Team Palisades Tahoe skier recognized for giving back
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Team Palisades Tahoe alpine racer Keely Cashman has been recognized for her efforts to give back and has been given the U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Team Athletes Giving Back Award for 2022.
The award is presented to a national team athlete for giving back to causes important to them. Each year, Cashman and her family head to Yosemite National Park to participate in the Yosemite Facelift, a three-day park cleanup. In addition to the award, Cashman will receive $5,000 to go toward the facelift project.
“Every ski season we made a trip to compete in the coveted Silver Ski race in the park at Badger Pass,” said Cashman in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard following Tuesday’s announcement. “Being surrounded by such beauty made me realize, from a young age, that the land needs to be preserved and protected.”
She learned about Yosemite Facelift from a high school friend and has since returned to the park to volunteer.
“The past few years my mom and I have volunteered,” added Cashman. “We are already looking forward to helping again this September.”
Cashman is coming off a season in which she made her Olympic debut. She finished 17th in downhill at the Olympics to lead the U.S. women. Cashman was also 27th in super-G.
“It was a dream come true for me,” she said. “Leading up to it with all the COVID things happening, I didn’t let it sink in until I was in the village. Once we got there, it was awesome.”
Last year was also the first time she had to make a comeback from an injury. In 2021 she was hurt after a training crash in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany that knocked her unconscious and resulted in an eight-day hospital stay.
“Last season was tricky for me,” said Cashman. “I was coming back from my first injury ever. It took a little more time than I had initially hoped to get back to the top level. Each race I got more confident. I thought my peak skiing was in China at the Olympics.”
Cashman returned to Garmisch last January, and admitted it was tough to get back into the starting gate at the course she crashed at the previous year.
“It was one of the most mentally challenging things I’ve ever done,” she said. “From the start, you stare at the spot where I crashed. That was crazy. But I skied decently there and was super proud of myself.”
Going into another year as a member of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard program, she said she’s feeling confident.
“Right now I have a great mindset,” said Cashman. “I’ve been training hard in the gym. I feel stronger than I’ve ever been. We have a whole new coaching staff with some younger girls coming up. It kind of feels like a fresh start. I’m trying to take my skiing and my confidence and the mental approach that I took into the last races of last season into the next season. So, I’m really excited – and happy.”
Cashman was also recently featured in a International Ski Federation’s behind-the-scenes video, in which she discusses life growing up in Strawberry, the 2021 injury, some of her hobbies off the snow, and her approach to ski racing. The video can be found at usskiandsnowboard.org.
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