Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
Skiing for fun
Retired Olympian Ashleigh McIvor gets set for new adventures
And while she's at it she's doing some of the best skiing of her life. The kind of skiing she lives for. "I'm racing for fresh lines instead of racing against real competitors in a real race format," she says. "That's what I truly love."
The 29-year-old from Whistler, BC announced her retirement from racing last November. She was coming off a serious knee injury sustained during the X Games in Aspen, Colorado when she decided enough was enough.
"I probably could have pushed through [the injury] if I was really determined, but I just decided for me it's more important to ski recreationally for the rest of my life than it is to race for the next year through to this next Olympic cycle," she says.
This is McIvor's third time leaving competitive skiing. The first time was when she was 16 years old and she was no longer fulfilled by alpine skiing—that was before ski cross was an option. The second time was when she blew out her knee in her early 20s.
She ultimately came back to competitive skiing when she found out ski cross would be included in the 2010 Olympics. She says that hearing the news made her "hungrier than ever."
"I wanted to get out there and show myself that I could succeed at it and overcome that injury." And succeed she did, earning the gold medal on home soil, in front of all of her friends and family and millions of proud Canadians.
At age 26, she says, she had already accomplished more than she ever thought she would. "I almost feel like that last Olympic cycle was just a bonus and now I'm totally ready to move on and focus on other things."
Although McIvor couldn't be happier with her decision, she says not everyone understands why she quit.
"People think, 'Oh, she just hurt her knee. She can come back from that. That's no excuse,'" she says. "Or people are concerned I'll have this void in my life.
"But, I don't feel like there's a big void in my life," she continues. "I have been so busy. In fact, a lot of my sponsors were actually kind of happy I'm not racing anymore because I'm available. I'm not gone to Europe all winter, so they're able to use me on a larger capacity."
It's not only her sponsors who are happy, either. With her Olympic win in 2010 and her incredible career overall—11 podium finishes at World Cups between 2008 and 2011 and a top finish at the World Championships in 2009—McIvor is in high demand. Photographers want her as their model. Businesses want her to inspire their staff. CBC wants her to do ski commentary. And, Whistler/Blackcomb wants her for their Ski with an Olympian package.
"There's never a dull moment," she says. "I've been doing speaking engagements on all sorts of topics that I can use my sports stories to shine a light on, and then working as a spokesperson for various marketing campaigns and causes."
She says that, since retirement, she's really enjoyed the flexibility her new life provides. She's now able to travel for work and ski for pleasure. And, she has time to plan her future, including a wedding in August, the construction of a home in Whistler and a possible business venture with her fiance, Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit, and her sister.
In the more immediate future, her new schedule is allowing her to travel to Marmot Basin early next month for her first Jasper experience. She'll be in the Rockies for Clicquot in the Snow, an event that will have her and her sister guiding skiers out on the mountain.
"We're going to give people some tips on technique and style and then we're going to hold a race," she says.
The first annual Veuve Clicquot race is on the School House run. McIvor says she won't be competing, she'll just be getting things started.
"I think they're concerned I'd get too competitive and put everybody to shame," she says with a laugh.
Following the competition, McIvor will present the winner with the first-ever Veuve Clicquot Winner’s Coat. Other events taking place during the weekend are at Jasper Park Lodge. There will be yoga, cooking demonstrations, a Moulin Rouge-inspired gala and an after party with DJs from Urban Metropolis. To learn more about the event, visit fairmont.com/jasper or skimarmot.com.
Sat, Mar 2
Clicquot in the Snow
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