Oregon High School Ski Racing 

in a Nutshell

Alpine skiing is fun.  Competing in slalom and giant slalom races as a group of high school friends adds to the fun.  The Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association (OISRA) organizes slalom and giant slalom races on six or seven Saturdays in January and February.  There are several leagues across the state, of which the Mt. Hood league is one, with others spanning the state from Blue Mountain league in eastern Oregon, to Three Rivers and Metro leagues to the south and west of Portland, to the Southern Oregon league down around Mt. Ashland.


Varsity and junior varsity, boys and girls teams compete in separate races (but on the same course) at the ski areas on Mt. Hood.  There are points/categories for individuals and teams that accrue over the season.  Top scoring teams and individuals are invited to a State Championship race in the first weekend in March. 

Ski racing is a challenge.  Standing in the starting gate and looking down at a twisting racecourse takes courage and confidence. Slalom courses require tight, explosive turns where the gates are knocked out of the way by the racer.  Giant slalom courses are longer and involve rounder, smoother turns and overall faster speeds.  Our goal as a high school racing teams is to prepare our athletes to meet this challenge, and help them experience improvement as the season(s) progress.


Before the snow falls, dry-land training begins for the various teams in November.  Some teams keep it up all season while others cease dry-land once the on snow skiing starts.  Dry-land workouts begin the process of team building and body building.  They consist of games, exercises, and drills that teach coordination and strength.  As soon as the snow flies (hopefully early December), teams switch to on-hill training that often includes one or two weekday (after school) outings and occasionally some Sunday and/or holiday sessions. 

Ski training is fun.  Naturally, Mt. Hood League racers practice running slalom and giant slalom gates; but as part of the process they also learn many aspects of good skiing including balance, air, carving, and of course, speed.  They also do a lot of free skiing because it’s fun and because it’s a good place to learn technique.  Besides, Mt. Hood gets all that powder that can’t go to waste.


Mt. Hood League coaches embody a well-rounded approach that emphasizes equal shares of hard work, horseplay, skill building, relationship development, teamwork, and racing knowledge.  Some of the coaches have racing backgrounds and some even currently race.  All coaches have formal training in the fundamentals of high school coaching as well as first aid training.  One thing is for certain, Mt. Hood League coaches follow a written Code of Ethics that generally follows the credo: For the good of the racer.  You can bet that every racer on the team gets positive attention from the coaches – from the beginners to the accomplished racers.

Where does high school ski racing fit in the racing hierarchy? 

Visualize preparing racers for the World Cup.  That's not us...not even close.  In fact, we’re on the other end of the spectrum – we help young racers improve and we help good racers get better.   We often guide novice or intermediate skiers onto the path of racing.  We help all of our skiers fall in love with skiing, racing, and freestyle. 

There are several venues in America for ski racing and freestyle.  The top of the pile is the USSA (racing) and USASA (Freestyle).  Under the USSA, is the Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA), that host racing programs that lead to the higher levels of competition and racer development. 

Some of our high school racers and freestyle skiers compete at PNSA and USASA levels, but most do not. 

We like our competitive level just where it is, and w also like that some racers can choose to take it to a higher level if they so desire.