New Castle skier grabs four golds |

New Castle skier grabs four golds

Baron Zahuranec
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Photo By Mike Schrif

NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” Just 19 years old and in her first season with the U.S. Ski Team women’s developmental squad, Alice McKennis opened her season with four first-place finishes.

She won downhill competitions last Wednesday and Thursday at Lake Louise ski area in Alberta, Canada, and followed that up with another super G win on Friday.

On Sunday, at nearby Panorama ski area in British Columbia, she won her second super G, and yesterday she was fourth in the super G.

“I made some mistakes on the top pitch,” she said of her fourth-place finish. “I skied the bottom pretty well, though. You can’t win them all, I guess.”

Her first downhill win was a close one, really close. She beat Canada’s Kelly McBroom by two-hundreths of a second.

“I’m so excited, it’s really a great feeling,” McKennis said of her hot start. “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 NOR-AM Cup, McKennis has her eyes on the overall title this year and has eight to 10 more races this 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 raking 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 Mt. Hood, Ore., in Park City, Utah, and lets not forget 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.”

Skiing since she was 2 years old, holding onto a ski pole held by her father, Greg, up at Sunlight Mountain Resort, McKennis loves the snow.

Even in the summer, she’s on the road more than she’s at home in New Castle.

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.

After her trip to Canada, today she made her way back to Colorado for, “a nice Christmas break,” she said.

Before she knows it, Jan. 1 will be here and she’ll be in Ontario for more NOR-AM 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, you’ll find her reading or knitting a hat. She’s taking an independent study class focusing on political science at Brigham Young University, too.

“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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