Even Cooler Runnings
Jamaican GS Skier – Benjamin Alexander
Benjamin Alexander hopes to become Jamaica’s 1st Olympic Alpine Skier
Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme. Get on up, it’s Giant Slalom time! Jamaica has never had an alpine skier in the Olympics. But Benjamin Alexander is trying to change that as we head towards next winter in Beijing. The Snow Report got to sit down and chat with Benjamin about where he came from, how he got here, and what lies ahead on the road to the Olympics.
The Road Less Traveled
Son of his British mother and Jamaican father, Benjamin Alexander is not your traditional aspiring Olympian. That is not just because he’s trying to alpine ski for the Caribbean nation of Jamaica. It’s also because he’s 37-years-old, and had never skied until five years ago! In fact, Benjamin has quite the versatile resume. After University, Benjamin worked in finance in Asia. He then left that behind to become an international DJ for 10 years! One such DJ opportunity landed him in Whistler in 2015, and that would be the first time he strapped on skis. Needless to say, it was all downhill from there!
Benjamin has no formal coaching. Instead, he’s used buying beers for folks, the currency on any mountain, and trading stories from his life as a DJ to get tips from ex-racers and top skiers; challenging them and pestering them to let him follow and race around the mountain any chance he gets. The Olympic dream really became a reality for him in 2018 after attending the games as a spectator in South Korea. He was struck by how few Jamaicans were participating; only 3 athletes. That lit the spark for his own Olympic dream.
Fast forward to today, Benjamin is living and training in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He skied over 190 days last season without even venturing to the southern hemisphere. He has full support of the Jamaican Olympic Committee, and help from sponsors like Leki and Stio. The training is rigorous and he is racing every chance he gets to earn enough points to qualify for Beijing.
Bringing Home the Goal
Benjamin is well aware of the Cool Runnings comparisons he will no doubt be raising if he qualifies for the Olympics. He embraces that wholeheartedly. He acknowledges that if it wasn’t for the 1988 bobsled team and the 1993 movie, he would not be pursuing his own Olympic dream. They inspired him and that is exactly what he hopes to do for a new generation. He has no delusions of podium possibilities. He has regular chats with Dudley Stokes, one of the founding members of the Jamaica Bobsled Team, who told him, “It’s not the victory, but the struggle”. Benjamin’s goals reach beyond making the Olympics. He aims to show people that lofty goals are never out of reach. You’re never too old to dream big, and it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from. Benjamin works closely with a charity called “The National Brotherhood of Skiers“. Their mission is to promote not just African American participation and inclusion, but all ethnic minorities who should feel that winter and the mountains have a place for them.
His story is remarkable, his skiing a work-in-progress, but his message is golden and the true spirit of the Olympic Games. Best of luck on the road to Beijing, Benjamin. Everyone here at The Snow Report is rooting for you!