We now spotlight senior Jett Lindelof of Isleboro. He won the 2023 Class A giant slalom at Saddleback. We asked him about this preparations and he shares with us about being at a small island school in Maine.
1) What were your preparations leading up to the state meet?
Leading up to the state meet, I did a lot of training with Camden Hills, the team I train and travel with, and I occasionally trained with the CVA weekend program.
2) How did you deal with the pressure and emotions that come along with competing in a state meet?
Coming into the state meet I was pretty calm. I like listening to music on the way to races and making small talk with people throughout the race day.
3) What was going through your mind at the starting gate?
While I was in the start gate, I was very calm. All I was thinking about was making clean arc turns and not having any big mistakes. I remember hearing lots of cheering from my teammates and coaches while I was in the start gate. Right before the buzzer went off, I looked out at the extensive mountain ranges, pushed out of the gate, and felt like I was going to ski well.
4) What do you contribute your success to?
I contribute my success to my coaches, my parents and my teammates. All of these people have greatly encouraged me and helped me become a better skier and a better person. I also contribute my success to my dedication to the sport and my dedication to become a better skier.
5) What are your goals/plans for next year?
As of now, I haven’t decided what my plans are for next year. I have some great opportunities and have a lot of thinking to do. I would like to continue my ski career if the opportunity is right.
6) What surprised you the most about this season?
This season, I was surprised by how quickly the season went by. It felt like just a short few weeks ago that everyone was just getting on the snow at the Camden Snow Bowl.
7) What movement/event will you remember the most from this season?
Throughout the ski season, I’ve had some of the best moments in my ski career. But there is one moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. That moment was at the awards ceremony after the Class A state meet at Saddleback. I will always remember my name being called up as the GS Class A state champion.
8) What do you like most about Alpine Skiing?
There are so many things I love about ski racing. For starters, I love the unpredictability of it. I enjoy how the surface of the snow/conditions is always different, how every ski course is different and the unpredictability of the weather. I especially love the team spirit and the community of ski racing.
9) Anything else that you would like to add?
Yes. A lot of people ask how I became a champion ski racer coming from a small island school in Maine, so I’d like to share my story. My love of skiing started at Maine’s small family-run mountain, Hermon Mountain. My mother wanted my brother, sister and I to learn how to ski to develop a love for being outdoors in the winter, while enjoying a sport that could last a lifetime. We heard that Hermon Mountain was a great place to learn to ski, so I started ski lessons there when very young, and went every weekend. We joined Hermon Mountain’s Penobscot Valley Ski Club, and that’s where ski racing started for me. I made great friends and had great times on their junior race team for a few years, then became aware of the Camden Snow Bowl’s middle school racing program, which I transitioned to for more terrain and more racing opportunities. I raced on Camden’s middle school team for three years. After that, I learned I could continue with the Camden Hills high school racing program, but not technically part of their team as a scoring teammate, because I didn’t attend their school. I attended Islesboro Central School, a small island school just north of Camden, 3 miles out to sea. I became Islesboro’s one and only ski team member. I was able to train, be coached by and travel with Camden to races as an independent racer, but unable to actually compete for any actual Maine ski team, and that’s what I did for all four of my high school years.
My family, coaches and athletic director tried hard to get some rules changed so myself and others like me in the future could become part of the team they train with and are coached by, but it was not successful. Despite all the challenges of attempting to make that process happen, I continued to have fun, skiing alongside friends I’d skied with since middle school. I also made many new friends from other teams, and enjoyed watching them improve every year as I did too. Making it onto the Maine State Team and going to Eastern Championships during both my junior and senior years were some of my happiest accomplishments.
Ski racing to me is a sport like no other. It’s fun, exhilarating, and a great experience that I am grateful for, and it’s all been very worthwhile. Ultimately I have the love of skiing and being outdoors in winter, and that’s how I became an individual Maine State Ski Champion, while representing my small, home island community of Islesboro, Maine.