Christina “Lusti” Lustenberger on the big mountain ski life
A few months back, I stumbled on the Sherpas Cinema film Children of the Columbia. The film, which is equal parts environmental advocacy and big mountain skiing, features two so called ‘children’ of the columbia watershed: Christina ‘Lusti’ Lustenberger and Dane Tudor. Interspersed with grainy footage of Columbia river communities over time are heart-pounding scenes of Lusti and Tudor careening down vertical snow ribbons in interior BC like they were born for it. In fact, it’s possible they were.
I walked away from the film with two thoughts: is this the future of ski films? (Fodder, perhaps, for a future post.) And, who were those ripping skiers? So you can imagine the psych when I found out that not only was Lusti visiting Aspen, but she was keen to join Doug and me on the podcast.
A skier basically since birth (her father owned a ski shop at the base of Panorama Mountain Resort in Invermere, BC), Lusti grew up flying out of slalom start gates. She went on to compete in several World Cup tours and represented Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics. After knee surgery number five (apparently not uncommon among racers), she retired from racing and embraced the next stage of her ski career: big mountain skiing.
Over the past several years, she’s racked up sponsorships from Arc’teryx, Black Crows skis, and most recently our publishing partner, The North Face. When she’s not charging down burly lines and tallying first descents the world over, she works as an ACMG guide and teaches ladies-only courses out of Revelstoke. She’s a true mountain gal.
Lusti’s deep well of experience in the mountains served a rich undercurrent for the conversation. We talked on the meticulous prep that goes into skiing big lines, her involvement in the Children of the Columbia project, the virtues of committing to skiing one’s backyard (more on that next week), and more. Insightful and thoughtful, Lusti inspired both Doug and me to think more deeply about mountain travel, especially in the hills we call home. And if an objective doesn’t work out the first time, try, try and try again.
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Manasseh Franklin is a writer, editor and big fan of walking uphill. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming and especially enjoys writing about glaciers. Find her other work in Alpinist, Adventure Journal, Rock and Ice, Aspen Sojourner, AFAR, Trail Runner and Western Confluence.