Pelham freestyle skier reaches new heights
Pelham's Alec Carignan attained new heights in Park City, Utah, last Saturday, winning the USANA U.S. Freestyle Aerial Championships. (U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association)
After failing to make the medal round at the FIS Freestyle Junior World Ski Championships March 27 in Valmalenco, Italy, the 18-year-old Pelham resident returned to the United States and won the national fly freestyle competition during the USANA U.S. Freestyle Aerial Championships Saturday at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah.
That wasn’t the only motivation Carignan took into Saturday’s competition, which came on the 12th anniversary of the passing of his father.
With the support of his mother, Cindy, Carignan followed the lead of another young freestyle skier from Pelham, Eric Loughran, and joined the development program at Waterville Valley Academy. There he came under the instruction of legendary coach Nick Preston, who told him he had the talent to pursue a career in freestyle skiing.
“If I was going to do this, I knew I had to move on my own to train 40 hours a week,” Carignan said. “I have no regrets. I miss my friends and family in Pelham, but now I couldn’t imagine going to a public school. Everything is awesome right now.”
“He’s a great coach who has turned out professional skiers in the past,” he said. “He put me on the right road. So far it’s paying off.”
Carignan said his ultimate goal is to compete in the 2018 Olympics in Korea.
“Winning the national title over the weekend is a huge first step for me. I couldn’t be happier right now.”