▶️ Bend’s Ross and Ford reflect on Olympics, racing and the pure joy of going fast

BY MATT MCDONALD
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

They are arguably downhill ski racing’s power couple.

Laurenne Ross and Tommy Ford both boast Olympic resumes.  Both have competed around the world.  And both can trace their racing roots back to Mt. Bachelor.

“I remember being like maybe 15, 16 and training GS with Tommy and our coach Kent and beating him and being so stoked, that I was beating Tommy in GS,” said Ross with a small laugh.

“I was going hard, couldn’t get her,” said Ford.

Two weeks ago, Ford finished 4th in the world in giant slalom at Soelden.

“I want to keep skiing for as long as I can.  As long as I’m happy and healthy and enjoying what I’m doing,” Ford.

As for Ross, she is taking the season off. Though she says she has recovered from a recent injury, she doesn’t want to rush her recovery like she did before the  Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Ford and Ross spoke Wednesday night at Rebound Physical Therapy, where both have worked through injuries ranging from broken femurs to torn ligaments.  The crowd included current MBSEF skiers and others who have followed the careers of Ford and Ross through the years, including trips to the Olympics.

“I mean it’s kind of inevitable to feel the magic. It’s such a wonderful beautiful event where everyone comes together,” said Ross of the Olympics.

“It was magical.  It really does bring people together.  Like they were having North Korea and South Korea really did start talking a little and like, that’s cool,” said Ford.

Both stressed to the crowd their appreciation for growing up in Bend and being surrounded by other athletes and high quality coaches.

“It wasn’t abnormal to ski hard and ski fast here, like that’s what we did growing up,” said Ford.

It isn’t the Olympics, sponsors or other accolades that keeps the pair going.  It remains something they likely fell in love as kids – enjoying the pure, raw speed of downhill ski racing.

“The feeling of freedom when you’re racing down a course.  They’re aren’t any speed limits and nobody can talk to you,” Ross said. ” It’s kind of meditative in a sense.  You’re in a flow state you can really replicate anywhere else.”

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