Who is Megan McJames?
Hi, I'm Megan McJames: professional skier, biker, baker and adventurer!
At 2 years old I learned to ski at Alta Ski Resort in Utah. I grew up doing many outdoor sports including mountain biking, hiking, camping, soccer and tennis but I especially fell in love with skiing! I am proud to have represented the United States in the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver, the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi and four World Championship events, including 2017 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Most recently I won the women’s giant slalom at US Alpine Championships. I am very passionate about ski racing and am aiming to compete in the upcoming 2018 winter Olympics in PeyongChang, Korea!
I am proud of what I have accomplished in my ski career, but for every day of success, there have been many days of struggle.
I was cut from the U.S. Ski Team in 2012 and have been competing at the international level with no support from the national team for the past four seasons. This means that I am responsible for organizing everything from my travel plans, dryland program, equipment, race entries, coaching and funding when racing World Cup.
When the U.S. Ski Team’s coach called to tell me I was no longer a member of the team because they were going to focus their resources on younger athletes with more potential, he asked “what are you going to do now?” and without hesitation I replied, “I am going to race World Cup giant slalom!”
In 2012, the idea of the independent American World Cup skier was just getting started. Traditionally, when athletes were cut from the national team, it was expected that they would quit racing, I did not see that as an option. Deep down I believed in my goals as a skier, and more importantly, I still loved the sport!
At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting in to. As I started to look at the reality of what it would take to race World Cup giant slalom without any support from the national team, I quickly got overwhelmed. The stress of not knowing if all the loose ends would come together before race day would keep me up at night!
In my panic, I started to look for support and found Groundswell Athletics. Over the past four years I have learned so much from them. Instead of letting raising funds, organizing logistics and managing my resources stress me out, I have learned to use some of Groundswell’s frameworks to manage all the details of my ski career.
One of my first camps as an independent athlete was with Groundswell Athletics in Mammoth Lakes California. In the morning we would train on-snow, just like any other ski camp. Then in the afternoon we learned how to build effective businesses by working with a real company. We worked with Tom Cage, a Mammoth based entrepreneur, to help him develop a strategy for a new business he was hoping to start. We started by researching competition in the local market. Then we made a strategic plan and talked to Tom about the resources it would take to start and run the new company.
In other words, by working with Tom in Mammoth, I learned fundamental business skills that were very applicable to running my own ski-racing career. Learning how to manage my own resources and look at my ski career strategically were things I desperately needed to learn to be successful as an athlete with no support from the national team. Groundswell’s scenario based learning platform is exciting because, the practical application of knowledge allows you to bring real value to the business owner! You can read more about GroundSwell’s Mammoth camp and the business that we worked with by clicking here.
Learning to run a successful World Cup program after being cut from the U.S. Ski Team was a steep learning curve but I am so thankful for all the support I have received from family, friends, donors, sponsors and Groundswell Athletics. I believe that being great is an exercise in athletic perseverance, passion and work ethic that translates from the athletic arena to the business world. I know that the lessons I have learned during my days of success AND days of struggle on the ski slope will lead to a fulfilling career and life after my days as a professional athlete are over.