Hitting the slopes

Archer skis on Mammoth team, driving six hours to practice

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It’s the weekend for freshman Jaxon Archer, an Alpine skier from the Mammoth team. He is in Mammoth surrounded by deep snow and his fellow teammates, skiing down a snowy mountain at full speed.

Archer goes skiing with his ski team nearly every weekend. He recently switched from the alpine racing team to the big Mountain team. Archer describes alpine racing as a timed race where you go through a course and are ranked according to your time. Big Mountain skiing involves skiing in an enclosed area with rocks and drops.

“Practice looks different for both teams. For alpine, we practiced on a running course

similar to the ones at races and we tried to stay consistent and make similar turns and practice

our technique. In big Mountain, we practiced more freestyle and dropping over rocks and we often go to the park to practice tricks,” Archer said.

Archer started skiing when he was about five years old. He remembers the rush and excitement he got from when he first started.

“Every time I hit a rail or did a jump and so on I used to get the biggest thrill,

especially on my first jumps. I still get thrilled from the jumps and stuff to this day. That feeling of excitement makes the six hours of driving worth it, “ Archer said.

However, Archer faces the big challenge of having to keep up with the rest of the team. Since most of his team lives closer to Mammoth than he does, they have the opportunity to ski more than he can. There is the pressure of keeping up with the others and getting as much out of each practice as he can, according to Archer.

“I don’t live up there so I have the disadvantage of not being able to go to all

practices and skiing during the week. So I have to focus and try my hardest so I don’t fall behind the others,” Archer said.

On top of the practices, he also sometimes struggles with finding the time to study and do his homework.

“When I go skiing, I’m basically there the whole weekend. So it’s hard finishing my

work from school. I do some homework during the car rides and right when I’m finished with my

races,” Archer said.

Archer also participates in ski competitions. At the start of the competition, skiers go up to the top and visualize the course, which is called inspection. They wait until it is finally their turn to ski down. Each skier usually completes three runs with rest in between.

“Waiting at the top is the worst part for me. Visualizing the course is important, but we usually have to just wait and sit there for a long time because the girls go down first and it takes a while until everybody goes down. It gets kind of boring and I sometimes get a bit nervous up there,” Archer said.

Archer also enjoys meeting new people during competitions, as well as the friends he made within the teams.

“We are very competitive with each other during practice. But outside of practice, we’re

all very close, both the team I was in last year and my team now,” Archer said, “And we all do stuff with each other outside of practice, like hanging out at the mall there, watching a movie or going skiing with each other for fun.”

Along with the close bonds he has made, Archer likes skiing because it is a unique sport and it’s also a hobby he can pursue as he gets older.

“It’s definitely one of the more expensive hobbies and it takes a while to get good at it.

But it’s cool being able to say that I’m a skier because it’s a unique hobby to have,”

Archer said. “It’s also a sport that I can continue as I get older. Unlike some sports, which sometimes only last through school, I can continue skiing through college and maybe when I get older.”

In the future, Archer sees himself continuing skiing as a hobby and maybe traveling to famous ski destinations.

“I definitely see myself continuing skiing. I would love to experience traveling to other countries and destinations for skiing when I’m older,” Archer said.