A thin start to the Mount Hood snow year could not prevent hundreds of Oregon ski racers and their families, coaches and supporters from pulling off another high-energy Kelsey Hewitt Memorial Ski Race January 4 at Mt. Hood Meadows.
The 2020 Kelsey’s Race was moved off of the Stadium trail due to lack of snow and then off of Shooting Star Ridge due to winds. Course workers finally managed to cobble together two fairly tight giant slalom courses on Easy River, and racers got one short run apiece before conditions deteriorated.
The challenging conditions did not deter the high school racers from enjoying a day of costume contests, cookies galore, free gear from sponsors, and plenty of joking around.
Some 480 racers from around Oregon signed up for the season-opening race, which is held for fun with results not counting toward individual or team standings for the competitive race season.
Kelsey’s Race, named for a talented Portland skier who died tragically young, serves as the annual season opener for Oregon’s high school ski racing season. The race is meant to be a fun event that celebrates the joy of skiing, offering racers of all levels the opportunity to compete, some for the first time in a race course. Many racers wear creative costumes while competing and cheering on their teammates, and the event’s ambience is one of festive celebration.
This year’s winners for Best Costume were the rad retro-dudes of Hood River Valley.
The fastest racers for the day were Campbell Brown of Lakeridge in the boys course and Cailan Gahan of Wilsonville in the girls course. Full results can be found here for the boys and here for the girls
Here is a shot of some of the fired-up top finishers for the boys race:
Results were announced during a lively post-race ceremony starring Randy and Elise Hewitt, with free gear from sponsors Poc helmets, Xevo Optics and Fuchsi Racing. The Hewitts honor their daughter’s legacy by volunteering huge amounts of time to build the sport of ski racing in Oregon. Randy Hewitt was honored as King Winter in 2019 for his many years of service to the sport.
Long-time Mt. Hood videographer Robin Cressy’s YouTube video gives you a good sense of the fun nature of this year’s Kelsey Race festivities.
The Oregon High School race season will run through January and February and into March, with state championships scheduled for March 4-6 at Mount Ashland.
Last modified: January 24, 2020