Saturday, January 24, 2015

It actually happened! Megan McJames guest coached the Wintergreen Race Team!

Last weekend, Megan McJames (World Cup Skier, Two Time Olympian, Currently working to earn a slot in World Cup Championships in Vail next month) came to Wintergreen Virginia. Totally crazy.

Over the summer we got see Megan a bit at Mt. Hood. She was guest coaching at a few camps, I believe she worked with the Ligety Weibrecht camp and with Keely's camp this summer. She came to dinner and to talk about possibly sponsorships another night and rode the chair lift with my kids here and there. At some point over the summer we were talking specifically about her story, about making ski racing happen on her own and how much I am struck by her ability to focus on the positive when faced with challenges. And so we talked about surrounding oneself with people who believe in you, and people who will support you (emotionally, financially, however) and how that applies to professional sports, but also entrepreneurship and the arts and really any field, because they all hold challenges. And so I kind of threw out there that that is an important message for not just my kids, but any kids. And maybe she'd want to come visit our team? And then sort of left it to stew. In the fall I got an email that the race schedule would allow Megan two weekends in January if I still wanted to have her out- so I threw that over to the head race coach, Robert Sandy, at Wintergreen. He took a look at the SARA schedule and came back with the best weekend and so we got it going.
When I spoke to the Wintergreen Boosters and explained that it wasn't just a visit but a fundraiser for Megan they got right to work. Luckily several members on the Board have experience in fundraising and putting together events and so they took and between the coaches and boosters a weekend schedule emerged. We kept Megan really busy! She guest coached in the morning, ran Nastar and did some meet and greet in the afternoon... and evening events as well. She did great. The kids were excited, the parents were excited, there was a kind of buzz on the mountain that we don't usually have... and Chris Shephard set up a long Slalom course on Saturday on Big Acorn and a long G.S. course on Sunday on Wild Turkey and the kids got to watch Megan run them both. It is a totally different experience watching that in real life instead of on t.v. The kids were blown away. I had parents telling me they were blown away. It was really cool. And then the kids ran the course for practice. Many thanks to Wintergreen Resort for supporting this event and letting us take up the mountain like that. It was wonderful.

Megan McJames, Olympian, World Cup, ski race, GS, Giant Slalom
greeting Megan at the Richmond airport

DataXstream, Megan McJames, Coppermine, Wintergreen Resort, Virginia
Tim (sporting his DataXstream shirt) and Megan
at the Coppermine at Wintergreen Resort for dinner Friday

megan mcjames, wintergreen, wintergreen race team, SARA, alpine ski, gs
Megan warmed up with the team each morning
olympian, world cup skier, signature, helmets, Wintergreen Resort, McJames
Megan signing helmets before practice

olympian, world cup, sk, gs, McJames, Wintergreen Resort, Virginia
signing more helmets!

Wintergreen Race Team, development team, Megan McJames, Olympian, Virginia
guest coaching the development team
in the stubbies

riding up the chair lift with some of our Development Team kids
(when have you ridden the lift with a two-time Olympian?)

Coach Helen ready to run the stubbies
These are just a few of the photos I was able to capture on my phone. Luckily we have ski dad Richard Wyly taking photos and uploading them to SmugMug, they are much better than mine. Please visit his album: Megan McJames Gallery

A local news crew came out and did an interview: WSET TV

I am proud to say that it was a really fun weekend for everybody, I think even Megan had fun! Thank you to DataXstream for flying her out here and being one of her sponsors. Thank you to the Boosters for getting behind the event. We raised just over $5,000 which is being matched by DataXstream. Not too bad for our little mountain!

for more about Megan please visit her site: Megan McJames or follow her facebook page and let her know you are rooting for her!

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