Uphill Battle for Downhill Racer Megan McJames

The Uphill Battle for Downhill Racer Megan McJames

Her name may not roll off your tongue like ski stars and US Ski Team members Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, or Mikaela Shiffrin, but this Park City native who is NOT on the US Ski Team qualified to race for the USA in both Sochi and at the World Championships in Vail 2015. Roll back the clock to 1989 and a 2-year-old Megan began her ski career at Alta, Utah. Her parents were both ski pros and she had a choice, to go out on the mountain all day or sit inside at day care. She chose the mountain. Since Alta didn’t have a ski team she became a member of the Park City Ski Team and attended the Winter Sports School. When she was a senior in high school she made the US Ski Team and skied on the team for 7 years. In 2010 she suffered a small setback when she was dropped from her ski company Dynastar. Roxy owned the company at the time and didn’t have the funds to put toward ski racing. The next setback came right after that when she snapped her heel bone. She worked hard to come back from her injury, but challenges with the coaching staff left her without confidence and in 2012 she was cut from the US Ski Team. Megan knew that the best of her career was still ahead and that she hadn’t really demonstrated her full potential. Dejected, but determined, she formed “Independent Ski Racing”. She knew her first job was to get her confidence back and that she would have to do it on her own. Here is a little known fact about the US Ski Team. It is easier to make the Ski Team as a young racer, but at 27 years of age, the standards are much harder to meet. Unfazed, she continued to train on her own and ended up qualifying for the Olympics in Sochi and skied in the Giant Slalom and the Slalom. Another little known fact is that there are only 10 spots on the Alpine team for both men and women. It could be 5 men and 5 women or 6 men, 4 women, or 6 women and 4 men. Even with so few spots open, Megan qualified to ski for the USA without being a member of the US Ski Team. Her results in Sochi were 29th and 30th in the World. This year once again she did the impossible and qualified for the World Championships in Vail 2015 and raced in the Giant Slalom and Slalom. She did this all on her own, while training on her own, tuning her own skis, booking her own travel, raising her own money, among other things. She did this without a coach and without a ski technician because he was hired away to tune for another team after the 2014 Olympics. Is this girl a maverick? Is this girl a glutton for punishment? Either way, she is 100% committed to her dream of being one of the best ski racers in the world. She has dealt with hardship but she doesn’t spend her time looking back or being bitter for the way things have played out. There is no time for that. She now skis for Fisher, Lange, Briko, and Leki Poles and works with a 501 – C3 called World Cup Dreams which is a tax deductible foundation so that she can raise enough money to keep her dream alive. Luckily her boyfriend Cody Marshall is a retired World Cup slalom skier himself and can coach her when he can. Other than that she is very thankful for all of the support in her home town Park City and tries hook up with other independent skiers to get hill time and training in around the world. Check out her video and learn more about Megan and her journey to be the best. https://meganmcjames.wordpress.com/donate/