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Oregon alpine skiing’s Jake Railton talks weekend race and qualifying for Nationals

This past weekend was a good one for the Oregon ski club, as club co-captain Jake Railton was able to find success during the races at the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area in Boise, Idaho. Railton was able to score enough points to both qualify for nationals and be named the USCSA’s Northwest Men’s Alpine Division’s Skier of the Year.

It seems like snow is just a real issue for this club.

I think it’s worse than last year. We have gotten two races canceled this year and we haven’t trained at all. It is hard to jump in like that. All the other teams have been training, so it’s hard for our team to get better and be competitive without it.

That’s got to be tough.

It is, but there is nothing you can do about it. Ski racing is always going to be dependent on the weather; it plays a huge role in preparation, race day, results — everything. Not much we can do about it, except every time you step onto a course ski as hard as you can and hope for the best.

What type of racing was it?

The discipline was giant slalom, which is my favorite event. It is just a little bit faster than slalom.

So you achieved what you wanted out of the weekend?

Yes. Before this race I was second in the points standings, so I pretty much came into this weekend knowing I would need to get into the top spot if I wanted to go to nationals, which are in Bend this year. So I couldn’t be happier with how I skied. I won the USCSA Northwest Alpine division points standings.

How did the team do this weekend?

We got last in points, but we are definitely the best team. We’ve got a great reputation and everyone wants to be like us. It’s a lot of fun.

Must be nice for you, having individual success but also having this great group of people to ski with.

Totally, it’s a really great team. Some kids are good and love ski racing and they get fast results, but they don’t get to go back to the cabin and have such a fun group of kids to be around.

Do you have personal goals for Nationals?

When the season started and I heard they were in Bend, I was like ‘that would be really cool, to be able to have home court advantage.’ For my friends it would be easy for them to see me compete on the highest stage that I can right now. I’m just proud to be there. There are some really talented European and American dudes in the field, but I don’t have high expectations, except I would be disappointed if I felt like I left something on the hill. I have been lucky finishing every race this season — I don’t usually do that. I just want to finish fast.

There is nothing holding you back.

It pushes me. Because when I have a good race, my team is stoked. They are a big part of it. It is an individual sport, but we do everything as a team. They are the real MVPs.

Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur

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