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Intense pre-race rituals in Ashland. Photos by Robin Cressy

Editor's Note: Shred Hood Correspondent Robin Cressy was on the scene for Day One of the Oregon Championship Races at Mt. Ashland, and he filed this report from his motel room after a super-busy day on the mountain.

Thursday:  "Boys GS, Girls Slalom".  Woke up early, jumped in the car around 7am to head up to the mountain for Day 1 of the championship races.  It was gloomy, foggy, raining a bit in town.  I fully expected an umbrella type of day on the hill, but I was pleasantly surprised once I got to the parking lot to see a few blue sky spots poking thru the clouds. An hour later we had ourselves a blue-bird day. 

The lodge was jam-packed wall-to-wall with high school racers, coaches, parents.  One chair ride got you to the top of the girls slalom on Winter.  A second chair ride got you to the top of the boys GS on Tempest.  Amazing views from the top in every direction. Mild temps made for some somewhat slushy conditions on the boys GS.  The officials decided to toss some salt on the course to keep it firm. Not sure if the salt worked as there were a few holes in the course after about a dozen racers.  Course workers did their best to keep the damage to a minimum, but lower seed racers had to deal with some pretty chattery turns in a few spots.  There were some good crashes, binding pre-releases and the like. 

For the 2nd run, I headed over to the girls slalom on Winter.  Their run was more in the shade, so the snow was more on the firm side of the spectrum.  It was a relaxed atmosphere at the top of the girls course.  Girls were tanning, singing, relaxing, putting a final buff on their skis. One female racer from Southridge was asked to the prom from a teammate as she finished her first run. (see pic)   Heard she said "yes"! 

I asked kids all day long what they thought of Mt Ashland.  Nothing but love!  They loved the scenery, the race venue, the weather.  Some compared the GS hill on Tempest to the Upper Reynolds run at Mt Hood Ski Bowl, only longer. It flattens a bit at the bottom of the course, but there aren't really times to relax and get in a tuck.  It's a non-stop workout until you get thru the finish line. 

The slalom hill is pretty steep too.  It was compared to "Stadium" over at Mt Hood Meadows, except no real flat sections.

Stellar runs were put in by Sami Woodring of OES, Nicole Danilevsky of Lake Oswego, Montana Kurahara from Hood River, Connor Splitstoser of West Linn, Will Johnson of Lakeridge and other top Mt. Hood racers.

After the race, some parents from Metro League were tailgating in the parking lot, bbq'ing hot dogs and listening to 70's and 80's music on a homemade Mp3 speaker system.  Think "Commodores", "Foreigner" and "Sister Sledge". 

I shot a ton of video today, and I'm looking forward to putting something together worth watching with all that footage, after it's all over. 

Here are some race results, with the top 25 for girls slalom and boys giant slalom. You can find full results at http://www.oisra.org/Alpine/StateRace.html




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

Here is a self-produced documentary he made of the last time state championships were held in Ashland. In case you're wondering what a Penguin Finish looks like, you can see it at 7:20: