New Castle teen wins Nor-Am titles |

New Castle teen wins Nor-Am titles

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Photo by Mike Schirf courtesy of U.S. Ski TeamNew Castle alpine skier Alice McKennis speeds through a training run in November 2008. The 19-year-old recently wrapped up Nor-Am Cup titles in downhill and super-G.

NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” Back on Colorado soil for a few days after a busy month of March, New Castle’s Alice McKennis reflected on what’s been the greatest ski season of her young life.

The 19-year-old is fresh off trips to Lake Placid, N.Y., and Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, and, better yet, fresh off North American Cup points titles in both downhill and super-G.

“Winning the Nor-Am titles is really cool,” McKennis said by phone on Friday. “Those were goals I set earlier in the season. It’s good to make those goals by winning the titles.”

The titles bring with them more than just hardware.

McKennis, a Rowmark Ski Academy product, is guaranteed starts in all World Cup downhill and super-G races next season and will jump from the U.S. Ski Team’s development squad to its C team.

“It’s really cool to have those positions guaranteed,” McKennis said. “No one can take them away from you.”

But McKennis still has some work to do in March. She’ll head out for the March 27-31 U.S. Nationals in Alyeska, Alaska, today.

There, she hopes to continue what’s been a dream season.

“Usually, there’s a point in the season where there’s kind of a downturn and I don’t ski well, but I’ve been pretty consistent this season,” she said. “I’ve kept up working, working on skiing and having a good time. That’s what’s kept me being successful.”

At the FIS World Junior Ski Championships in Germany earlier this month, McKennis finished fourth in downhill. She narrowly missed third and secured the best finish by an American woman in the event’s history.

McKennis is clearly benefiting from her spot with the U.S. Ski Team. She said she’s been training harder than ever.

“I’ve done a lot of stuff I’ve never done before,” she said. “It’s way harder than anything else I’ve ever done. It’s a way higher intensity.”

Weightlifting and aerobic work are the foundation of those workouts, McKennis said.

The New Castle teen hopes the hard work continues to pay off.

“Hopefully, I’ll start having success at the World Cup level,” she said. “I’m just working my way up through the ranks. … We’ll see how things go.”

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