Jenn Heil: Olympic Champion, Freestyle Skiing (Moguls)

One of Canada's premier athletes and multiple Olympic Medalist in freestyle mogul skiing, Jenn Heil is a woman whose approach to life consists of a dedication to hard work and a vibrant spirit.

Originally an avid swimmer, Jenn took her passion for competition and transferred it to freestyle skiing when her lack of height became a limiting factor to success. Dedicated to her dream of competing for Canada at the Olympics, Jenn committed herself to skiing, and trained hard to attain national team status.

In 2002 Jenn took part in her first Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City where, as the youngest member of the Canadian Olympic Team, she finished 4th. Jenn then took a year away from skiing in 2003 to attend McGill University and build a plan for success. She returned to the World Cup circuit delivering unprecedented competition success with five Overall World Cup titles, 58 World Cup podiums, four gold and two silver World Championship performances, Olympic Champion in 2006 and Olympic silver medalist in 2010.

At the 2006 Olympics Jenn won Canada’s first medal of the games: gold. She was named the CanWest Media Canadian Female Athlete of the Year in 2007.  Jenn took the 2008 season off to complete her second full year of studies and returned the following season to the slopes in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Jenn once again delivered Canada’s first medal of the games: this time, silver. She captured both World Championship titles in her final season becoming the only skier to complete the skiing Grand Slam winning every title in her sport. Jenn’s approach to life is illustrated through her charitable endeavors. Her contributions in this area include:

  • Plan International, one of the world's largest child-centered development organizations. Jenn is a supporter of the Because I am a Girl campaign which promotes the advancement of girls in underdeveloped countries. During the 2010 Winter Olympics Jenn donated $25,000 to the Because I am a Girl campaign and initiated her fundraising challenge to raise $1,000,000 for the cause.

  • Speaking to students across Canada using her “Dare to Dream” theme. Dare to Dream emphasizes the importance of “dreaming big” while never giving in to perceived limitations. Jenn uses her own experiences to illustrate what can happen when one pursues their dreams.

  • Mentoring the next generation of female athletes hosting an annual “girls only” mogul ski camp with up-and-coming mogul skiers.

  • Jenn is co-founder of B2ten, a private sector initiative using a business based approach to assist Canadian amateur athletes with training and preparation resources. B2ten invitees are provided with an individualized, comprehensive approach to maximize their potential at the highest level of competition.

Living in Montreal, Jenn continues to work on her business degree at McGill University with a diploma in mind for 2013.

 
 

What's your favorite travel destination?
That is a tough one because I have now hit every continent (although there are still endless countries to explore). I love to go to a place without any expectations and just absorb the local flavor and charm of it. I would have to say my top countries are Spain for the architecture, Australia for the lifestyle, Japan for their rich culture and Burkina Faso for the people.

When you travel, do you get a chance to see some of the tourist spots?
It would be possible to travel from airport to ski hill and back again without seeing anything along the way. But I make a real effort to deviate off course. I have actually been able to see a lot of the countries I compete in and often have friends from the World Cup tour act as local tour guides.