By Sam Wilson
Every season starts the same, even for the defending state champions, in ski racing.
The Ellicottville girls alpine ski team has won three consecutive NYSPHSAA championships, from 2017-19, and last year, then-sophomore Logan Fredrickson earned her school’s first individual state titles in the sport. She won the slalom, giant slalom and the combined overall state championship.
Now a junior, Logan and her twin sister Hayly lead an experienced group that will look to compete at states again, but that starts with training and practice in the early winter months.
“I treat every year the same,” said Kelly Fredrickson, the Eagles’ coach and Logan and Hayly’s father. “You try to get them as ready to the best of their ability and every year we start over. It really makes no difference that they’ve won in the past or not. They still work hard and focus on what we’ve got to do to improve and go from there.”
The high school ski season doesn’t start until the new year, when Ellicottville has its first home race on Jan. 8.
Ellicottville has four home races at Holiday Valley (all at 6 p.m.), running the giant slalom Jan. 8 and Feb. 6 and slalom on Jan. 22 and Feb. 12.
This year’s state championship is set for Feb. 24-25 at Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua. In order to qualify for states, a skier must be on the first-place overall team in the section or be one of up to the 12 lowest places in the section during in-season qualifying.
In total, Ellicottville has 11 team members. Cece and Emmylu Carls, McKenna Kaleta and Courtney Sexton all return to the ECS girls team, while senior Adrian deOrbe leads the boys squad looking to return to states.
“I expect him to make states this year and hopefully he has a better result this year over last year,” Fredrickson said deOrbe. “Most of the other boys are younger. That would be the main objective (for the boys) this year is having Adrian go to states.”
While it’s difficult to ski outside of the winter for obvious reasons, involvement in other sports keeps the racers start the season with strong conditioning.
“A lot of the girls they do other sports,” Fredrickson said. “Hayly and Logan are in track in the spring and soccer in the fall, McKenna she’s in track, Courtney plays softball, a couple younger girls play basketball so that kind of interferes a little bit with practice. It all helps them condition and get ready to go.”
The winter high school season begins in November, so the Eagles have trained indoors and recently started practicing on snow.
“We started practice this week (the week of Dec. 3) on snow,” Fredrickson noted. “Hayly and Logan, we skied over Thanksgiving up in Canada at Tremblant. The next several weeks we’ll be trying to get everything up to where they’re supposed to be in practice.
“It all depends,” he added of how much the team can practice. “This year, the weather’s helping us out a lot. We started practice in the second week of November, working in the weight room and stuff and conditioning. But to get on snow this week has been great. We’ve had a lot of seasons where we haven’t been able to get on snow this early.”
Ellicottville Alpine Ski
Wednesday, Jan. 8: at Holiday Valley (GS), 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 15: Kissing Bridge (GS), 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 22: Holiday Valley (Slalom), 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 28: Buffalo Ski Club (Slalom), 6 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 6: Holiday Valley (GS), 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12: Holiday Valley (Slalom), 6 p.m.