Mt. Blue skier Katie Yeaton competes in the Giant Slalom at the Class A Alpine championships last season at Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley. Sofia Aldinio/Portland Press Herald

The high school Alpine ski season officially is under way, although many meets are scheduled in early 2024.

However, area teams have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this winter as they continue their dry-land training in December.

After strong showings in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships last season, Maranacook is ready to make a charge in Class B. Both Black Bear teams have strong numbers.

“I’ve got 14 girls, 25 boys and seven (skiers) from other schools,” said Maranacook head coach Ronn Gifford. “Having 39 Maranacook Black Bears, it’s probably the biggest (team), or within four or five of the biggest teams (I’ve had). There’s a lot of freshmen boys, in particular. It’s very exciting.”

The Marancook girls team finished third in the Class B meet last year, after finishing fifth at KVACs. The boys finished second at KVACs and fifth in the state meet.

Captain Thatcher Riley, a junior, returns to lead the Black Bears. Riley had a breakout season last year, finishing runnerup in the slalom at the KVAC and Class B meets. Junior captain Adam Ellis and fellow junior Josh Adams each had top-10 performances in the slalom at the KVAC championships last year. Junior Ben Jewett is also coming off a strong season for the Black Bears.


“The Maranacook boys, in particular, are going to be quite strong and certainly right in the mix come the end of the season for the state championship,” Gifford said.

On the girls side, senior captains Maggie Morrill and Anna Albert are two of the top returners. Sophomore Phoebe Bell had a strong freshman campaign last year, placing fourth in the giant slalom at KVACs. Junior Kendra Bor is also expected to make an impact for the Black Bears this winter.

An added element for Maranacook is its switch from the KVAC to the Mountain Valley Conference. The switch make the Black Bears heavy favorites for the conference titles.

“During the regular season, the MVC and KVAC ski together, anyway,” Gifford said. “The MVC is certainly a lot smaller than the KVAC, with not that many full teams… Total numbers are going to be a lot smaller than the KVAC, but certainly high quality (of skiing) on both the Mtn. Valley and Rangeley teams, even Mt. Abram as well. We’ll be competitive as well.”

Thatcher Riley of Maranacookl races down Grey Ghost during the KVAC giant slalom championships last season at Saddleback Mountain in Sandy River Plantation. Riley placed second in the boys competition. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The Mt. Abram boys and Rangeley girls should also be in the Class B mix. The Lakers will have a void after the graduation of Breezy Quimby, who finished third in the slalom and sixth in the giant slalom at the Class B championships.

In Class A, the Mt. Blue girls are bouncing back from the graduation of a strong senior class, led by Taylor Gordon, who won the KVAC title in the slalom and the Class A title in the giant slalom. The Cougars graduated three of their top five skiers from last year’s girls team.


“We’re rebuilding this year, the numbers are a little low,” Mt. Blue head coach Mark Cyr said. “But we still hope to be quite competitive.”

The Mt. Blue roster still has plenty of strong skiers. The girls will be led by senior Katie Yeaton, who was fourth in the slalom and third in the giant slalom at KVACs last year.

“She was a top two or three skier in every race (last year),” Cyr said.

Senior Abby Goodspeed is also one of Mt. Blue’s top returners. Cyr is also looking for production from Taylor Lancaster and Ashlyn Dailey.

Maranacook’s Phoebe Bell picks up speed during a KVAC /MVC Alpine race last season at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington. Morning Sentinel file photo

On the boys side, senior Trent Beaudoin is the top returner for the Cougars. Beaudoin finished eighth in the slalom and sixth in the giant slalom at the Class A championships last year.

“He’s very strong,” Cyr said. “He’s a top three skier in most races, also.”


Cyr said JJ Alexander and Brody Farmer are also expected to have strong seasons for Mt. Blue.

Skowhegan had an impressive season a year ago, as the boys team finished third in the slalom and fourth in the giant slalom at the Class A championships. Though the River Hawks don’t have large numbers entering the winter, coach Bill Finley is happy with his returning group.

“I have pretty much everyone returning this year,” he said. “I’ve got a much smaller team this year, which is kind of nice. We have about 10 kids this year, which is good, because all 10 of them are pretty serious about skiing. Sometimes, when you have 15 or 17, they’re not quite as serious about it.”

Asa Stroman is among the top returners for the River Hawks. A senior, Stroman was 11th in the slalom and eighth in the giant slalom at the Class A meet last year. Connor Files and Drake Tracy are also key returners for Skowhegan.

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