. Blue High School junior also took second place in the slalom at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, and earned a spot on the Maine team that competed in the Eastern high school championships at Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire earlier this month.

For her efforts, Ellie Pelletier is the Morning Sentinel Girls Alpine Skier of the Year. Also considered was Jenna Hanrahan, Pelletier’s Mt. Blue teammate.

“She’s just a solid kid,” Mt. Blue alpine ski coach Mark Cyr said of Pelletier.

On skis since she was 3, Pelletier began racing at Titcomb Mountain when she was in fourth grade. While she’s had success in the giant slalom and slalom, Pelletier says she’s better in the latter.

“I love giant slalom. I love the speed,” Pelletier said. “But I place better in slalom.”

One of Pelletier’s biggest supporters is her older brother, Miles, who graduated from Mt. Blue last year and was the 2017 Morning Sentinel Boys Skier of the Year.

“Every race I have, he calls me before and wishes me good luck,” Pelletier said.

As strong as Pelletier’s runs were in the state giant slalom races, Cyr said she put the team results ahead of her individual performance. For Pelletier, putting together two solid runs to help the Cougars improve their overall team score, was more important than personal accomplishments. Pelletier’s third-place finish helped Mt. Blue finish third in the giant slalom competition, behind Fryeburg Academy and Edward Little.

“In the state GS, I think she held back a little bit,” Cyr said. “She’s a team player. She thinks about the team before she thinks about herself.”

States capped a season in which Pelletier was competitive from start to finish. A second-place finish in a slalom race at Titcomb on Jan. 10 helped set the tone for the season.

“I was able to put together two runs in most of my races,” Pelletier said. “As a team, we were much more confident. We really skied well.”

With Pelletier’s senior season ahead of her, improvement will come through small things. Cyr said he’d like to see Pelletier fine tune a few technical things. Pelletier agreed, adding that she hopes to also ski with more confidence.

“I’m not really a super technical skier,” she said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM