U.S. Ski Team Athlete Kevin Francis Retires

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 14, 2009 7:04 am

U.S. Ski Team member and the 2008 National super G champion Kevin Francis (Bend, OR) announced his retirement from racing today.
”I’ve been focused on being a ski racer for so many years; it’s actually pretty exciting to take the next step in my life,” says Francis, who’s currently enrolled at Dartmouth College. “I have two more quarters here and then I’ll have my geology degree. There’s a lot of career options from there – I’m looking forward to the change.”

Francis had his share of injuries, but he also saw glory during his six-year stint with the Ski Team.  A dislocated knee at the 2004 U.S. Championships and a broken right ankle from a 2006 World Cup giant slalom at Beaver Creek, CO did little to slake his enthusiasm for skiing. In fact, he was back on the World Cup tour last season.

“Kevin had a lot of potential and that was something we knew from the start,” said U.S. Ski Team coach Tim “Swampy” LaMarche. “He did a good job fighting his way back to get a World Cup start last season, but weather canceled a few races and in others he was always a tenth or two on the other side of the 30.”

“He also taught me quite a bit about how to best communicate with athletes,” LaMarche added. “Kevin’s a good kid and will certainly be missed.”

In addition to his 2008 U.S. title, Francis credits the famed Hahnenkamm downhill at Kitzbuehel, Austria as being one of his career highlights. “Kitz was a huge accomplishment,” said Francis, who finished 33rd in the race. “Sure, I was just outside the top 30, but finishing that race is a victory. It’s such a show there and it’s the race every speed skier wants to start.”

“Ultimately, the thing I’m going to remember most is high-fiving my friends in the finish after a perfect day of racing,” mused Francis. “We had a day like that just a few weeks back at an Eastern Cup race at Burke Mountain in Vermont. The weather was so awesome. It didn’t matter where anyone finished, it was sweet just to be racing on such a perfect day with perfect snow – that’s a big reason why we race.”

Following graduation from Dartmouth, Francis hopes to move his career into studying hydrology with perhaps a focus on snow studies. Regardless, he plans to stay active in the sport of ski racing.
”I will stay involved at some level,” said Francis. “I just won’t be racing down the Hahnenkamm anymore. I love ski racing and will be a part of it for the rest of my life.”