St. Mary's Academy photo
The St. Mary's Academy alpine ski team.
St. Mary's Academy photo
The St. Mary's Academy alpine ski team.
Coming off a successful 2011-'12 season, St. Mary’s Academy’s alpine ski team is positioned to show well on the mountain again this winter. The Blues’ roster boasts strong returning skiers, as well as promising new additions.

Competition kicks off Jan. 5 with the Christine Cato Memorial Race at Timberline Lodge, but the team is already deep in training.

Last season, St. Mary’s alpine skiers placed second in the Mount Hood Conference. They went on to qualify for state in freestyle, slalom and giant slalom, placing second, ninth and 10th, respectively.

After graduating four skiers last year, returning seniors Jenny Blackerby, Madison Parsons, Rory Reichelt and Elizabeth Shaw have emerged as leaders this season.
Returning sophomore Sarah Reimann and new recruits Kristine Giltvedt, Katy Blackerby, Leah Krenek and Carly Savoy round out the roster.

Alpine ski racing is a tough sport to learn, says head coach Ryan Rooper, currently in his fifth year with St. Mary’s. The combination of skiing, timing and willingness to commit to the fast-paced courses is challenging to master, but the Blues have risen to the occasion.  

“This year’s team is excited about racing. They have some tough shoes to fill from last year, but the girls are up to the challenge. After only one snow day of training, the seniors were asking for time to run through the poles,” said Rooper, who’s joined at the helm this year by two new assistant coaches — Steve Claussen and Kimi Daniel.

Alpine ski racing is a unique sport in that individual times are combined into a team score, and each individual gets two runs each day. The three fastest times in the first run are added to the three fastest times in the second run to generate the team score for the day. This gives every racer the opportunity to contribute to the team.

As much time, energy and effort as the student athletes put into their sport, the parents are huge supporters, as well. Parents are responsible for driving the racers up and down the mountain each weekend, and they also have duties on race days such as gate keeping, timing and course maintenance.

“When people ask me how many girls we have on the team, I tell them this year is nine girls and 18 parents,” Rooper said.

St. Mary's Academy alpine ski schedule
Jan. 5 — Cato Race Timberline Slalom
Jan. 12 — Ski Bowl West GS Reynolds / West Wall
Jan. 19 — Meadows Slalom Stadium Lift
Feb. 2 — Ski Bowl West GS Reynolds Run /West Wall
Feb. 9 — Meadows SL Stadium Lift
Feb. 16 — Meadows GS Stadium Lift
Feb. 23 — Ski Bowl East SL Cascade Lift
March 6-8 — State Championships at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl