Full Circle

When you do what you love…
and you love what you do…

Seven years ago, I stood where you stood – Gwen, Harriet, Carson and Adrian.  I was a first time Keely’s Ski Camp for Girls camper.  Like you, I was nervous about meeting the girls and coaches, staying overnight on my own, and wondering what it would be like to ski Hood.

girlsAs your coach this year, I tried to remember what it was like and worked hard to make sure that each of you had as much fun as I did at my first camp.  Here’s a picture from my first camp – can you find me?
(Hint: Look for the orange hat. :))

1st camp

This year was a big first for me as well – my first as a Keely’s Camp Coach!  Coaching is something that I take very seriously and know that by coaching I will become a better skier.  It’s so good for me because it challenges me to mentally think hard about skiing and then explain it to the athlete in a way that they understand it and get to apply that and realize improvement.  Every word counts, and it is fun to get creative and keep trying new things to help the girls to have a breakthrough in their skiing.


The girls all worked so hard on the hill.  We worked hard on drills and understanding why they are important and that it takes time and practice to master a new skill.  None of them gave up but kept practicing and trying.  They all were great listeners on the hill and during video.  It was especially  fun during video to show them that they were working on some of the same things I am – like keeping my inside hand up.  Everyone can learn by watching.

At the end of the camp, the best part about being a coach is knowing that each girl had fun and improved.  I really had fun with all the girls, getting to know each of you better, both as skiers and as individuals.

One evening, Keely asked me to do a Q&A session with the girls.  Each had the opportunity to ask me about my skiing and my journey.  Here are a few of the great questions everyone asked and my answers.

Q:  Katie, tell us about your race start routine.

A:  Great question!  Here is what works for me.  First as I ski down to the start from the chair,  I usually do my 3 favorite drills.  Then when I am waiting for my turn, I take time to warm up with leg swings, sprints and scorpion’s.  I also take time at the top to do one more visualization of the course. Then when it’s time and I am in the gate, I stomp my feet, take three breaths, poles over the wand and push out as hard as I can.

Q: What do you do during course inspection?

A:  When I inspect a course I focus 100% on the course.  I am always looking for places in the course where I know I can and want to carry speed.  I am making my race plan, finding my line, deciding how I want to run it.  That way when I am in in the gate I can just focus on skiing clean and fast.  I’ll have confidence that I know my plan and can focus on executing the plan.

Q:  How to you think about and use feedback?

A;  At the end of the day it is about trusting yourself and your plan.  Of course you want feedback and course reports to inform what you are going to do on the hill.  But trust what you saw in inspection and the plan you made.  The biggest tool in your toolbox is knowing what works for you.  If you aren’t understanding what your coach is telling you, tell them so that you both can try something else.

Q; What have you learned so far on your journey?

A: 1-  Find a way to always stay and think about the positive!  2 – Never stop looking for ways to keep improving, getting better/faster in your skiing.  3 –  Whether you are winning or loosing, always be the most humble person on and off the hill. 4 – Never give up, always give 110% and you will have no regrets.


To Keely, my coach – mentor -and friend.  No words can describe how much it means to me to have you be a part of my journey.  I wouldn’t be where I am or as prepared as I am for what is coming next.  Don’t stop what you are doing.  You inspire and bring out the best in every girl you touch.  You are impacting these girls for life and the difference you make will last our lifetimes.  Keely’s camp has positively impacted me in my skiing and my life.  It’s a testament to your passion and energy that I have been able to come full circle from camper to coach and become for other girls what you are to me – One of the most influential people in my life.

–Forever grateful and ready to contribute to Keely’s Camp…

Katie Hensien

One Reply to “Full Circle”

  1. Such an awesome blog. Loved every word. KT and Keely, keep it up. Your passion and hard work is truly inspiring.

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