Maranacook skier Jenna Badeau, left, and Mt. Ararat’s Karli Leighton compete during a Feb. 24 Nordic race in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

After a season of uncertainty, high school skiers finally have some long-awaited postseason races.

Conference championship races are set to begin this week.

The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference will hold its Nordic classical races Wednesday at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington. The boys and girls freestyle races will be held March 10, also at Titcomb.

The KVAC Alpine races were scheduled to go Tuesday with the boys competing at Black Mountain in Rumford, but tough conditions postponed the action to March 11. The KVAC girls Alpine races are scheduled for Thursday at Black Mountain.

The Mt. Ararat Nordic ski team has competed in just three races this season, and practice times have been scarce because of limited snow in the Midcoast.

“It’s been a challenging year, but considering the circumstances I think we’ve had a successful season,” said Mt. Ararat head coach Kevin Leighton. “We have seen immense improvement from our skiers who just started this year.”


The Eagles are a young team with several skiers taking up the sport this season, with a few coming over from the indoor track team.

Mt. Ararat Nordic skier Karli Leighton finishes a Feb. 24 Wednesday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“They are ready to go. The new skiers are excited to race in a big event, and our three seniors are grateful to have one more championship event before their high school career ends,” Leighton added.

In central Maine, the Mt. Blue and Maranacook Alpine ski teams are ready to go at Black Mountain.

With fewer races this winter because of the coronavirus pandemic, skiers are even more amped for a postseason this year, coaches said.

“I know my kids are fired up. We had a pretty successful season and are ready to show what we can do in events like this,” said Mt. Blue Alpine coach Mark Cyr, whose girls squad won the Class A title last season. “They are ready to roll, even amid the uncertainty with the boys race.”

Maranacook Alpine coach Ronn Gifford said his teams are looking to win KVAC titles.


Maranacook skier Sam McKee competes during a race at Mt. Abram. McKee and the Black Bears will compete in the KVAC championships at Black Mountain on March 11. Photo provided by Michael LaBerge

Sam McKee is one of the top skiers on the Maranacook boys while Anna Erb and Meghan Mahoney lead the girls squad.

“The kids are excited, this is the end and culmination of what has been a season to remember,” Gifford said. “This is our championship competition, something that I have really been trying to get across to them over the past couple of weeks to get them in that right mindset.”

Gifford added that the Black Bears stuck to their routines when preparing for the KVAC races

“We’ve just been trying to keep the same routine and keep practices as normal as possible for myself and the skiers,” said Gifford. “We may focus a bit more on things, but for the most part we are keeping things the same.”

Cyr said that he’s encouraged his skiers to take bigger risks this winter.

“At the beginning of the season I told them to go for it, it doesn’t matter if you fall and hurt your time,” said Cyr. “Now we want fast but clean runs, and making sure you finish your run unscathed. … We’ve only seen a handful of teams more than twice, so it’s tough to predict how it will unfold. I’m never going to count anybody out when it comes to a race like this, anything can happen on any given day, especially this season given the circumstances.”

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