SKIING’s interview with Kristen Ulmer, one of North America’s top 25 skiers.
Name: Kristen Ulmer
Date of Birth: September 8, 1966
Age when you started skiing: Seven
Hometown/where you learned to ski: Henniker, NH/ Pat’s Peak — three miles away
When did it hit you that you could be a pro/competitive skier? “When I moved to Utah when I was 19 and I met Scott Markewitz — a ski model at the time — and another guy, Barry Johnson. They got me to ski in a movie Ecstasy— ‘not X rated’). At the time I was still skiing in jeans. I only wore one pair of ski pants between skiing in jeans and getting sponsored ski pants. I only had one or two shots in the movie. I also was supposed to ski for Warren Miller, but the cameraman didn’t actually push the button — he was only flirting with me.”
Current ski mountains: Snowbird and Alta
Claim to fame/results: “Every year for the last 10 years, somebody says something about me being the best female skier.” On US mogul team for a year; in 1992, won Mogul Nationals at Crested Butte; took second at World Extreme Skiing Championships with a blown-out knee (no ACL, torn MCL, ripped meniscus); was the first woman to ski the Grand Teton; has been in about 25 ski movies.
Signature tricks or event: Front flip — off a 30-foot cliff.
Have any pets? “I’m having a mad love affair with my cat, Sigmund, a rather good looking mutt.”
What’s your favorite food? Sushi
What’s your beverage of choice? “Red Bull or water. I really don’t drink — although I had a cosmopolitan at a fancy dinner with some movie-producer friends.”
What’s your favorite band? Beastie Boys and Chopin
Are you religious? “Spiritual? Yes. Organized religion? Absolutely not. I plan on having at least 10 husbands.”
What kind of car do you drive? Honda Civic hatchback “It’s really fast and very fun — and it throws my friends off because they expect me to drive a four-wheel-drive, but they’re no fun to drive in the snow.”
Last books you’ve read: All the Pretty Horsesand Conversations With God
Do you have a ski hero? Who? Why? Gordy Peifer — everytime I go skiing with him, I’ll be hacking away thinking I look pretty good, and Gordy will make it look effortless.
I changed my mind. It’s Shane (McConkey). He can do everything, and he can do everything really really well. And he’s a riot to hang out with. He’s an absolute genius on skis, and he’s a nutcase to hang out with.
Movies you’ve been in: 4 RAP movies; the Extremevideo series by Eric Perlman; Uprising(TGR); No Man’s Land(Christian Begin); three Warren Miller movies.
Pastimes off the hill: Rock climbing, paragliding (eight years), rides a lot, rode bike across India, African dance, yoga, ice climbing, and making lasagna.
Plans for the future: “Eventually, instead of jumping off cliffs, I want to earn my living writing and public speaking.”
What are your thoughts on the state of the ski industry? “It’s extremely healthy now, and I’m glad to see it. I think the reason it’s doing so well is because of big air. I’m really proud of being part of the resurrection of skiing through the freeskiing movement. Right now snowboarding isn’t as cool as skiing, and that’s pretty neat.”
How do you feel about the FIS/IFSA? “FIS is the reason why ski racing and freestyle skiing are such duds. You take the fun out of it, and it’s gonna fail. FIS is notorious for ruining the fun, and I think the FIS should keep their noses out of our business. They’ve killed the spirit of skiing in the past by making too many rules, so they should leave freeskiing alone. Go prey elsewhere.”
Do you think fat skis are a game-improvement tool or a crutch? “Of course, game-improvement. You’re still skiing to the very edge of your ability, only noww it’s 20 miles an hour faster. The challenge is even greater now because you can do so many more things if you have the balls to do it.”
Skiboarders? Shoot ’em or hug ’em? “I believe in ‘Love thy neighbor,’ but I don’t want to be seen with any of them.”
What’s the biggest scare you’ve ever had on skis? “Chamonix, Col du Plan. It makes everything else look like an ice cream sundae.” See “Cliffhanger” in SKIING’s February 2001 issue.
Any words of wisdom for our readers? “Stop thinking so much. Just go have fun.”