By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
March 29, 2006
Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort literally swarmed over the weekend with the fastest young rippers in the country.
In their slick, brightly colored race suits and fancy plastic armor resembling that of an armadillo, racers tore around the mountain like they had been skiing the same slopes for 20 years.
But, despite skiing faster than most locals watching course side and from the chair lifts, the J3 Junior Olympic racers were only 13 and 14 years old. The competition brought the top young racers from the Western Region, which includes teams from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, California and Nevada.
And racing in the group of 100 boys was Hood River’s own and Meadows Race Team member Isaac Bubb.
The three-day competition consisted of three races, with two heats per race. Friday’s Super-G course was massive and world-class, winding its way almost the entire length of the Blue face. Saturday the boys raced giant slalom and the girls slalom and on Sunday the groups switched, with the boys taking two slalom runs each down the Stadium run.
Bubb went on to complete all of his runs, without crashing. On Friday he climbed the ranks from a 24th seed to finish 17th out of 100 in the Super G. His highest finish of the weekend was on Saturday, when, with a fastest time of 53.63 seconds, he matched his seed and came in seventh overall. On Sunday Bubb was seeded 70th in the slalom, which was also his starting order. He blew that seed away and ended the day in 15th overall.
“The race went pretty good for me,” said the Hood River Valley High School freshman. “It feels good that I can compete with such good racers. I just try to concentrate on what the course is like and how to ski my best ... Thanks to my mom and dad for getting me into racing at such a young age.”
“Isaac did great,” said Meadows Race Team coach Curtis Shuck. “He skied really well and the team is proud of him. He made a tremendous move up on Sunday.”
The J3 Junior Olympics brought about 200 racers and about 400 parents, coaches and volunteers to the mountain, and to Hood River for the weekend.
“First of all,” Schuck said, “I think the event was a great success and we have to give a huge thank you to all of the volunteers and coaches for their hard work, and to Mt. Hood Meadows for their wonderful partnership with the Meadows Race Team … We also don’t want to underestimate the economic impact an event like this had on the city of Hood River. I understand it was hard to find a hotel room in town this weekend … It was nice to reaffirm our organization and the mountain can host an event of this size and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future.”
Next up for Bubb this month is perhaps the biggest race of the winter, the J3 Finals, at Washington’s Stevens Pass. After he finishes the racing season, and school in June, Bubb says he will ski this summer and attend camps at Timberline Ski Area.