Keenan a pioneer in freestyle skiing
Bill Keenan was one of those kids that excelled in whatever sport he took part in and the higher and faster he could go, the happier he was. Growing up in Port Arthur he could be found winning races in the pool, helping lead the Hammarskjold High School Vikings to success in football, gymnastics and skiing and impressing campers at Shebandowan Lake with his water-skiing abilities.
It was on the hills of Loch Lomond during the 1970s that he developed his skills in the relatively new sport of freestyle skiing, which at that time included the disciplines of aerial, ballet and moguls, going on to become one of the countries early pioneers in the sport.
Taking his talents with him to the University of Calgary he continued to compete in gymnastics and in freestyle skiing, becoming a moguls specialist.
Named to Canada's National Freestyle Team in 1980 he remained on the squad for seven seasons. Keenan won Rookie of the Year in his first year in 1981. He won his first World Cup moguls event, going on to win nine in total over the course of his career.
Training hard he continued to make his presence known at national competitions and events around the world, posting a number of podium finishes. In 1983 he won it all, claiming the World Cup moguls overall championship title.
Retiring from active competition in 1986, his expertise was called upon to serve as a colour commentator for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games which featured freestyle skiing as a demonstration sport. An image of him in the air was also used by the Royal Canadian Mint to produce their $20 coin to commemorate freestyle skiing at the Calgary Games. His talents also earned him the opportunity to appear as a stunt skier in the 1985 James Bond movie A View to A Kill.
As one of the pioneers of freestyle skiing, and one of Canada's most successful World Cup moguls’ skiers, Bill earned entry into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 2001.
Throughout his career Bill never forget his roots, travelling back to Thunder Bay on occasion to provide workshops for young skiers and spending time at the Keenan family camp.
He has also passed his love of skiing and adventure along to his three children. Currently living in Florida, he continues to seek out the snow, travelling to take in the slopes and remaining active in a number of sports such as windsurfing, mountain biking and until most recently triathlon competitions.
Originally posted September 21, 2015