5 of the Greatest Women Free-Skiers
Five females smashing it on the freestyle skiing scene.
Today is the inaugural International Women’s Ski Day. In the past few years the number of ladies clipping in has declined and this event is hoping to address the fall in numbers. Women are currently outnumbered on the piste and the campaign, being led by K2 is hoping to encourage more ladies to get involved in the sport.
To inspire you ladies to pick up your skis and head to the bottom of the nearest ski lift we've brought you a 'top five' of the biggest, best and most important female free-skiers in recent years.
[part title="Kaya Turski"]
Turski is a slopestyle phenomenon. The Canadian has seven Winter X-Games medals to her name - six of which are gold and she is the reigning AFP Slopestyle World Champion and has finished atop the world rankings for the last five years. Not bad for a 25 year old.
On the way to her X-Games gold in 2010 she also set the highest ever score in the women’s Slopestyle competition with a tally of 96.66 - a record which still stands.
[part title="Sarah Burke"]
Burke had a huge influence on women’s skiing during her life. She led the way in women’s Superpipe riding during her career and successfully lobbied for the event to be added to the Winter Olympics to accompany the men’s events and it will debut in Sochi next year. Sarah won four X-Game Golds in her favoured event and was the first woman to nail the 720º, 900º and 1080º in competition.
In January 2012 she suffered an accident whilst training in the Superpipe. She suffered head injuries that ultimately proved to be fatal. A year later she was remembered by the crowd and her contemporaries at the X-Games in Aspen, Colorado.
Though she is gone her influence in women’s skiing is still strongly felt.
[part title="Elyse Saugstad"]
Saugstad is the renaissance women of female skiing. This point was proven when she won the Female Athlete of the Year award at the Powder awards - the freeskiing Oscars. Her success was built on her stunning entry in the Teton Gravity Research Co-Lab contest which she directed, produced, researched and of course starred in.
Before this win she was a frequent nominee for impressive back-country shredding and had previously won the Freeride World Tour, making the American one of the few to claim major honours in contest and movie worlds.
[part title="Ingrid Backstrom"]
Backstrom’s presence looms large over women’s freeskiing. While Kaya Turski dominates competitions around the world, Ingrid Backstrom is the big mountain doyen. For five of the past seven years she has take home Powder’s Female Athlete of the Year Award and has starred in multiple seminal movies including Attack of La Nina and All.I.Can, both of which won her accolades.
[part title="Grete Eliassen"]
Eliassen is a serial winner. She has six X-Games medals to her name across Slopestyle and Halfpipe and won four consecutive US Open Halfpipe events.
She’s also kind of a big deal in the movie game having won ESPN’s Best Performance in a Leading Role and the IF3 Montreal Best Female Performance awards for her movie, Say My Name - which she also co-produced. Grete also holds the world record for the highest hip jump when she got 31ft of air back in 2010.