Sports Spotlight: Skier heads to Tahoe for semester on slopes

Simrin Kacker

Before a big race, junior Alexandra Alvarez prefers to be alone, her headphones in, the excitement pumping through her veins in stark contrast to the still chill of the powder around her.
Alvarez, a competitive ski racer, will leave Redwood at the end of this semester and finish her junior year at a charter school in Tahoe so she can focus on skiing.

Alexandra Alvarez hits the slopes in Tahoe.
Alexandra Alvarez hits the slopes in Tahoe.

Alvarez races at the International Ski Federation (FIS) level, where she competes against highly ranked skiers from all over the world. She currently participates in general FIS races, and hopes to compete at world cup and NorAm levels alongside competitors such as Lindsey Vonn.
Since seventh grade, Alvarez has spent at least half of the academic year at a school in Tahoe. She first attended Sugar Bowl Academy, but this year she is planning on attending Forrest Charter School in the spring semester.
“She was always really devoted, she definitely put in the work on and off the hill,” said her former Sugar Bowl Academy teammate Chris Fitzpatrick. “She was committed full time and she was always improving.”
When she gets to Forrest Charter, her daily routine will change significantly.
“During the winter, we have training in the morning from 8-11 and then we will go and have lunch from 11-12:30,” Alvarez said. “Then we have our classes.”
Her schools in Tahoe consist of a small group of people who are very devoted to skiing, which Fitzpatrick said helps make each racer better.
“Skiing has a lot of ups and downs so it’s really important to have teammates to fall back on because no one understands the problems and issues a ski racer has to deal with better than another ski racer,” said Fitzpatrick. “So our teammates mean a lot even though it’s an individual sport.”
Alvarez’s ski career has taken her to slopes in Utah, Colorado, Canada, and even to a 2010 FIS race in New Zealand.
“That was my first FIS race ever. I had to start way in the back,” she said. “It was really intimidating because the person that was the highest was one of the top 50 skiers in the world, and she was 25.”
One specific trip to her dad’s hometown of Park City, Utah helped shape her skiing career.
“In 2002, we went to watch the Olympics and we stayed with his family. On the drive back I told him that I wanted to be on the ski team,” she said.
Today, Alvarez has other ski teams in mind.
“My short goal is for me to ski in college, and my ultimate goal is to get on the U.S. National Women’s ski team,” she said.
The potential for success is not the only aspect of skiing that appeals to Alvarez.
“I like it because even though it’s a sport I can do now, its something I can teach other people and I can do when I am older.”