MEDFORD, Ore. – Kailey Flockoi and her coach gather over an iPhone, reviewing video from their championship race last week. The video shows the final runs of what will hopefully prove a once-in-a-lifetime season.
“I definitely had a different image of what this year was going to go down like,” said Flockoi.
Last week’s races on Mount Hood were among the only days on actual snow for the kids being served by the foundation.
The majority of their time was spent on flat ground, keeping fit through repetitive dry land exercises.
“We’ve definitely done more dry land than we’ve been on snow, or at all,” said Flockoi. “We’re definitely more of a dry land team than a ski team right now.”
Instead of their normal 25 or so training days on the mountain, they got four or five — abandoning their home turf on Mount Ashland for expensive field trips hours away.
“The biggest challenges we had was the financial part of it,” said Head Coach Gary King. “We had to make it optional, it couldn’t be mandatory because not everybody could afford it.”
In order to subsidize what is normally an expensive sport, the foundation holds pre-season ski swaps and other fundraising events.
But this season’s costs jumped by about half.
Whereas normally fundraising doesn’t start until September or October, this year they have to start almost right away. Representatives of the MSEF say they’re also considering approaching the community for donations, and talking to businesses about sponsorships – both options they’ve never had to try.
But despite the hardships, King says the team’s enthusiasm and sense of comradery were as high as ever. And even though Flockoi, their defending state champion, left with nothing to show but an injured knee, she says she agrees.
“It was kind of not the senior year I was looking forward to, but I still had a blast,” said Flockoi.