As published by Village Soup, Mark Haskell, Apr 14, 2021
ISLESBORO — On sea and land — or boats and skis — brothers Lake and Jett Lindelof have, for years, impressed onlookers.
While Lake is a 17-year-old junior and Jett a 15-year-old sophomore at Islesboro Central School, the duo are perhaps better known statewide for their talents in Alpine ski racing, something they have proven a strong aptitude for since just out of diapers.
And while the siblings attend ICS, both sharpen their skis — and talents — with other schools.
Lake attends ICS through the fall and spring, but attends Carrabassett Valley Academy — which is a private boarding school at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain — November to March where he is enrolled in their winter term Alpine ski racing program.
It had been a goal of Lake’s to get into CVA at a young age. After applying as a seventh-grader and going through what his mother, Tracey, called "a rigorous admissions process," he was accepted into the program and has been attending CVA in the winter months since eighth grade.
When he was in seventh grade, Lake began to participate in Alpine training put on by CVA on Friday afternoons.
"It was a way for kids like myself who were not enrolled at CVA to get a feel for what it was like to ski and train with them,” Lake said. “I participated in many of these training days. I would get excused from school and my mom would drive me up to Sugarloaf. After doing a couple of these training days and taking laps with the CVA kids at the time, I quickly realized that if I went to CVA and trained with them every day, I would see incredible results. I told my mom on the car ride home after one of the training sessions that I wanted to go there.”
Through CVA, Lake has raced all over New England and also has attended preseason ski training sessions in Colorado and Austria. He also participated in an International ski racing series in Finland.
The Lindelof family got the opportunity to see Lake on weekends — mostly if they made the trek to Sugarloaf — but “CVA has very strict COVID prevention protocols and testing in place this year,” Tracey said. There also is no standard winter break at CVA as that is the peak of the competitive racing season.
While Jett goes to ICS full-time, he does attend CVA’s high school weekend training program, which allows flexible weekend and school vacation training options. He also practiced with the Camden Hills Regional High School Alpine ski team at the Camden Snow Bowl while he represents ICS as an independent skier.
“We are very thankful for Camden [Hills] to allow this opportunity for Jett and that the coaches and team have welcomed him as one of their own,” said Tracey. “Jett has been excelling at nearly every race.”
At the time Lake got in, Jett decided against applying to CVA’s winter term program and was happy to remain part of the Camden Snow Bowl middle school Alpine team, which won the state Class A middle school championship during his eighth-grade year.
The Lindelof boys began skiing at young ages — Lake at 5 and Jett at 3 — and began weekly lessons at Hermon Mountain, which was close to the family’s Swanville home “and a great place to learn,” said Tracey.
The Lindelofs also have a home on Islesboro.
“We joined the Penobscot Valley Ski Club and the boys began their racing program at Hermon Mountain when Jett was 6 and Lake was 8,” said Tracey. “We are very grateful for this small, family-run mountain that provided a wonderful introduction to skiing and a solid foundation for ski racing advancement.”
“My mom actually signed me up for lessons and that's how it all started,” said Lake. “I really liked it and picked it up super fast. Within a couple weeks of lessons, my instructor was having me demonstrate certain things to the other kids. After a couple weeks of that, my instructor told me that I should ski for the race team. He said that was the next step to get better at skiing, so that's what I did.”
Both later transitioned to the CSB’s middle school race team when Lake was in seventh grade and Jett sixth, though they still attended some of Penobscot Valley Ski Club's practices and events.
Shortly after that was when Lake made the transition to CVA.
“I was in seventh grade when Lake first went to CVA,” said Jett. “I had been on the Camden Middle School ski team for the past year and I really enjoyed it. I also liked being at ICS in the winter and playing basketball.”
“I’m really grateful for Hermon Mountain’s Penobscot Valley Ski Club and Camden Hills’ Ragged Mountain Ski Club because without these ski clubs I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Lake.
