Past Oregon champ Tucker Scroggins. Photo by Mike Juliana

Oregon high school ski racers and their families and coaches can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that state and league racing officials have scrambled to find a solution to a vexing insurance issue that threatened the continuation of a 58-year Oregon tradition.

With two lawsuits expected to result in payouts, the insurance company that had served the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association originally declined to cover the current racing season. OISRA officials and league volunteers throughout the state managed to resolve the situation just in time for racers and their families to get ready for winter. 

"With the help of many OISRA volunteers, our insurance problems are being resolved and we expect to have our skiers back on the slopes for another season," OISRA Executive Director Dave Munson said in late October. "It's a great example of the ski community coming together to make something happen."

In response to the insurance challenge, each of the seven leagues that make up OISRA pursued and obtained their own individual insurance policies. As of November 12, all three Mount Hood-based Oregon racing leagues—Metro, Three Rivers and Mt. Hood—have secured insurance and are ready for a season of competing at Skibowl, Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline. The season-opening, just-for-fun Kelsey's Race is scheduled for January 4, 2020 at Mt. Hood Meadows.

OISRA has been providing high school skiers with ski-racing and team-building opportunities for 58 years. More than 800 high school students from over 50 schools participated in Alpine and Nordic races last season. This photo from Kelsey's Race 2019 on Mount Hood gives a sense of the good times associated with the Oregon high school racing tradition.

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However, skiing is inherently risky, and insurance can be one of the most challenging aspects of ski racing, freestyle competitions, and the ski industry as a whole. in addition, the OISRA solution was less than ideal because it required each ski racing league to obtain its own insurance. But it has been sufficient to salvage the season, so in that sense it counts as a triumph.

Congratulations to Munson and his OISRA colleagues and supporters, along with the many volunteers who support Oregon's seven ski racing leagues, for figuring out a tough situation and rescuing a great tradition. Here's to an excellent 2019-20 for Oregon high school ski racers!