ASHLAND, Ore. – Last week’s Amateur Athlete of the Week highlighted the story of Alex Frol, a skier that trains with the Medford Ski Education Foundation (MSEF). The MSEF combines high school skiers from all over the region to train together during the season. Several of these skiers will compete at Mt. Hood for the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association state championships in early March.
The team reflected on what it’s like to train with your opponents and what makes skiing so special.
“When you’re skiing, it’s just a way to get out and have fun and challenge yourself,” South Medford freshman Maddy Eaton said. “I like it because it’s different.”
“You’re with your best friends,” Crater’s Kailey Flockoi said. “All of the girls on the ski team are probably my best friends.”
“Getting all the teams together puts us all into one area,” Medford Ski Education Foundation head coach Gary King said. “We can concentrate on the same things while we’re here.”
“I think that skiing with the older girls gives us a good challenge, and it’s good comparing ourselves to them because we want to work up to being like them,” St. Mary’s freshman Maddie Hunkele said.
“When I’m on the course, I really don’t think about much. I zone out, and I tend to at the bottom of the course get kind of excited,” Flockoi said.
“Sometimes I forget to think,” Ashland senior Megan Ganim said. “On occasion you’re not thinking anything and you’re just like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m in a course going 50 mph down the hill. I should probably be using my brain.”
“When it’s coming together it’s really cool,” South Medford senior Austin Morgan said “You’re going down the course. You get in a rhthym, and it’s kind of amazing. You feel powerful and you feell fast. It’s nice.”
“The individuals are already some of the most outstanding kids you’d ever meet because this is a different sport,” King said. “A lot of it is intrinsic motivation rather than getting motivation or glory from their peers. They don’t have a stadium full of people watching them or cheering for them. They have each other and themselves that they can compete against.”
“We kind of create a family when we’re up here because we’re all so close,” Eaton and Hunkele said. “The whole winter we spend all together, every single person here. So you get to know a lot of the people and everything about them.”
“You’re up on this mountain and you have the prettiest view ever,” Flockoi said. “This is not just a sport, but you’re also having fun.”
“It’s just such a good sport,” Hunkele said. “I just love it.”