Kristen Ulmer

During the 1990s, Kristen Ulmer blew up the freeski scene as the first true female extreme skier, impressing the likes of Scot Schmidt and influencing greats like Ingrid Backstrom. Then, she disappeared.
Words: Brigid Mander

“Skier Takes Acrobatics to Extremes: Kristen Ulmer enjoys the risk of jumping off 50-foot cliffs,” exclaimed the Los Angeles Times headline on November 14, 1990.

The Times’s incredulous writer had zeroed in on one of extreme skiing’s first and arguably best female stars, and one of the nascent sport’s outstanding personalities. She did, skied and said whatever she wanted—be it about skiing, society or gender. Ulmer may not have been universally liked, but respect is a different story…

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