Jackson Hole teen skiing sensation overcomes injury to pursue dream opportunities in industry | JHStyle Magazine


Standing atop a first-place podium is something every mountain-town athlete dreams of. Being there on crutches — with a new knee injury — is not exactly part of that dream.

However, this scenario was an influential part of local teen Cadel Carrigan’s story. At 16 years old, Cadel had just won the State Championship, competing on the Ski Racing Team for Jackson Hole High School, but mere inches after the finish line she crashed — hard. The impact injured her ACL enough to necessitate surgery, however her MCL was partially intact, meaning Cadel faced six mentally tough weeks of waiting for one injury to heal just enough to allow surgery to correct the next, and begin anew with a nine-month recovery process.

This injury seemed devastating, but ultimately led the teen, now 18, to find out what she was capable of. Cadel prioritized physical therapy and strength training to become physically stronger. Mentally, she was even more motivated to create new opportunities and pursue her dreams. Cadel returned from her injury with a standout winter season of steadily increasing her presence in the ski industry, partnering with brands, and getting involved in a dream project, the all-female ski film “Advice for Girls.”

Cadel gushes over the experience of filming spring powder days at Grand Targhee Resort for a segment of the film. “I don’t have words to describe how meaningful this film is,” she says. “We were skiing with a group of 14 girls, it was so cool. Everyone involved — they’re women who make magic happen.”

Lynsey Dyer and A.J. Cargill, both involved with the film, provided insights to the young skier. “They have gone through what I’m going through now, with injuries and starting out in a male-dominated sport.”

Cadel first glimpsed the possibility of a career in skiing at age 13, when Bomber Skis sent her a new pair of skis and featured Cadel on their website. “I was on cloud nine!” Cadel recalls. Next came a two-page spread in Snow Magazine. This was special to Cadel as she was photographed at her home mountain, skiing in Laramie Bowl, alongside Bart Flynn, one of two brothers who coached her from childhood. The Flynns instilled racing fundamentals along with patience and enjoyment of each turn.

“My mom keeps that photo on the wall of her office, and I smile every time I see it.” Cadel was soon receiving support from brands like POC, Aztech, Powder-LA — the list kept growing, even including Haribo gummy bears.

Cadel has since become adept at managing her high school schedule to fit classes, skiing, photo shoots, filming and her after-school job at a ski shop. “I never put skiing before my edu- cation, but I certainly put skiing beside it,” she says, and credits her sport with helping her tackle school and a busy schedule more easily. “It’s meditative. My mom and dad and I always call skiing ‘mindfulness in motion.’ ”

Skiing has always been a part of Cadel’s life. She was born in Jackson, and her formative years were spent in Teton Village, where she has always been surrounded by a community that’s welcomed her from infancy. “My first day back after my injury was very emotional, but I felt the love and support of everyone in my community,” she says.

These days, along with being eager to build on ski successes of last season, Cadel is filling out college applications and dreaming big about the future with skiing, and life beyond her teen years. “I would love to be in a Warren Miller movie one day, or own my own ski shop, or both.” This young skier is just getting started, and she’s already learned that her dreams may not look exactly like what she pictured — they can be so much better.