New Castle skier McKennis nabs four big wins golds
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
NEW CASTLE, Colo. ” Just 19 years old and in her first season with the U.S. Ski Team women’s development squad, Alice McKennis opened her season with four first-place finishes.
She won downhill competitions last Wednesday and Thursday in Lake Louise, Alberta and followed that up with two more super G wins on Friday and Sunday at nearby Panorama Mountain Resort in British Columbia.
“I’m so excited, it’s really a great feeling,” said McKennis, a former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club member. “You work your whole life and being able to win this many times is amazing. It’s nice to get paid back for all the hard work that my family and I have been through.”
Racing in the NorAm Cup, McKennis has her eyes on the overall title this year and has eight to 10 more races this season. The winner in each discipline at season’s end is guaranteed a start spot on the World Cup circuit the following season.
With those four golds, she has the lead in the overall, downhill and super G standings.
“I’m hoping to have a podium at the World Junior Championships,” she said. “Right now I feel good. I want to keep racking up the points and keep charging.”
The World Juniors are held in Garmisch, Germany, at the end of February and beginning of March.
When she’s standing on the top of a course, she already knows what she’s in for. She’s prepared for the steeps and the turns. She just wants to get out there and race and doesn’t rely on factors she can’t control.
“By that point I’ve thought about the course a lot. I want to get a good positive feeling,” she said. “I’ll tell myself I’m a great skier, the best out there, and just try to go out and have a good run.”
“It comes from within,” she added. “I don’t believe that wearing a lucky pair of socks will do you any good. I have to go out there with what I’ve got.”
McKennis has been on the developmental team since May and spent a lot of the summer training with the team on Mount Hood in Oregon, in Park City, Utah, and in South America.
On of the most exotic places she’s skied was in Spain last year for the World Junior Championships.
“You don’t think of it as a place to race,” she said. “It’s a much different culture and place to be in. When you think of skiing, not many people would think of Spain.”
Even in the summer, she’s on the road more than she’s at home in New Castle. Skiing since she was 2, holding onto a ski pole held by her father, Greg, up at Sunlight Mountain Resort, McKennis loves the snow.
She’s been racing for so long, she doesn’t get homesick. Talking to her dad and sister, Kendra, almost every day on the phone, she still has contact with her roots.
Today she is making her way back to Colorado for the holidays.
Before she knows it, Jan. 1 will be here and she’ll be in Ontario for more NorAm races. Then it’s off to Europe for three weeks to participate in the Europa Cup.
In the small amount of down time that McKennis manages to find, she reads and knits. She’s also taking an independent study class focusing on political science at Brigham Young University.
“There aren’t any deadlines,” she said. “You can go at your own pace.”
For class, she might not have looming deadlines, but on the course the deadlines are always there.
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