PITTSFIELD -- It would not be fair to call what Trent Pfeiffer is doing to his Berkshire County Alpine skiing competitors a surprise.
He was an All-Eagle pick as a sophomore, and had one win and four top-three finishes a year ago. Now, the Monument Mountain junior has gone 5 for 5 in the first five races of the season.
"Definitely, I hoped" he could do that, Pfeiffer said after a recent race at Bousquet Ski Area. "I didn't have any expectations. I just want to do my best. So far, it's turned out to be a really good season."
The Richmond resident has said he prefers the slalom to the giant slalom, but the results didn't show much difference. He swept all three of those races and after winning the first two slaloms, could be considered one of the better candidates in Western Massachusetts to reach a podium at the MIAA state championships at Wachusett Mountain.
He has not only caught the eyes of his rivals, but also everyone else.
"It's definitely someone to look to if you want to improve your skiing," said Emily Martin, one of Pfeiffer's Monument teammates. "Right now, he's the fastest on the hill."
Pfeiffer has been skiing since he was two years old, and began racing at seven. He came up through the Interclub circuit in Berkshire County. He started in race development at Butternut Basin Ski Area in Great Barrington. He joined the Bousquet race team for Interclub and Tri-State, before switching to Jiminy Peak for a couple of years. He's been back at Bousquet for two years.
"It was one of the first sports I started doing," he said of ski racing. "I loved it. My friends started doing it with me, some of my best friends. It's something I've stuck to my whole career. I'm really passionate about it."
Pfeiffer is a multi-sport athlete at Monument, as he plays soccer in the fall. But the mindset is totally different. He said in those team sports, if you make a mistake, someone can be there to back you up. In skiing, if a racer makes a mistake, he can be finished for the day. That can steel a racer for success or failure.
"It's happened so many times. Falling is part of the sport," he said. "I try not to get down on myself and come back the next run and do a little better. Personally, I prefer to try hard and fall."
Monument coach Pete Dunham said he's not surprised by the success Pfeiffer had last year and this year.
"To be honest, no," said Dunham. "Trent has probably worked the hardest to get consistent. He was really fast, but he would fall a lot. Now, we work on getting his feet under him. He has the confidence to really go for it."
Dunham, who is involved in the youth racing circuit, said he saw Pfeiffer as a younger skier. Dunham said he saw the potential while Pfeiffer was in Tri-State. Some skiers just need time on the hill to gain the confidence that Pfeiffer is skiing with right now.
"Now I have the confidence every time that he's going to finish," said the Monument coach. "I think now we're looking at, can he win states? I think he can. I really honestly think he can go to states and be right in the top three if not take the victory."
Pfeiffer is the bar by which everyone else is competing right now. Even Martin notices and wants to challenge him.
"I told him a couple of times I want to try to beat him," she said with a laugh. "He says I never will, but I'm going to keep trying."
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