Crystal-Rose Lee knows how to turn it on. In 2008, her first full year of competing on the big mountain circuit, she won the World Championships in Alyeska, and was second overall on the IFSA world tour.
That’s not to say she didn’t have a skiing backgound. Lee, who moved to Whistler from Vancouver right after high school, raced, then competed in ski cross slopestyle and halfpipe before making the switch to big mountain in 2007 where she promptly podiumed at her first competition, the Canadian Freeskiing Championships.
“I was shocked and hooked,” she says. “The big mountain style of skiing is incredible. There is so much freedom—you can ski the trees, catch air off of cliffs or even little bumps off the side of the run, and ski an open field of powder, all while going really fast everywhere. It is the closest thing to flying.”
In her off time from competing she’s pushing the next generation of Whistler skiers. “I coach a group of 8 girls ages 8-12. I’m determined to show them the mountain, so I take them everywhere. There’s nothing like seeing a 11-year-old girl throwing down in the park. I like to think that I have a large part in their success with skiing. I want them to love skiing as much as I do.”
Words by Heather Hansman