Eight years ago, I was in a major life transition, and I found myself starting from scratch and moving to the mountains from Minnesota. A friend of mine in the ski racing community—one who had traveled to Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey with me several years ago—sent me a job description she had seen in Ski Racing for a Press Officer position with the U.S. Ski Team.
How It All Began
Don’t hold this against me, but I didn’t read Ski Racing in the summer and never would have seen the opportunity had she not sent it to me. At 31 years old, I had moved to Utah recently separated from my husband, carless, insuranceless, and jobless (I had just left a marketing role with a backpack company I co-owned). At first, I lived in the Uhaul I rented, then—a few days later—I moved into a former polygamist compound full of ski bums at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon with no door but rather a curtain in a room fit for a vagablonde. It was exciting, and it was also scary. I was starting a new life. So, in the middle of a cross-country road trip, I decided to apply for the job.
I swooped in at the 11th hour, and after interviews with Doug Haney, Tom Kelly, and Tiger Shaw, a month later, I found myself in Soelden, Austria for the World Cup opener. It felt like a dream. I was surrounded by athletes I had looked up to and watched for years. I remember how excited and nervous I was to work with Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin, Julia Mancuso, Resi Stiegler, and others during that trip. That weekend, Mikaela won her first giant slalom World Cup, tying Anna Veith (née Fenninger) in what was just Mikaela’s 10th World Cup victory. As we all know—64 World Cup victories later —the rest is history.
I just remember coming home from that trip simultaneously thinking, ‘What the hell did I get myself into?!’ and ‘That was the best trip I’ve ever been on!’ Little did I know, the best trip I’d ever been on would last nearly a decade. As one of the few females in the industry traveling the circuit full-time, there were so many moments where I felt like I was in over my head or out of place, but I kept going, committed to telling the stories of a sport I grew up loving so, so much, and of the athletes who I looked up to and absolutely thought the world of.
Changing the Face of the Sport
I did it my way. It was different, and sometimes it meant wearing a unicorn mask or a “Boss Lady” patch or my custom Spyder black onesie with a fur hood. Tom Kelly once told me I was changing the face of the sport’s finish areas and from my point of view, that was the best compliment I could have gotten. After all, marketing is about changing behavior. If I could inspire more women to take roles on the World Cup circuit, do it in their unconventional way, and have the chance to make an impact on this amazing life sport in this unmatched community, well, that’s all I could ask for.
And here we are today, and I’m ready to pass the torch to the next generation boss lady.
Life on the Road
So, inquiring minds may want to know, what’s life like on the road? It’s everything. It’s exhilarating, rewarding, chaotic, challenging, and sometimes lonely, but one of the most incredible experiences you’ll have in your life. The ski community is family, and the U.S. Ski Team is a big family. I cherish the people I’ve met over the last eight years and the athletes and coaches from around the world who I’ve worked with. I’ve experienced the highest of highs with these people and the lowest of lows.
Ultimately, it’s all more than worth it, and I know they’ll be my family for life. It’s a bond that is unique and special, but with that comes challenges as well. From the tragic loss of Ronnie and Bryce in my first season with the team to the tragic loss of Jeff Shiffrin—a dear friend and human I respected greatly—to the numerous, heartbreaking injuries l have covered while with the team. I’ve seen and covered more excruciating moments than I ever thought possible. When your work and personal lives merge, it can bring inescapable heartache like you’ve never felt before. It’s all worth it. I love this sport, these people, and this industry beyond measure.
The memories…oh, the memories. 60,324 videos and photos on my iPhone tell a story I could never do justice through words. Of course, there were amazing moments working with some of the best ski racers in the world. From Bode Miller’s final race at Vail/Beaver Creek World Championships in 2015, where he was leading at the third split before he crashed and sliced open his leg. Ted’s incredible World Championship gold medal on home snow in the giant slalom at Vail/Beaver Creek. Lindsey Vonn, Stacey Cook, and Julia with their historic podium sweep at Lake Louise in 2014. Mikaela Shiffrin’s victory in slalom at Are in 2019 while physically ill and emotionally drained. Andrew Weibrecht’s second-place finish in super-G at Kitzbühel in 2016. Steven Nyman’s record downhill podium streak in 2016. Bryce Bennett’s inaugural downhill podium (an insane victory) in 2021 at his favorite track in Val Gardena and countless records broken by amazing, strong female athletes. It’s been a wild ride.
