When Benjamin Alexander clicked into a pair of skis at the age of 32 he didn’t picture himself skiing in the Olympics years later. But he was hooked after the first lesson, and five years later he’s dedicated his whole life to the sport. Now he’s hoping to become Jamaica’s first-ever Olympic alpine skier. Unlike most Olympic hopefuls—who have been on skis since they were toddlers—Alexander didn’t grow up close to a ski hill. Instead, music was his passion, leading to a successful career as an international DJ.
Towards the end of his DJ career, Alexander was invited to perform at Whistler, which exposed him to his first taste of skiing. However, his Olympic dream didn't come to life until 2018, which was the year he attended the Winter Olympic Games in Korea. As a Caribbean man, he found Jamaica's lack of representation to be startling. At that time Alexander was already planning to retire from DJ-ing, and setting his sights on the Olympics seemed like the perfect challenge for his next chapter in life. Alexander also drew inspiration from the beloved Cool Runnings film, which he loved watching as a kid. Shortly after, he filled out the paperwork to get a FIS race license and started competing. Over the course of six races, Alexander has lowered his FIS points from 1,000 to 560. It’s a promising start, but he still needs to get that number to 160 in order to qualify for Beijing 2022.
Alexander remains hopeful and determined to succeed. Last October, he relocated to Jackson, Wyoming to train full time. As for most athletes right now, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a few unforeseen setbacks since ski resorts across the country closed on March 14, however, Alexander didn’t let it stop him. Instead, he earned his turns in the backcountry, ultimately skinning 290,000 feet this spring; that’s the equivalent of ten Mount Everest ascents.
To hear more about Alexander’s journey and his thought on how to make skiing more inviting and welcoming for BIPOC, check out his awesome Q&A with Powder Magazine.
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