Sonora, CA – With a wicked fast run time in the final women’s event of the 2019 U.S. Alpine Championships, a local skier has clinched her first U.S. National title.
U.S Ski Team athlete and Strawberry resident Keely Cashman, who turns 20 next week, cheerily shares from the road how she built on her momentum to end an impressive season Monday with an exclamation point in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. In the process of placing first in the giant slalom, Cashman also set the second fastest second run time, finishing up with a combined time of 2:28.46 seconds.
In the following Q and A with Clarke Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Cashman confides the positive impacts of her local upbringing on her career and goals ahead, recounting a season of hard work that brought her first NorAm victories and two top-five finishes at this year’s World Junior Championships in Val di Fassa, Italy.
CBC: This is your third year on the team; how do you think you are doing relative to your personal goals?
KC: I am very happy with my performance this year. My first two seasons on the team were a bit rocky. I had a lot of trouble finishing races and performing well at a high level. This is my third year on the team, and I have had some of my best results of my career so far. I set a lot of goals this season — but I was mainly focused on just skiing — and if I did that, I knew the results would come.
CBC: What were your other best races and placements this season?
KC: 1st place in the Giant Slalom Nor-Am (Jackson Hole, Wyoming); 5th place in the Super-G World Juniors and 4th place in the Alpine Combined World Juniors (San Pellegrino, Italy); 2nd place in the Downhill U.S Nationals and 1st place in the Super-G Nor-am (Sugarloaf, Maine).
CBC: How does growing up in Sonora/Strawberry impact your life and perhaps help you in your career?
KC: I love where I was born and raised, being from such a small town with such a sense of community is something I really appreciate. When I’m on the road and things are getting tough, I always think of everyone at home who supports me — it helps me feel like I’m not alone. I’m really glad that I can call Strawberry my home. I do still live in Strawberry although I do spend a lot of time in Park City, Utah during the summer at the U.S Ski Team headquarters.
CBC: Tell us a bit about your plans ahead, professionally and personally.
KC: After finishing up my last few races on the East Coast…I will head home for awhile. I usually do some spring training at Squaw Valley and Mammoth, and then I have a few weeks of downtime. I will spend most of the summer getting stronger for next season and also working at my family’s coffee shop up in Pinecrest. Next season I will compete on the Nor-Am circuit along with the European circuit and hopefully a few World Cup races.
CBC: Your parents figured in huge in your development — can you share how you began and developed skiing and key coaches?
KC: I grew up skiing at Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley. My Dad has been my coach my whole life and he has played a major role in my success. My whole family has skied together for as long as I can remember. My Mom and Dad taught me a lot about hard work when I was younger and that has translated into my skiing career. I could not be where I am without their love and support.
CBC: When did you first realize you could be a national U.S. Team contender?
KC: Growing up I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be on the U.S Ski Team. Ever since I started skiing, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I knew that if I worked hard, anything was possible.
CBC: Are the next Winter Olympics (XXIV Winter Olympic Games hosted by Beijing, Feb. 4-20, 2022) among your goals?
KC: Yes definitely. The Olympics have been my goal since I was a little girl and to reach that would mean the world to me. I hope that with hard work I can attain this goal.
To view some photos shared by Cashman, click into the image box slideshow.