Luke Allen missed final exams Friday, March 30, to pursue his passion and compete in an alpine event at Mammoth Mountain.
The South Tahoe junior is on the road a bunch during ski season. He competes for the Vikings alpine team and he's also a member of the Diamond Peak Ski Team and trains on the North Shore five days per week. He competes in International Ski Federation (FIS) events and goes against the best skiers in the western United States and sometimes Team USA.
He loves to ski — anything else he does during the offseason fills time until the snow returns.
"Skiing is my passion," Allen said. "I love getting out there and feeling the arc of the turn."
Allen often misses school during the ski season and has to make up schoolwork. That's something he says is no problem, it just has to get done.
"He's often gone for days at a time," said South Tahoe alpine head coach Barbra Bedwell. "But he's an excellent student and displays a lot of maturity and self-motivation when getting work done."
That makes him the perfect recipient to earn the Tahoe Daily Tribune's Student Athlete of the Month honors for February.
Allen competed in four high school races this season and steadily improved his results heading into the state championships. He consistently finished on the podium, a change from his freshman and sophomore seasons.
"I had a good junior year," Allen said. "I didn't race as much in high school, I competed in a bunch of FIS events, but this year I was constantly on the podium which is better than the last couple of years."
Allen earned third place in a slalom race in late January at Heavenly Mountain Resort and two weeks later returned to Heavenly and grabbed first place.
In taking first, Allen also beat his best friends and rivals Payton Norton, of Whittell, and Sean Dunkleman, of Douglas.
"Luke's been racing against the league's No. 1 and No. 2 (Payton Norton and Sean Dunkelman, respectively) since they were all kids," Bedwell said. "Both Payton and Sean graduate this year, so Luke is looking forward to stepping up on the podium. He's such a low-key guy, you'd never know how much he wants to win. His technique as a skier is definitely on a different level from most other athletes in our high school league."
Allen credits his growth as a skier to "great coaching and training from the coaches at Diamond Peak."
This spring, Allen is on the swim team, although he's not yet a full-time member until his ski season ends in early May.
During the summer Allen likes to paddleboard and entered a couple of races last year. One race was from the south to north shore, a 22-mile relay that he completed with his father and younger brother.
Allen's freshman brother, Mark, is hot on his older brother's heels, but Luke's not about to let him chase him down.
"He's chasing me, but I'll put him in his place every now and then," Allen laughed. "But Mark is super crazy, he's fast and likes to head straight down the hill."
Allen would like skiing to help earn him a scholarship in college, but either way, the slopes are in his blood and he's going to keep skiing.
Bedwell is looking forward to Allen's senior season. She's going to miss the female student athlete of the month and Allen's teammate, Lyndsey Allen, but she's excited for next year.
"When I think of these two racers, I always think 'classy,'" Bedwell said. "They're excellent athletes, but they are also top-notch students, incredible friends, and the epitome of sportsmanship. I'll really miss Lyndsey next year, but it's going to be fun to watch Luke take over."