Steamboat Springs Madi McKinstry’s life on Telemark skis didn’t begin as a choice.
Rather, the 17-year-old Steamboat Springs High School student freed her heal out of necessity.
Growing up in Elko, Nev., skiing meant a five-hour drive to Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyo.
That or head into the backcountry.
“We had snowmobiles,” she said, “but hiking was better.”
McKinstry rapidly has ascended in the sport. She has progressed to the top American woman on Telemark skis.
With high school graduation behind her, she will spend the 2013 season fully on the World Cup tour for the first time.
This will include stops in Norway, France, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland, among others.
“I really want to be winning World Cups,” said McKinstry, whose best finishes on World Cup’s were a pair of third place finishes last season in Steamboat. “If not next year, the year after. It would be nice to win the globe and the overall title, too, someday.”
That’s a lofty goal but something that seems attainable for McKinstry.
The good news for her is that she will be on the World Cup circuit. She will head to college at Montana State in the fall to study global studies and then head back to Steamboat on Dec. 16.
She will train here a bit before heading overseas to train with the French team.
“She’s the best skier we have,” said Ty Upson, the U.S. National Team coach. “There is no one to look up to and dual with. The girls that beat her are more experienced. They’re better performers but not necessarily better skiers. There really is nothing left she can do in the United States. She has to do this.”
One problem McKinstry knows she will face is staying motivated. She will train in Montana on her own. Then when she hits the World Cup circuit, she likely will be the lone American on tour. McKinstry doesn’t consider herself super competitive, with the exception of Telemark racing.
She said her goal is to again podium at the Junior World Championships and finish in the top seven at the World Championships.
She said despite how this year goes, she is committed to going to school and skiing World Cups for the next two years.
She then will re-evaluate what she wants to do.
Until then, McKinstry said she is excited to prove she is America’s best Telemark skier on a world stage.
“When it comes to Telemarking, I’m super determined, and that’s what I do,” McKinstry said. “It comes from coaches telling you to push your limits. It comes from my parents also wanting me to do well.
“But the biggest thing is I want to do well.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com