William Dexter estimates he has missed 40 days of school this school year. Usually that’s a recipe for flunking out.
But Dexter, who has a 3.9 GPA, will graduate from East Valley High School with his senior class June 10. Those absences were because Dexter and his Mt. Spokane Ski Race Team teammates would climb into the team van in the frigid morning darkness so they could be on a ski lift heading to the top of Mount Spokane as early at 6:30 a.m., suited up for speed training as the sun was just peeking over the horizon.
Other absences can be attributed to traveling with his team to races across Canada and the Western states. In the summer, he travels to Mount Hood in Oregon for summer skiing camps. In his junior year, he started competing in Federation Internationale de Ski races, competing in the Super G, giant slalom and downhill events against top skiers in North America. He has yet to win a Federation race because of stiff competition.
But that isn’t stopping him from putting college on hold for at least a year, maybe two, to pursuing ski racing full time. He will lift weights and work during the summer and fall, then hit the racing circuit as hard as he can. If he can shave critical seconds off his race time, he may reach his dream to get the attention of a top coach and have a chance to compete for a national team position.
When skiing interferes with school, he must make up his assignments to maintain his GPA.
Dexter has always sought out thrills. When he was 2 years old, he leaped off the family’s deck thinking he was Buzz Lightyear and broke his leg. At age 3, he tried skiing. He would challenge his friends to race down local ski hills.
He played competitive soccer until he was 13. He said getting on a good team started to feel too political. Not one to be idle, he jumped into ski racing. “I fell in love from day one,” he said. “It’s like a license to go as fast as you want. It’s unreal. It’s wicked.”
Dexter likes the small town feel of East Valley High School, which sits in a semirural corner of Spokane Valley. “Ten or 15 minutes and you can be anywhere in the Valley. Twenty minutes and I can be downtown. It’s one of the things I like about it,” he says.
Dexter grew up in the East Valley School District as the youngest child behind two sisters who are 10 and 12 years older. His father is a piano tuner and technician, his mother a psychiatrist.
In the classroom, Dexter enjoys reading and literature and would like to major in English when he gets to college.
“I’m a total geek about language,” he said. He also enjoyed his government and history classes and sings in the chamber and concert choirs at East Valley.
But for now, he’s all in on ski racing. “I’m going to stick with it as long as I can.”
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