Former AVSC, World Cup ski racer Alice McKennis Duran joins Vail club as coach
VAIL — The new coach at Ski & Snowboard Vail should command some attention.
The newbie has 10-plus years of World Cup experience, including a win on tour (St. Anton, downhill, Jan. 12, 2013), not to mention world championships (2013) and Olympic (2010 and 2018) experience.
SSCV announced this week the hiring of Alice McKennis Duran as a U12 alpine coach fresh off her World Cup career.
“Hiring Alice reinforces Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s continued commitment to excellence in coaching across all ages. This will be an amazing opportunity for young SSCV athletes to learn firsthand from one of the best in the world,” said SSCV alpine program director Brad Wall. “On days when Alice is not coaching U12 athletes we expect her to have a tremendous impact across the entire alpine program, passing along her extensive knowledge and passion for developing strong speed skills across all ages.”
Born in New Castle, McKennis Duran learned to ski at 2 at Sunlight Mountain with her father and older sister, Kendra. She also had a brief stint training with the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club prior to joining the national team.
“I can remember holding onto my father’s ski pole as he taught me to turn. Some of my earliest memories skiing include the feeling of awe that there was so much to explore on the mountain and the freedom I had to ski my own way and find the speed for myself,” McKennis Duran said.
And speed she did find. McKennis Duran was a U.S. ski team athlete for 13 years (2008-2021) and competed on the FIS World Cup circuit in both downhill and super-G from 2009-2020.
McKennis Duran placed fifth in downhill in the 2018 Olympics. A few other highlights include third place in a World Cup downhill in Are, Sweden, in 2018, not to mention being a three-time U.S. national champion, wins coming in super-G in 2015 and 2020, and downhill in 2017.
When not training and racing herself, McKennis Duran shared her passion with the next generation of ski racers, coaching at Keely’s Camp for Girls and the American Downhill Speed Camp. In parallel with her stellar ski racing career, McKennis Duran made the time to earn her Level 3 PSIA Instructor license and pursue her higher education goals. She is currently working to complete her coursework for a bachelor’s degree in small business management and entrepreneurship from DeVry University.
“Results are one thing, but Alice is also known for her resilience and determination, successfully returning to World Cup competition after multiple season-ending injuries,” Wall said. “SSCV athletes stand to learn a great deal from the way she has faced and overcome adversity in her ski racing career.”
McKennis Duran retired following the 2020-21 season, which she spent most of injured. She made her farewell run at the national championships hosted by Aspen Highlands in February.
“I am looking forward to sharing the insights and knowledge I have gained from my 10-plus years of racing on the World Cup with a younger generation,” McKennis Duran said. “By having the opportunity to continue to be involved with ski racing, which has meant so much to me throughout my life, and to share that passion with a younger generation, I hope to continue fostering the love of an incredible sport for generations to come.
“As a former athlete from the youth level all the way to the highest level, I understand the challenges and what it takes to achieve big goals. I believe with my experience and insights taken from my own ski racing career I will be able to relate to the athletes of any age or ability and help them to get the most out of the sport that they can — not just from an athletic perspective, but from a personal one, as well.”
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Born in New Castle, Alice McKennis Duran learned to ski at 2 at Sunlight Mountain with her father and older sister, Kendra. She also had a brief stint training with the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club prior to joining the national team.