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Alpine Athletes  »  Alice McKennis

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Height
5-6
Weight
150
 

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Formerly coached by four-time Olympian Casey Puckett, the resume of Alice McKennis reflects a thing or two about speed events. Evidence: McKennis stole a 2013 World Cup downhill victory, took multiple World Cup top 10 spots in super G, finished 20th in the World Cup DH standings and made the 2010 Olympic Team in her rookie World Cup season.

Kick it up to the 2014 season and McKennis will be looking toward Sochi from both the peaks and valleys. Peak: she won the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup of her career with a stunning January 2013 performance in St. Anton, claiming the season’s only Austrian speed race. Valley: a few weeks before the end of the season, she crashed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and shattered her right tibial plateau into about 30 pieces. Ouch. Despite the season-ending dinger, she still finished a career best 10th in the World Cup downhill standings.

It's a recovery road she's walked before. Just two years prior, she had a similar injury on her left leg. Experience in injury recovery counts. If McKennis can go from the knife to the top of the World Cup podium once, she can do it again.

ALICE SAYS
Just when things were starting to feel really good again after my first broken leg, after my first World Cup victory and when my skiing was at its best, I managed to destroy my other (right) tibial plateau into 30 plus pieces. UGHH.

The screaming and crying is over. Surgery was a success and each day the pain is a little less. Now it is the looming months ahead of physical therapy, gym time, return to snow and finally racing again that lie before me. It is no small task and is daunting I’ll admit. The thought of returning from an even-more severe injury than my last one scares me at times. Can I do it again? Can I force myself to maintain a positive outlook and never have any doubt in my mind that I will be fast again? That I will want to go fast again? That I will be ready in time for Sochi? All of these questions run through my mind daily…but there is only one answer and one choice. YES. 

To educate everyone a little more on the injury, it is thus: my right lateral tibial plateau was fractured into 30 plus pieces while being pushed laterally 1.5mm. I also had a fracture diagonally/straight down the tibia, which required the plate. Lucky for me, all my ligaments were intact. Some miracle I guess! I keep obliterating my tibial plateaus, but both times my ligaments have been uninjured. Crazy…there are more medical terms and smaller issues as well, but since I’m not a doctor, I’m not going to get into those details since I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

FIRST TRACKS
McKennis grew up on a hay and cattle ranch, but she lived close enough to the mountains for her future career path to make sense. Her father, Greg, took her to Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs for the first time before she had even turned two. She began racing at age five, following her older sister Kendra, who later competed on the FIS (minor league) level for two seasons. At about the same time, tragedy struck, when the girls' mother, Jill, died in a car accident. The family continued to ski as a way of coping with the loss. When she was nine, McKennis joined Ski Club Vail, the club that was then nurturing the all-around skills of Alpine star-in-the-making Lindsey Vonn. McKennis watched in awe and took some valuable mental notes as the U.S. Ski Team phenom, only five years older than her, tore down the slopes. After several years of bouncing around different ski clubs in Colorado, McKennis landed with the Aspen Valley Ski Club.

OFF THE SNOW
McKennis was also a competitive equestrian, competing in jumping, cross country riding and dressage until she was about 14 – hence the appreciation of country music. You'll also find her at the local fishing hole, ripping on her mountain bike and enjoying the view from a tent. Her and her dad are regulars rafting the Colorado as well as any other stream they can find with rapids.

 

Highlights

OLYMPICS
Teams: 2010

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Teams 2013
17th, DH, Schladming, AUT, 2013

WORLD CUP (highlights)
First World Cup Victory, St. Anton, AUT, 2013
Finished 10th in World Cup downhill standings, 2013
20th in DH standings during rookie World Cup season, 2010

OTHER
Nominated for 2010 Audi FIS World Cup Rookie of the Year
2009 NorAm DH and SG champion
4th in DH at 2009 Junior World Championships