It's a blue bird day at Teacup Lake Nordic area and the sun lights up the snowy peak of nearby Mt. Hood. I push off on a crust of perfectly groomed Nordic track on my classic skis, trying to catch...
Mount Hood-raised ski racer Jackie Wiles defeated some of the greatest ski racers in the world including her mentor Lindsey Vonn to take third place January 15th at a World Cup race in Austria.
Wiles, a 2010 graduate of Canby High School, grew up skiing on Mount Hood starting at age 5, competing in Mitey Mite Races with Cooper Spur Ski Team and the Meadows Race Team before moving on to the White Pass race program, NorAms and eventually the World Cup. She competed in the Sochi Olympics at the age of 21, finishing 26th in the women's downhill.
Wiles got a boost from Lindsey Vonn in 2015 when she just missed the cut for the US Ski Team's A Team. Being selected for the "B" squad meant limited support for the traveling and living expenses required for World Cup competition. It was a devastating result for Wiles, until she got a boost from Lindsey Vonn, the most successful woman racer in World Cup history. Vonn announced her decision to personally sponsor her teammate through Facebook:
Proud and excited to announce my personal sponsorship of my teammate and friend Jacqueline Wiles! Jacque needed funding to continue to follow her dreams on the World Cup tour and I was honored to help. In return, Jacque will be the first ever Lindsey Vonn Foundation ambassador, spreading our message and helping empower girls! Thanks for being such a good role model for the next generation! Let's kick butt this weekend!! #GoLVF #GirlPower
Wiles responded to the announcement with a 15th-place finish at Lake Louise, her best World Cup finish prior to her podium at the Altenmarkt-Zauchensee downhill in Austria. Wiles finished third behind Austria’s Christine Scheyer and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather. She narrowly beat the overall World Cup champion Lara Gut, who finished fourth, and also outraced Vonn, who finished 13th in her first World Cup race in 11 months due to her most recent injury.
Wiles, now 24, has managed to stay healthy and injury-free on the World Cup tour, and her big podium finish in Austria bodes well for future success.
Click here to see video of Jackie Wiles' biggest race to date.