Kelleher still conquering mountains, one girl at a time
Former U.S. Ski Team member Keely Kelleher wrapped up the second year of her girls-only ski camp this month. The three-session program focuses on racing and big-mountain skiing in a tough, yet comfortable, training environment.
“I went out to Mount Hood after I was done racing in 2010, and I coached for eight or nine different camps. The whole time I was coaching, all these girls were saying, ‘Keely, you should start your own ski camp.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, right,'” Kelleher said. “But I started thinking about it more and more, and I realized there’s never been a ski camp just for girls. It just kind of looked like a niche that needed to be filled.”
The feedback that Kelleher has received from the girls who attend the camp is the all-female format creates a more relaxed training environment with less pressure.
“They don’t have to worry about how they look and stuff like that,” Kelleher said. “They’re more focused on what their improvements need to be. For example, when they’re playing soccer during dry land, they’re more likely to go after the ball and be aggressive.”
Kelleher organizes two different camps — a freeski camp, which takes place in the spring at Snowbird and focuses on big-mountain skiing, and a race camp at Mount Hood in the summer, which is broken up into two sessions in July.
“It’s a nice, comfortable environment, but we really challenge them to get after it. Anything that they’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s in dry-land or on-hill training, we want them to know that being aggressive is a lot better than being passive,” Kelleher said.
The emphasis of both camps is to have fun and enjoy skiing.
“Some of the girls came in feeling like they didn’t have the best season — maybe they didn’t make Junior Olympics,” she said. “They came into it and had an amazing weekend and started to love skiing again. That’s going to be the staple of these camps — making sure these girls are enjoying the sport of skiing in general, not just ski racing.”
One of the highlights of the summer was hiking Illumination Rock, where the girls found some pristine summertime corn.
“They got to rip down this face. It was an earn-their-turns mentality and gave them a little different persecutive on Hood, so we try to put a lot of different variables into the camp,” Kelleher said.
For more information about the camp, visit www.keelyscamp.com. —Geoff Mintz
Photos: Frank Shine