Kristi was a natural athlete from the start. Growing up in the small town of Uniontown Pennsylvania afforded her the opportunity to participate in many sports. She spent her school years swimming, playing basketball, soccer and running track and field. She might have pursued a college career as an athlete in any of those, but it was skiing and wakeboarding that became her driving passions. With winters at Seven Springs Ski Resort and long summers at nearby Yough Lake Marina, she developed world-class multi-sport skills. An instinctive and relentless competitor, Kristi always tried to beat anyone, male or female. She went on to compete at an international level in both sports before freestyle skiing became all consuming.
By her senior year in high school Kristi was an accomplished mogul skier, competing in Junior National and National Championships. She also competed that summer in both National and World Wakeboarding Championships. She planned to continue pursuing both sports, but the moment she discovered PoorBoyz Productions ski movies and the emerging world of Freeskiing, she was hooked. It was always Kristi’s ability in the air that most separated her from her skiing competition and she recognized the unlimited opportunity Freeskiing offered. She fell in love with the freedom and creativity of the sport and so, despite being the only prominent female participant at that time, she was soon willing to pass on her Olympic mogul dreams and commit fully to the then fledgling sport. She has never looked back.
Carving a path in such a new arena was not without challenges. Kristi spent the early part of her career fighting for recognition in a male-dominated environment. In the year 2000 she was the lone female competitor at the US Open of Freeskiing. Her appearance and performance were a surprise. Her early career was spent relentlessly lobbying event organizers and sponsors for the recognition and opportunities she felt women in the sport deserved. It is largely because of her talent and single-minded determination, both as an athlete and as an advocate, that women are now invited to compete at all Freeskiing events around the world. Today, no World Championships, X Games, or Olympics is held without a full and competitive female field. Kristi’s pivotal role in growing Women’s Freeskiing as a sport is one of her greatest achievements.
For nearly 20 years Kristi has traveled the world competing, filming, and promoting Women’s Freeskiing. She was one of the most prominent faces of the sport, stood on podiums around the world, won numerous awards, and was the first to perform many of the tricks women still use to win events today. Kristi was always in demand for her marketing potential, and she represented and fronted campaigns for some of the biggest businesses in skiing, including Oakley, Red Bull, Dakine, Rossignol, Monster and Faction Skis. She has also been featured in several well-known television shows. Her broad range of athletic abilities were put on full display with a winning performance on ABC’s “The Superstars” in the summer of 2009. She and her family’s hotel business were the focus of an episode of “Treehouse Masters” in 2014 and she appeared as a guest investor on CNBC’s “Adventure Capitalists” in October, 2017. She has appeared as a commentator for her sport. Most recently, as half of an all-female team, she and her teammate, fellow Freestyle skier Jen Hudak, made it to the finals of “The Amazing Race—Season 30” on CBS.
Kristi retired from full time skiing in 2013. She planned to continue building her role as a leading voice for women in all action sports. Before she could embark on this fully she found herself suffering from the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, the consequence of years of falls on snow and water. She was lucky, after many months of visual and vestibular therapy she was able to get back to full fitness. The experience stirred a passion in her to help bring knowledge and hope to others dealing with the issue.
Kristi continues to push her limits, endeavoring to be the best role model she can be for the next generation of athletes. She continues to be a voice for women in action sports and enjoys her role as a trail-blazer and mentor. She is passionate about empowering young women through experiences, and believes deeply in the confidence and positive self-image sport brings to their lives. Kristi is a public speaker and an entrepreneur. She is invested in several sports-related ventures. She has been around the world, has worked with many accomplished people, and is always looking for the next sports or business opportunity where her diverse skill set and life experiences can be put to use.