Cooper Spur Race Team starts second FreeRide season

Long-running local ski program adds freestyle-specific training to list of offerings

Dry-land training for Cooper Spur Race Team’s FreeRide program means practicing rail slides using a dry slope and a harness and trampoline setup. Trey Roeseler takes his turn on a rail setup for the team while Jackson West, Sammy Stevenson, TC Mixon and Ollie Stevenson wait their turn.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Dry-land training for Cooper Spur Race Team’s FreeRide program means practicing rail slides using a dry slope and a harness and trampoline setup. Trey Roeseler takes his turn on a rail setup for the team while Jackson West, Sammy Stevenson, TC Mixon and Ollie Stevenson wait their turn.

Taking the term “training” loosely, Cooper Spur Race Team’s FreeRide Team started winter practice a couple weeks ago, and although the snow is still far up the mountain at the moment, the dozen or so kids at practice this week were geared up and working on their best rail-sliding maneuvers.

Utilizing a parent’s west-side property and some simple ingenuity, the kids spent Tuesday evening sliding down a homemade “dry slope” covered in wet patches of fake grass and hitting a long, white PVC rail similar to the sliders they’ll experience in terrain parks once ski resorts open for the winter.


Coach Justin Wiley holds a team member in the air with a rope as he practices a back flip.

After about an hour of jamming on the rail and heckling one another to all ends, the kids move into a barn, where they can practice flips on a trampoline and harness setup that allows coach Justin Wiley to pull on a rope to hold the kids in midair while they rotate. Reluctantly, the others do air squats, lunges and stair laps while they wait for their turn on the trampoline.

CSRT introduced its FreeRide program last season for kids ages 9-14, which organizers say was a great success. This year the program has been expanded to include the season-long team as well as single and multiple day camps that run throughout the winter.

Last year, Wiley says, “the kids were having so much fun that, by the end of the year, I had kids ready try more advanced moves and compete. This year we want to take it to the next level and offer more team riding sessions and a competition component.”

CSRT will have three FreeRide teams this season: a development team for entry-level freestyle skiers, a training team for those looking to develop skills enough to be able to compete in the future and a more focused competition team for kids ready put their skills to the test against other skiers.

For those ready for competition, Mt. Hood Meadows hosts a regular Night Rail Jam series throughout the winter and stops of the USASA Mt. Hood Series.

“For those who just want to try out a competition, the Meadows Night Rail Jams provide a fun and easy opportunity to compete,” Wiley explained. “The USASA Mt. Hood Series offers more structure and increased competition for those who are a bit more motivated. We are really lucky to have both of these series in our backyard.”

The team continues dryland practice through mid-December before moving to slopeside training for the rest of the season. Anyone interested in joining can find more information at or contact Program Director Shana Sweitzer at 541-490-7575.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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