Skyview's Noah King skis to a first-place finish in the borough championship earlier this month.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
All the hard work is finally paying dividends for Skyview senior cross-country skier Noah King.
King's senior ski season has been marked by a string of successes. He won his first Kenai Peninsula Borough ski title, followed that up with making Alaska's Junior Olympics team for the first time, then had a personal-best, second-place finish at the Region III ski meet.
"This year, all that training he has been doing has paid off," Skyview ski coach Kent Peterson said.
King started skiing when he was just 5 years old, skiing on old roads in the Funny River area with his mother, Dawn, and father, Pat.
"He wasn't real serious about it," Dawn said of her son. "It was something we did as a family."
Noah started to get more serious in sixth grade, when he went to a ski clinic given by former Olympic biathlete Joan Miller. That led him to ski competitively at the middle school level.
King said he would normally earn top-five finishes in middle school, but he was definitely still learning what racing is all about.
"One time in middle school he finished second," Dawn said. "As soon as he finished, he said, 'Yeah, and I'm not even that tired.'"
King said when he started working under Peterson his freshman year, he realized how much effort it took to ski at a high level.
"My technique improved a lot freshman year," King said. "Middle school was more about getting out skiing and having some fun. We really didn't learn a lot about technique."
King finished 11th in the borough race and 14th in the region race as a freshman, proving he had come a long way from taking leisurely tours in the Funny River area.
"He wanted to really understand and learn how to ski faster," Peterson said. "He wanted to have good technique.
"He was focused on not just enjoying skiing, but being able to do it really well."
Peterson said that King has always been an enjoyable athlete to coach because King is self-motivated. In seventh grade, King said he started reading about exercising. As a sophomore, Dawn said her son went to a seminar on strength-training using Kettlebells.
"He was incredibly self-motivated," Peterson said. "It seemed like I almost had to hold him back and convince him he also needed to recover. He'd be training all the time."
As a sophomore, King finished second in the borough and 10th in the region. He also learned about ski-specific exercises like roller-skiing and running with poles that would further help his training.
As a junior, King decided to be a foreign exchange student in Switzerland. Much to his dismay, he ended up at a lower altitude in the country that did not get much snow. As much as he said he liked the food and learning about a different culture, he cut his trip short around Christmas when roller-skiing would no longer cut it.
"On Dec. 15, the day I came back, it was 50 degrees there," King said.
Despite a shoulder injury sustained while roller-skiing in Switzerland, King still was able to take third in the borough and eighth at regions that year.
King then further honed his training by talking to former Skyview ski coach Allan Miller and went on to his string of successes this season. King said he wants to continue the string at the state meet starting Thursday in Fairbanks.
King's focus has not been limited to the ski trails while at Skyview. He's also third in his class with a 4.0 grade point average. King has been in Peterson's band class for four years.
"I think he takes the same focus to whatever he does, whether it's rehearsing something in band or on the ski trails," Peterson said of King. "When you're talking to a group, Noah's one who will always be listening."
Next year, King would like to ski and study kinesiology at Northern Michigan University or the University of New Hampshire.
"I think he has the focus and determination to ski in college," Peterson said. "In high school, he's always been determined to keep working and get better. He's not afraid to work hard."
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