Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 5:26 PM on Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Andre Lovett: fast skier, thoughtful teammate

Mariner Profile

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer

Andre Lovett is going places, fast.

The Homer High School junior has skiing in his blood, and he's making the most of his genetic gifts.


Photo by Lindsay Johnson, Homer News

"I like the whole essence of skiing," Andre Lovett said.

Lovett's been downhill skiing since he was 2-and-a-half years old.

"His grandfather was a ski instructor, and skiing is very big in this family," Catrin Lovett, Andre's mother (and the ski instructor's daughter), said.

The family used to spend winters in a home next to Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage, where they would go almost every day.

Lovett likes going fast downhill but also enjoys the serene moments in the snow and the workout offered by Nordic skiing, which he tried for the first time in fourth grade.

"I remember it pretty distinctly the first time we cross-country skied with them," said Leslie Klaar, a family friend who set Andre up with some of her kids' gear and took the group to the Sunset loop trail.

"We right away could tell that he really wanted to learn. He was really motivated and you could see his work ethic already," she said.

Lovett skied with West Homer Elementary School and on into middle school.

"I really liked it. In elementary school it was about having fun in the snow. In middle school it got a little more competitive," he said.

He remembers wanting to be in the fastest of the three groups the middle school team was divided into.

"I would ski my hardest and hardest," he said, and by the end of seventh grade he had made it to the top group.

Klaar said Lovett's strong work ethic helped him progress rapidly.

"You can see it, that dedication to learn and be better at it. It was very obvious at a young age. He just improved really quickly. Even from the first hour to the second hour it was noticeable," she said.

Watching Lovett race a few years after he learned to cross country ski, Klaar remembers saying to her husband, "Wow, he's really going to apply himself and do this."

Lovett's high school coach, Jan Spurkland, said the junior's dedication to improvement is evident, and is paying off.

"He's working consistently hard. It's pretty easy to be focused at one time and it takes a little more to maintain that focus over the whole ski season," Spurkland said, adding that Lovett trained during the off-season, too.

"Andre has ... taken upon himself to succeed at the next level. He's just going to keep on going," Spurkland said.

Lovett is known as a focused, mature racer, regardless of gear type or snow conditions.

Lovett credits the strong support of his parents, coaches, other mentors and peers with helping him get to where he is now.

He said when he was in middle school, skiing with the high school team really inspired him to keep at it. Now he's setting the example for other youth skiers, including his sister, Tisha, who is an eighth grader on the Husky ski team.

He also encourages his high school teammates.

"I think Andre has been a big part in me wanting to ski 'cause he always is nice and cheers everyone on and helps us get better," said Kyle Wentz, another junior on the Mariner ski team.

"When we're skiing if he sees something we can improve upon he tells us. It's almost like having another coach," Wentz said.

Alaine Miller, also a ski team junior, said, "Not only is he a super good skier but he really cares about other people. That's one of the reasons he's a captain this year.He's always looking out for everyone else. He's really considerate. He just helps out wherever he's needed. He's responsible. If people need encouragement, he's there to give encouragement," Miller said.

Lovett leads with his speed, too.

"He is an amazing skier. He's fast, his technique is really good," Wentz said.

Lovett said there is no better way to get out and be active. Even though your whole body is tense, he said, "it's almost relaxing in a really weird way. You just focus on skiing."

"As far as things I like to do, skiing's probably the top of the list."