By Ashley Shurtleff, Staff Writer

Lindsey Jacques on the slopes (photo courtesy of Lindsey Jacques)

Lindsey Jacques on the slopes (photo courtesy of Lindsey Jacques)

 Lindsey Jacques, 20, a sophomore at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), is eager to begin her job as a ski coach at Spruce Mountain High School while balancing membership on the college’s ski team, two other jobs and the duties that come with being a full time student.

   With cold weather swiftly approaching, Jacques couldn’t be more excited for the high school team’s season to begin. “I’m looking forward to starting my job because it will not only give me the chance to start my coaching career but also give back to the community that did so much for me and made my high school racing experience a very positive one,” she said.

   Since August, Jacques has been diligently working on the necessary preparations before the season begins. “I have to come up with a list of equipment I need and make sure that I balance out my budget so that I can afford the equipment and pay for the race entree fees. I also have to plan a fitness test for dry-land training as well as a normal work out schedule for dry-land [practices]” said Jacques.

   Jacques also had to plan a training schedule for when the team gets on snow. “You don’t just jump right into the gates on a race course,” she said, “you start with skills and drills, that is all about body position and turn shape; then you move to short gates that are an extension of skills and drills, then you move to full gates in a full length race course.”

   Although Jacques is thoroughly prepared, she still anticipates many challenges from her first year as a coach. Mostly she worries about the three-year age gap between her and some of her racers. She will also face challenges because of her coaching inexperience. Jacques is prepared for the task though; “it’s all about learning as you go,” she said.

   In addition to managing her high school team, this will be Jacques’ second year as a member of the UMF ski team. “I can’t wait for ski season to start. It’s one of those things that I look forward to all year long.” The team is made up of “a great group of people that like to work hard and have fun and who all truly love the sport,” said Jacques.

   While most of her time will be spent on the snow, Jacques is also holding down a job on campus. “I have a job at the fitness center as an aquatics instructor,” she said. She loves her job and enjoys working with the students. “It’s a good opportunity to learn different ways of coaching,” said Jacques.

   Although Jacques will already be wearing many hats this Winter, she realizes that her role as a student involves making time for homework and keeping her grades up. She’s determined to dedicate herself fully to everyone fell of her commitments. “I’m going to get my homework done every night,” she said, “even if I have to do it on the bus ride to a race.”

   Jacques feels as though “commitment is an important life aspect” and that each commitment made should be honored to the fullest. Jacques is fully confident that she will be able to balance every role that she will be taking on. She hasn’t given herself a choice; “I wouldn’t want to give up any aspect of my life.”

   For Jacques, ski racing has always been a part of her life. She was “the baby in the backpack” at her big brother’s races. She grew up in competitive programs at Kents Hill, Sugarloaf, and Mount Abram, where she met Coach Lavallee, a former US Ski Team Coach, who helped bring Jacques up from an average high school racer to International Ski Federation (FIS) material. Jacques even spent a year at Carrabassett Valley Academy to pursue her racing career further.

   Since Jacques began skiing at the age of two though, her dad has been her “coach, biggest  fan and support system.” If it wasn’t for her dad, she would never be where she is today. “I owe a lot of my success to my dad,” said Jacques. She attributes her belief that “ski racing is a life-long passion and life-style” to her dad. “I want it to be a part of my life, always,” said Jacques. She hopes to accomplish this by pursuing her coaching career.