I’ve covered hundreds of breathtaking World Cup victories and podiums, but equally rewarding are the breakthrough results, first points, inaugural top-10 finishes, and personal bests. Yet, at times, the injuries and heartbreak in this sport tend to be the most memorable because these stories of resilience deeply touch the soul.
Heartbreak, Comebacks, and Retirements
As an empath, I absorb pain and sadness more than most, and those memories stick with me. Tommy Biesemeyer’s super-G crash at the World Championships in St. Moritz in 2017 near the finish (first thing he asked me, through excruciating pain, was how his splits were… “fast,” I told him). Alice Merryweather’s horrific crash in downhill training at Saas-Fee in 2021 after her comeback from an eating disorder with incredible grace, courage and vulnerability. Nina O’Brien’s giant slalom crash at Beijing 2022 and her insurmountable composure and bravery through it all. Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s diligent and patient progression from terrible injury to the top of the podium. Mikaela’s comeback after an injury that couldn’t be seen but could be felt deeply to the core — her father’s tragic passing. Jackie Wiles and Keely Cashman’s return to Garmisch after having bad crashes. Tommy Ford’s return to competition at the Olympics after his very public Adelboden crash and injury. There are so many moments like this that just blow my mind.
Then there are the retirements — too many memories to list, but a few come to mind: Julia’s superhero finish in Cortina. Ted’s unexpected and emotional early exit from the sport he had made such an impact on. Marco Sullivan’s retirement at Kvitfjell after his record 105th downhill start. Alice McKennis, Resi’s, and Laurenne Ross’ retirement races in Aspen at U.S. Alpine Championships in 2021.
Covering these stories and all of these athletes’ careers has been my biggest joy, and I will never forget it.
Oh the Places You’ll Go
Austria, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Andorra, New Zealand, Chile, Finland, Croatia, China, Japan, Morocco, Switzerland, Portugal, Australia…and beyond. If you like to travel, this role is for you. I had traveled the world before this gig, but this role has enabled me to cover more ground than you can imagine. Living out of a duffle bag (or eight, haha) and traveling from hotel to hotel every few days in a new country is not for everyone, but it was certainly my jam and I’ll miss it deeply. Whether the destination or the journey, I always left knowing more about myself and the world around me. And that’s a priceless gift that will last with me forever.
I want to thank everyone who read my stories and posts and supported the athletes and the sport I have loved so much for the last several years. Skiing is a sport that I wish everyone could experience, and I really hope it can become more accessible because it’s a life sport, a community unlike any other. We are so lucky to share that as a community. Ski racing is not just a sport for the best in the world; it’s a sport for everyone — an exhilarating activity that connects a passionate community that is truly a family.
Thank you for being a part of my journey, and I hope I was able to make even a small positive impact on the sport during my time with the U.S. Ski Team, even—and especially—if it means changing the face of the sport in the finish area, doing my part in creating a more inclusive environment, and creating a badass boss lady community around the world.
The time has come to pass the torch to the next generation to impact the sport. If skiing across the world’s major mountain ranges and craziest downhill tracks (like the Hahnenkamm, inspecting the downhill alongside legend ski twister Hansi Hinterseer), watering the track at Ohau for 12 hours until the wee hours of the morning as a rite of passage, witnessing the most epic sunrises in the most gorgeous ski towns, busting your ass covering the best sport and athletes in the world, and making lifelong relationships appeals to you, shoot me an email at [email protected] to learn more, or check out the job description and apply.
Thank you all…and thank you ski racing (and Ski Racing, too).
Megan (aka Boss Lady)