McKennis off to Spain |

McKennis off to Spain

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

NEW CASTLE ” Alice McKennis is thriving with her new approach to skiing.

“My attitude is different this year,” said the 18-year-old downhiller from New Castle. “I’ve been a little more relaxed. I’m going out there concentrating on having fun, not worrying as much about results.”

The root of her revised competitive philosophy is an old coach, Casey Puckett. And that old coach, a four-time Olympian and veteran of multiple X Games, surely knows a thing or two about how to approach competition.

“I talked to him a lot about it,” McKennis said, “just about getting myself to relax, trying to have more fun this year.”

And more fun has equaled more success.

Most recently, McKennis finished fourth in a downhill race and third in a super-G race at a Canadian Championships stop in Whistler, British Columbia.

Those results are indicative of what has been a solid season for McKennis, and why she’s accompanying the U.S. Ski team to the Feb. 23-March 1 FIS Alpine Junior World Championships in Formigal, Spain. The Rowmark Ski Academy (Park City, Utah) product left for her overseas journey on Saturday.

“It was pretty exciting,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I knew I had a good shot at it, with my previous results of the season. You don’t want to hope too much in case it doesn’t happen. I’ve had so many good races in a row it’s kind of crazy.”

McKennis knows a good showing in Spain could win her favor with the U.S. Ski Team. She aims to eventually qualify for the team through its criteria.

“I’m just trying to have a good season and having fun being out there,” she said. “This season’s been a lot of fun.”

After Worlds, McKennis’ biggest competitions during the season’s stretch run are a trip to the Nor-Am Finals in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the U.S. Nationals in Maine.

The biggest stage, though, will perhaps be the international one at Formigal. Regardless of how she finishes up, it’ll be the trip of a lifetime.

Said McKennis: “I’ve always wanted to go to Spain.”

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