Casey Adams first strapped on a pair of skis at the age of one and a half. About five years later, she decided she wanted to wear them to work when she grew up.
“What really inspired me was watching the Olympics,” she said of the 2006 Winter Games. “After watching the Alpine skiers I decided — ‘I want to do that one day.’”
Adams, 17, attended Challenge to Excellence Charter School from kindergarten to eighth grade, but her schedule grew hectic as she spent more time training in the mountains. To cut down on travel time, the family came up with an unconventional living arrangement, and at 14 the slopes became her second home
Casey and her mother Karen now live in Breckenridge, commuting about an hour each way to Casey’s Minturn high school, Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy. Casey’s father is still in Parker, as was her older brother until he left for flight school in January.
“We knew we would be spending more time in Breckenridge than in Parker,” Karen said. “People in the Front Range don’t understand her schedule sometimes, but we make it work … In the summer when everyone else is going to the mountains, we go home to Parker.”
Casey said the change in schools was intimidating at first, and it took some time to ingratiate herself with her new friends. But being in school with a group of like-minded competitors has created a tight bond between her and her classmates.
“I’m training with all the same people every day, we go to class together, and we travel together,” she said.
Skiing competitions and trainings have taken Casey and her teammates around the country, and the world, including two three-week trips to Argentina and Chile over the last two years.
And the training is paying off.
Casey recently competed in the International Ski Federation Speed series in Aspen, earning her first top 10 finish, eighth place, in a downhill event. She also earned a spot to compete in the NORAM Alpine Speed events in Copper Mountain, competing with many members of the United States Ski Team.
Casey said she’s keeping her career options open, researching colleges that have strong mathematics programs as well as ski teams. But her dream of making the U.S. Ski Team is still alive, and carving a sharp turn at full speed still gives her the same adrenaline boost she remembers from her first downhill run.
“I just love adventure, I love speed,” she said. “It’s just such a rush.”