Pictured above at the 2020 Oregon State Championships: Corin Hartnell of Tigard, Grace Armstrong of OES, and Sarah Gentry of Tigard – Photos by Robin Cressy
Hundreds of young ski racers and their families and coaches from across Oregon descended on beautiful Mt. Ashland last week for a wild week of competition, crashes, and camaraderie.
Qualifying high school racers from Sisters to Tualatin to Medford gathered for a challenging set of slalom and giant races down Mount Ashland’s steep terrain on Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6.
Racers were treated to sunshine and stellar views on Thursday, but the fog rolled in Friday afternoon and created some difficult whiteout conditions for racers with higher bib numbers.
For the most part, the prevailing vibe was largely positive, with plenty of laughter and smiles to go around.
However, there was also some shared frustration at the high difficulty level of the courses set for the racers.
On Day One nearly half or 46 percent of male racers either did not finish or were disqualified. On Day Two a large log near the third gate of the mens’ GS race created problems for racers and added to the delays. The delays were extensive enough to force lower-seeded athletes with high bib numbers to race in near-whiteout conditions.
Some of the top racers in the state crashed out of the course or had to hike back up the mountain to reach gates they had missed. Even Cailin Gahan of Wilsonville High, who won the womens’ giant slalom race on Thursday, was unable to finish Friday after this crash in the slalom course:
In spite of the difficulty of the courses, plenty of racers did manage to finish, and the teams with the most talented skiers rose to the top. Portland’s Lincoln High team won the overall combined title behind outstanding performances by Timur Klebeev, Maris Toalson, Casey Pickett, Alexa Fuhrer, Abraham Barrow, Brooke Griswold and Jake Potter. Lincoln’s stellar team was followed in the overall standings by the racers of Lakeridge, Summit, Jesuit and OES.
Individual winners included Klebeev in mens’ slalom, Alex Ugas of OES (pictured above) in mens’ giant slalom, Gahan in womens’ giant slalom, and Kiera Bertell of Wilsonville in womens’ slalom.
Pictured above are individual state champs Timur Klebleev of Lincoln, and Kiera Bertell of Wilsonville, with team champ Sanne Murphy from Lincoln.
For full results check the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association’s 2020 state championships results page.
However, it is important to emphasize that the number one priority of ski racing in Oregon is not individual or team results, but camaraderie and fun. This 20-minute video from Robin Cressy captures the community side of ski racing, and the lively moments that unfold when you bring together hundreds of young ski racers for a few days and set them loose in Ashland, Oregon.
Big thanks to Robin Cressy for the images and video accompanying this story. Text by Shred Hood editor Ben Jacklet.
Last modified: March 14, 2020