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Interview with Olympic Hopeful Keaton McCargo

Monday • January 29, 2018

Telluride is lucky enough to have three locals headed to the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea next month. Gus Kenworthy, who won the silver medal in Slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, returns to compete in Slopestyle. Hagen Kearney, qualified to compete in Snowboardcross (Stay tuned to hear more from Hagen!). Telluride's third qualifier, Keaton McCargo, is competing with USA's Freestyle team in the Moguls event. We were stoked to score a quick interview with Keaton before she heads off to the Olympics.

First off, major congratulations on qualifying! When did you start skiing moguls and why did you choose moguls over downhill? 

I started mogul skiing when I was around 8. At the time, the Ski Club had an all-mountain group so you could try out everything. I chose mogul skiing to continue further because that was what my sister was doing and I admired her.

How did growing up in Telluride influence your career as a professional mogul skier?

Growing up in Telluride is so unique compared to growing up anywhere else. Training consisted of mostly free-skiing which I think greatly benefited my ability as a mogul skier because it allowed me to adapt to my surroundings. 

How did TSSC help develop you as an athlete?

TSSC was everything to me. I loved my coaches and my peers. My ski friends were/are some of the best friendships I've made in my whole life because we experienced so much diversity together and so many fun memories. 

How long have you been on the US Ski Team?

I made the team my senior year of high school in 2013. 

Will you prepare differently for the Olympics than the World Cup?

The Olympics are the same as a World Cup in terms of competition but different in a sense that they are on a massive world stage and the pressure is that much more. I will be physically training the same but mentally preparing for the media storm that lies ahead in Korea. 

What tricks will you be throwing? 

360 and a back lay.

Do you have a ritual before dropping in?

I always try to smile before I go because that immediately relaxes me.

Do you have a favorite location you’ve competed in?

I love competing in Japan!!! The snow is incredible and the people are amazing and so excited that you are there. We sleep on tatami mats on the floor and eat so much amazing Japanese cuisine. It is one of those places where you really become immersed in such a different but wonderful culture.

Hopes and goals for the future?

My biggest goal in life is to achieve a place where I feel happy and confident in myself no matter where or what I am doing.

What advice would you give to young athletes who are looking to follow in your footsteps? 

Don’t be afraid to try. If you try and fail, at least you went for it. I have really learned from this motto in recent months while trying to qualify for the Olympics. There were many events where I felt I didn’t put in the effort I needed to be successful and that was heartbreaking but it taught me to always give 100% effort in all my competition and training runs. 


Flash Round:

Favorite pump up song?

Uggg there are too many!!! I have a whole competition playlist on Spotify.

Favorite ski run in Telluride?

Anything on chair 9

Favorite restaurant in town? 

This is a hard one… I am a sucker for the cheese ravioli and pink sauce from Rustico but I also am a die-hard fan of La Cocina de Luz.

Favorite summer hike in the area?

This is also way too hard of a question… There is the trail off of Judwiebe called Owl Gulch I think.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Keaton! Best of luck!!