Local Three Time Olympic Alpine Skier, Megan McJames, Retires
Three-time Olympian Alpine Skier, Megan McJames is retiring after 22 years of ski racing. She started racing with the Park City Ski Team at the age of eight. She competed in the Vancouver Games with the US Ski Team and then in the Sochi and PyeongChang Games as an independent athlete. Carolyn Murray has this:
Megan McJames made the US Ski team in 2005 and skied with the organization until 2012. She was injured in 2011 and competed through the end of the season when she was cut in 2012 from the US Team. She says her drive to continue racing is hard to describe.
“You know, I can’t really explain the inner fire I had to compete, but I want to reiterate that I kept going because I love the sport and love being in the mountains. One thing I would like to say to the community is thank you because everyone stood behind me and made it possible with donations and kind words and help. I think people bought into my story of believing and going after your dreams even in the face of adversity. So, I am really proud of all the perseverance and passion that it took to keep going cause I think that embodies the Olympic spirit as much as some of the medal winning performances.”
McJames says skiing independently is a lifestyle and the motivation to work hard comes from knowing your inner potential.
“When I first started, it was more rare to compete independently and now I am proud to have been one of the first females to keep going. And now there’s getting to be more and more as the Ski Team charges more and more to be part of their program. What it looks like day to day is you’d ski, but then when your competitors were taking a nap, you’re booking flights or tuning your skis or doing some of that other stuff. The thing that really keeps you going is when you have that run you know is really fast before you even look at the timing board. It re-motivates you for all that work and struggle to keep going.”
McJames has great memories of ski racing on her home hill at Park City.
“I learned how to ski at Alta and my parents were ski instructors at Alta Ski Area but they didn’t have a race team there, so we moved to Park City when I was eight and I did learn to race and I did Dar’s Devos and then all the way up through the whole FIS team. You know, looking back on all the days, basically training on CB’s and Peek a Boo, we were lucky to have the hill prepared so early back then because they had the World Cup and just memories of skiing that hill. And you know, it’s one of the most challenging hills in the country so I think it was a good place to start.
She says she thought her life would slow down a little with retirement. With her retirement, she says she thought things would slow down.
“I am working on finishing a finance and accounting degree at Westminster College in Salt Lake. I am going to work next year with Alta Ski Resort and Voelkl Free Ski stuff because I still love the sport. And then, I got engaged to be married and I’m going to be coaching one U-19 athlete to help her to reach her potential next year.”
McJames is auctioning her signed 2018 PeyongChang Olympic Slalom Bib and will donate all the proceeds to Keely’s Ski Camp for Girls. The money raised will help pay girls who would not otherwise be able to afford to participate in on-snow training with the Ski Camp at Mt. Hood, Oregon. For details go to Megan’s Facebook page or follow her on Instagram.