Pacific Northwest native Jackie Wiles blasted onto the race scene early in the 2013 season in a big way, winning 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 securing her spot in her first Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Now a top contender on the U.S. Ski Team, Jackie is a proud member of the women’s World Cup speed team and considers herself a team player, constantly working on her natural talent and fearless ability to ski fast.
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.
How fast is Jackie? 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 her first Winter Olympics in Sochi, where she finished 26th in downhill.
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.”
Women's World Cup Speed Team, 2017-18 U.S. Ski Team: Stacey Cook, Breezy Johnson, Laurenne Ross, Jacqueline Wiles, Alice Merryweather, Julia Mancuso, Alice McKennis
Jackie secured her first podium in January 2017, placing third during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on January 15, 2017 in Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, Austria
Jackie stood on the podium for the second time in her career in January 2018, placing third and securing the win alongside teammate Lindsey Vonn and competitor Tina Weirather.
Jackie ranked 7th in the world and 3rd in the country in women’s downhill skiing, securing her spot in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as part of Team USA. A week before Jackie was set to compete in her second olympic games, she suffered a season-ending leg injury from a nasty fall during a World Cup race in Germany.
"I am more determined than ever to recover and come back even stronger. I’ve watched my teammates persevere through tough injuries, which inspires me. I'm Team USA on or off the slopes. Thank you to everyone for the love and support I have received. Your well wishes are felt."
/ JACQUELINE WILES /
A Note from Jackie
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.
I've learned earlier what it takes to succeed and to be the best I can be. I believe I had to go through 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.