oregon-racers

High school racing in Oregon is all about the smiles.

Editor's Note: Winter’s turning to spring Pacific Northwest-style, and that means states. Every March the top high school ski racers in Oregon get together and rip the ruts to eternal glory. Usually this happens on Mount Hood, on Reynolds or Stadium or Gemini depending on snow elevations. This year they’re in Ashland, which is about three times as far away as would be convenient to those of us in Metro Portland. But Ashland is cool, and Mt. Ashland is wicked steep, so this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Shred Hood Correspondent Robin Cressy has traveled to 18 of the last 19 State races, so he knows the scene and the community. He'll be covering state championships this week in Ashland with video, words and photo, starting with some highly entertaining footage from the last time the state championships were held in Ashland, in 2007.

Robin's video captures the laid-back attitudes and super-intense efforts that makes high school ski racing such a blast. You've got kids chomping down Häagen-Dazs up by the starting gates, joking around on the hill and at the mosh-pit social, and then ripping it down the course with utter abandon—crashing in all sorts of ways: the Superman Crash, the Fence Explosion, and the Penguin Finish, just to name a few. The falls can get pretty spectacular when the ruts start cutting deep and you get a bunch of teenagers trying to ski as fast as humanly possible through the slush. One kid even sprints to the finish in his ski boots after a double ejection. Fortunately, they are young.

I think of Robin's ski racing videos as real-time documentaries that demonstrate the thrill of the race and the camaraderie of the community. They capture the essence of a strange tradition with a lot of energy to it, a lot of passion and humor.

By the way, if you're wondering what the heck a Penguin Finish looks like, it's at 7:20.

Robin Cressy is a ski coach, videographer and photographer who has been involved in Oregon racing year-round for a long time.