By Justin Gottschalk
FALLSBURG March 11, 2005 When Fallsburg Central School junior Bjorn Egenes heard the roar of the crowd while competing at the recent state skiing championships, he didnt realize that the raucous cheering was for him.
When I got to the bottom, the whole crowd got a little loud, Egenes said. I looked up, thinking someone fell or someone was coming down after me. I didnt realize until I walked over to the scoreboard and saw my name on top.
Of the ovation he received from the crowd of over 100 people assembled at Bristol Mountain, including his parents Catherine and Glenn, Bjorn puts a hand to his chest and says, You felt it.
But it almost didnt happen for Bjorn.
The two-day event, held on March 1 and 2, was composed of two events, Slalom and Giant Slalom. On the first day, Slalom events were held.
Egenes said that he started way back in slalom because I fell during sections. From this initial disadvantage, Egenes suffered a further setback when he failed to straddle a gate, and had to walk back uphill before finishing. He was given a re-run, which put him in fifth place overall, only to be told that his re-run would not count, and that he would have to count his first run instead.
After the first race, Egenes was near the bottom of the scoreboard, standing at 77th place overall.
Perfect, he thought. He then took a few moments to confer with Fallsburg Coach Janet Carey. After talking with Carey, Egenes stated, Im going to win tomorrow.
And win he did. Egenes posted a total score of 116.21, blowing away the competition in the Giant Slalom event and taking the overall championship in dramatic fashion. And that was without his Slalom re-run, which would have made his winning margin even greater.
Egenes is not done skiing this season, as he will compete in the upcoming Eastern Finals. That event, which is scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20 at Gunstock, New Hampshire, features scholastic state champions from the eastern part of the United States.
A lifelong skier, Egenes spends his summers in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, a skiing haven. Locally, he frequents Holiday Mountain with his parents, both of whom are skiers. In addition, Glenn Egenes was a ski jumper who competed in the Empire State Games.
Of Glenn, who is his father, mentor and coach, Bjorn said, He waxed my skis, so I have to give him credit for that.
Bjorn Egenes plans to ski competitively for the rest of his life, though perhaps not on the U.S. ski team, living off $10,000 a year. Collegiate skiing is a possibility, and with his resume, Egenes should be eligible for an athletic scholarship at one of the big skiing schools in the Northeast.
For now, though, the state champion remains endearingly unaffected.
Discussing all the attention he received from his classmates after winning, he said, it didnt really hit me yet.
That night, I got home, and I was like, yeah, I won, Egenes recalled. I dont know, its weird.
Weird? Maybe. But for his teachers, coaches, parents and friends, other adjectives tend to come to mind. Adjectives such as modest, determined, dauntless and bold.
One noun also describes Bjorn Egenes: champion.