Competing on the U.S. Ski team for 5 years was truly a great experience. As with many things in life, it had its ups and downs emotionally and physically. I just missed the 2010 Olympic team by one spot. It was one of the hardest things to swallow. It is something I probably won’t ever get over, but something I have accepted. Missing the Olympic team gave me the courage to take a different path, attend college, and pursue other passions of mine.
Taking 5 years off from school and then heading to college was a scary thought. Going back, sitting in a classroom, taking timed tests and writing papers was nerve racking. However, my drive, work ethic and determination that I had learned from ski racing, ski camps, and dryland training allowed me to accomplish that goal. I accepted a full-ride scholarship to the University of Denver and competed for the ski team. I was 2x All-American athlete, winning both a NCAA and World University slalom titles. On top of it all, I finished college in 3 years with the highest GPA in the Daniels College of Business Management Department.
With my business degree, and knowledge of ski racing, I co-founded a lifestyle backpack company called Sterling O’Keefe with designer Stephanie O'Keefe.
Traveling around the world, I noticed a lack of fashion in sports equipment backpacks and wanted to start something that I was passionate about and knew people would love and have fun with. They are durable, weather resistant to rain, blizzards, and subzero temperatures with the surprise element of being fashion-forward.
Moral of the story - Never give up. If a dream doesn’t happen make a new one and strive for it. Dream big and take action. When doors are closed, others will open and it's about taking the chance to step through them.