Currently, the Lindelofs are members of the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) through CVA and race in Maine Alpine Racing Association (MARA)-sponsored races in the state.
By all accounts, the competition seasons for the brothers could not have gone any different.
For Lake, there were no races until late January for CVA, which does not compete in races under the Maine Principals’ Association banner. If CVA races prior to that were scheduled, they were canceled due to COVID. Postseason races also were canceled, though Lake was able to get in several International Ski Federation (FIS) races in New Hampshire at the end of the season.
This is Lake’s second year being part of FIS. and he was able to get in 24 races, 15 of which were FIS and nine which were USSA.
Jett’s, by comparison, “was one of the busiest seasons I’ve ever had.”
In addition to his high school season alongside Camden Hills skiers, he also had a handful of races in the USSA and MARA leagues with the CVA weekend program, for a total of 22 races.
Of note, Lake finished his season lowering his FIS points to 140.02 in slalom, 112.91 in giant slalom and 182.2 in super giant slalom. Jett had a second-place finish in the glalom and seventh in the giant slalom at the KVAC championships at Black Mountain.
Lake’s days at CVA are a far cry from the schedule of a typical high school student, though it begins the same as most, around 7 a.m., unless of course he needs his skis tuned.
After breakfast, the vans load up at 8:15 a.m. “and if you’re late, you get left behind and have to find your own ride up the mountain.
The lifts open at 8:30 and skiers get two warm-up runs before meeting at the training venue, where they ski until 11:45 a.m.
After lunch, the students go to class 1:15 to 5:30 p.m. before dinner.
“After dinner, I either go to the gym or tune skis until around 7:30 p.m., which is when study hall is,” said Lake. “You have to be in your room for study hall. There's a lot of homework at CVA, so I normally spend the rest of my night doing homework. We get checked into our rooms at 10 p.m. and we can't leave our floors after that. I normally go to bed around 11:30 p.m. When you're a student at CVA, you miss a lot of school due to competitions so you complete a lot of assignments and school on the road without being in a classroom. It’s a rigorous schedule that teaches a lot about time management and how to handle a heavy academic and athletic workload.”
While the brothers ski for teams roughly 100 miles apart, off the mountain, they could not be closer.
The duo share their own lobster boat and are student-licensed lobster fishermen, who are completing the necessary requirements to become commercial lobster fishermen after high school.
Jett said he first got the opportunity to go out with a commercial fisherman as the third man on the boat “when I was 11 or 12” and enjoyed it so much, “The next summer I got myself a smaller lobster boat and went out with my dad accompanying me.”
Later that summer Lake expressed interest and joined Jett aboard the Jett Set and the two began fishing themselves.
Tracey said the boys have fished through the summer and fall four years and “have earned respect from most of the Islesboro fishermen, which is quite a feat.”
“They are quite close,” said Tracey. “They have a good brotherly relationship and have a natural ability and love of skiing and being on the water. Their most frequent disagreement seems to be who's going to drive the boat to their first string of traps.”
Lake added “lobstering is a ton of fun for me” and "it doesn’t even feel like work.”
“Being a high schooler and running a lobster boat with my brother certainly creates people’s interest,” said Lake. “We’re asked a lot of questions, some of which we answer, and some we don’t. People are amazed when we pull up to the dock. Taking on such a venture as a high schooler has taught me what it's like to run a business in the real world. I love it.”
The boys enjoy “basically everything outside,” said Lake, including wake boarding, sailing and soccer. Lake also is a certified lifeguard and has participated in the annual Islesboro Crossing for Lifeflight — an event that has participants endure a three-mile swim across Penobscot Bay to Islesboro — on three occasions.
Tracey said, “I think Lake, and possibly Jett also, will continue organized skiing beyond their high school years."
-The entire article, along with photos and captions, can be found online at https://knox.villagesoup.com/p/jett-set-racing-down-mountains-snow-much-fun-for-lindelof-brothers/1887558