Northwesterner Jackie Wiles blasted onto the race scene early in the 2013 season in a big way. She won the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championship downhill title at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center hosted at Copper Mountain. She then won it again in 2014 and went to her first Olympics. Now firmly on the U.S. Ski Team, she's a full-fledged member of the women’s World Cup speed team and she’s constantly pushing everyone else with her natural talent and fearless ability to ski fast.
How fast is this Pacific Northwest ripper? Fast enough to land World Cup points in her rookie season, including a top 15 during a three-day stand in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, which ultimately punched her ticket to the Olympics (where she finished 26th in downhill).
Now it’s up to “Janky Lil J” to keep the momentum rolling. After a challenging 2015 season, Wiles was able to find the fire in 2016, finding her way back into the points consistently. Ultra-fast on training days, she'll look to translate that speed into her race day routine. At only 24-years-old, most would be overwhelmed, but Wiles' cool personality allows her to take it all in stride and juice every ounce of knowledge from each new experience. Watch out for her in 2017.
A product entirely of the Pacific Northwest Ski Association, Wiles was on skis about the same time she figured out walking. From there it was weekend trips to the mountain to learn all about what makes skiing fun with the White Pass Ski Club.
In the 2016 season, teammate Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) named Wiles the Lindsey Vonn Foundation's first-ever athlete ambassador. "I’m really lucky that I have such a great teammate as Jackie Wiles,” Vonn noted. “She needed help to be able to support herself this season, so I personally gave her money to be able to ski this year and in return she is the first ambassador for the Lindsey Vonn Foundation.”
WORLD CUP HIGHLIGHTS
3rd, DH, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT, 2017
10th, SG, Lake Louise, CAN, 2016
17th, DH, Cortina d'Ampezzo, ITA 2017
17th, DH, Val d'Isere, FRA, 2016
17th, DH, Lake Louise, CAN, 2016
Three top-20 World Cup finishes, 2016
21st, DH, Lake Louise, CAN, 2015
Scored World Cup points three times in three different disciplines (DH, SG, AC), 2015
Points over three straight races during rookie season, 2014
U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS TITLES
DH, Copper Mountain, CO, 2014
DH, Copper Mountain, CO, 2013
My name is Jacqueline Wiles and I am from Portland, Oregon. I first clicked into skis when I was just 2 years old and began racing at age 5. I was fortunate my parents would take my big brother, Steele, and me up to Mount Hood every weekend. I loved chasing him all around the mountain. They instilled such a passion for skiing in me at a young age. It wasn’t long before they decided to put us on the race team as it was cheaper than taking lessons. I was a very active kid who did just about every sport that I was capable of. At the end of the day, ski racing had my heart and I knew I wanted to make it as far as possible. Just like every young ski racer, I aspired to make it onto the US Ski Team and go to the Olympics.
Growing up racing I learned a lot, and I believe the sport has really shaped me into who I am today. I used to have so much fun ripping around with my teammates, and the bond we shared was special. Through my younger years I became very successful from pure joy and untrained athleticism. Skiing became easy for me because it felt so natural. I always went out to have a blast, and that I did, until the other girls started spanking me and I needed to learn the true definition of working hard.
After graduating high school I had a decision to make, go to college or continue to fight for my dream. This choice was simple for me. I knew I could always attend college, but I only had this moment to pursue my goals. Racing was my life and the path I wanted to take. I loved the sport so much and didn’t want to give up.
The next few years were really tough. I struggled and didn’t know where to turn. These were some of my toughest and lowest years. I wasn’t in school and my skiing was getting worse. It was very hard and people told me to give up because I wouldn’t make it. It was heartbreaking to hear, and I didn’t know where to turn for help or what to do. I was frustrated and decided to use my frustration in a positive way to fire myself up. I wanted to change my direction. I reassessed my situation and realized my old ways were not working, I needed to do something about it. The first step was examining all the things holding me back and figuring out what I could do to get better. I came to a conclusion that I needed to get in better physical shape. I was not giving myself a shot to compete with the others. I had always assumed that I had worked hard and had good conditioning. What I had come to realize is that, wow, I wasn’t even close.
Once I decided to really focus and work hard on my body I saw a dramatic change in my skiing. I met a fantastic trainer, Troy Harvey, and decided we’d be a good fit. He took me on 3-4 hours a day for 5-6 days a week. I had never worked so hard in my life. It was incredible how much further I could push my body. I was much stronger the next race season and ridiculously faster on the slopes. I could pull off much more and resist against the new forces I was creating. This was a huge eye opener to me; to see the hard work I had put into the gym pay off on the hill. From that time on I understood hard work and how to push myself to be the best that I can be.
My next season I won some Nor-Am Titles, a Downhill Championship, and made it onto the US Ski Team. This was a dream come true for me and I was ecstatic. I had finally accomplished my goals, but I could not be content with just making it. I wanted to stay on the team, not just be in and out. I had to keep working hard and striving to be better.
My Rookie year I had starts for all the World Cup speed events that I had earned the previous year. I figured the team would just take me to a couple races to get a feel for the next level. What happen in that year was incredible and has changed my life.
I did well enough that they decided to keep taking me along race after race. I was an excited, nervous, scared, anxious girl, eyes wide open and up for anything. I memorized six new downhill courses. It was an incredible year and I learned so much. I was close to scoring many times and then finally punched into the top 30 the last race before the Olympics. I placed 15th and made the US Olympic team a week before the start of the games in Sochi.
This was the most incredible feeling I have ever had. Remembering where I had come from only a couple years earlier, being told I would never amount to anything, to now making the Olympics and scoring World Cup points in my Rookie year. The 2014 season was incredibly rewarding. Not only did I prove those people wrong but I proved to myself that I was worthy of competing with World Cup Athletes and I deserved to be there. I know I surprised some people but not myself because I knew how hard I had worked…I just never knew it would happen this fast.
The next two years were the biggest learning experience in my career. I am excited for this next season as I understand what to expect, I am better prepared, I am skiing better and I'm in great shape. I've learned earlier what it takes to succeed and to be the best I can be. I believe I had to go through those rough times to fully understand what it takes to succeed. I learned a huge lesson when I was at my lowest, taking it into my own hands, and making it to where I am now. I will never take this opportunity for granted, and I vow to enjoy every minute of every day and appreciate the Journey. Thank you for taking the time to read about my story.
© Team Wiles 2017