Boys Ski Team Advances to the State Slopes


Ashley Hawkins

La Salle’s boys ski team will be competing at state on Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3.

Hannah Whiteside, Staff Reporter

For the first time in La Salle’s history, the boys ski team qualified to compete in the High School State Race Championships. After school on Tuesday, Feb. 28 the team headed down to Sisters for the competition and will be competing on Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3.

The team consists of five members: seniors Stefano Au and Elias Kean, junior Ryder McCoy-Hansen, and freshmen Liam Kean and Henry Perrin. 

Although members from the boys ski team have gone to state individually in the past, this is the first time the team has qualified as a whole.

Team captain Elias Kean expressed how appreciative of the team he was. “This is the first time the La Salle boys ski team has ever gone to state, and all the effort that took because every person had to chip in at some point over the season,” he said.

However, there are some concerns the team has going into state — one being their size. Bigger schools like Lincoln High School and Lake Oswego High School have about forty members on their teams, and although schools can only bring six members to state, they have a wider variety of skiers to choose from.

Competing at Hoodoo, in Sisters, Oregon, is another concern for Au because although La Salle’s boys ski team has competed there before and has some experience with the area, other teams’ central training spot is at Hoodoo, giving them an advantage.

Despite this, all the members of the La Salle’s boys ski team were eager about the opportunity to compete at state this year.

“I’m excited about going to state,” Au said. “I’ve always looked forward to it; I’ve never been able to go there and train.” 

Although Au has been skiing for thirteen years and now has raced for four, his freshman year was his first year racing. 

Au joined La Salle’s boys ski team because “I was very intrigued by the program,” he said. “I love skiing, it’s one of my favorite hobbies and activities to do, and I found out La Salle had a ski team when I was trying to look at high schools.” 

Going into state, Au felt optimistic about the team’s chances. “The league that we are in is one of the toughest leagues in the state because we have Lake Oswego, Lakeridge, and Lincoln, the teams that have a lot of people and a lot more coaching and also with club backgrounds,” Au said. “So we’re very grateful to be able to qualify for state, but I feel pretty confident with our team because our top three individuals always have finished well, [and] always have placed well.”

Same as Au, Perrin grew up skiing but didn’t start racing until coming to La Salle. “I didn’t really have a winter sport, so I thought [the ski team] could be a good opportunity to try something new,” he said. 

Perrin is a three-sport athlete at La Salle; in the fall he played football, he is now finishing up skiing for the winter season and will play tennis in the spring. 

Almost concluding the winter season, Perrin is “a little nervous,” he said. “It’s state and it’s my first year ski racing, but I feel it should be fun and hopefully go well.”

He also mentioned that this being his first year of racing, the hardest thing for him to learn was slalom because of the technique needed to do it well. “At the beginning of the year, I preferred giant slalom, but slalom kind of grew on me as I got better at it,” Perrin said.

Perrin isn’t the only one that favors slalom over giant slalom; McCoy-Hansen mentioned that the “team prefers slalom by a big margin, we’re kind of really, really good at slalom.”

Unlike Au, McCoy-Hansen was unaware of the ski team when he first came to La Salle and joined last year. “I like skiing, it’s really fun, also I had raced before, and I liked racing,” he said. “Plus, I was up at the mountain pretty much every weekend with my family anyways, so it seemed kind of obvious to join [La Salle’s] ski team.”

McCoy-Hansen mentioned that the team’s goal for the season was to make it to state; now that they have, “I think our goal is to get top five as a team, maybe top three,” he said. “I think top three is doable. We’re actually pretty good, which is surprising considering we only have five people.”

The only thing McCoy-Hansen was mildly concerned about was crashing, but overall was not really worried. “There isn’t a lot of expectation on our team, it’s more we’re gonna go out there and see what we can do,” he said. 

Sharing the same concern of crashing is Liam Kean. He mentioned that the most challenging aspect of skiing personally was, “overcoming the fear of crashing,” he said. “Just pushing myself and not letting the fear of crashing overcome me [and] pushing through that.” 

Despite that worry, Liam Kean highlighted the adrenaline rush he feels while skiing as being the best part of the sport. “The ability to do every little movement, every little small action while you’re skiing, changes your outcome,” he said. “It’s so detail oriented.”

Liam Kean was most proud of the team because of how much everyone encouraged one another. “About half of the team is very, very new to skiing and new to racing, so I think as a team we’re very good at keeping each other afloat and supporting each other,” Liam Kean said.

His biggest goal for the season, and now state, was to beat his brother, and team captain, Elias Kean. “I almost beat him, and we’ll see about state, but I think he’s still probably going to beat me,” Liam Kean said.

Going into state, Elias Kean was worried most about the pressure. “It’s state, it’s senior season, I feel like there’s kind of an expectation for me to do well, so there’s a little bit of stress, along with my own standards for how I think I should do,” he said. 

With this being his final season at La Salle, Elias Kean explained that he was excited about “going to state, bringing the team, [and] doing something that hasn’t been done before,” he said. “I’m really proud of the team.”