Christina Lustenberger: high speed

A newcomer to black crows, this ex-alpine racer, turned ACMG ski guide possesses all the attributes of a prominent mountain skier: passion, drive and constant wonder.

Christina Lustenberger, aka Lusti, grew up in Invermere, British Columbia. That’s where her parents, Jane, originally from Vancouver, and Peter, from Switzerland, have had Lusti’s ski shop and coffee bar for 36 years in Panorama Mountain Resort. “Growing up in Invermere was great. It has such a great community and it’s a beautiful place. I was lucky to have such keen skiing parents: every weekend it was either go skiing or stay in the car,” recalls Christina. It was in this environment that she got it into her head to become a champion alpine skier. “At a young age I wanted to be a ski racer. I wanted to be fast and win but mostly just beat or ski as fast as the boys”.
She followed on this path and got into the Canadian national team. During her career, this giant slalom specialist achieved numerous top 10s and had the honor of representing her country at the Torino Winter Olympics. But five ACL surgeries ultimately took their toll. That’s why at 24, the girl who used to take her touring skis with her on the FIS circuit, decided to take up a new challenge, to become a ACMG ski guide.

“I started backcountry skiing when I was 15 and I guess it stayed in my mind somewhere. I have always enjoyed the mountains so climbing and skiing seemed like a great way to get up high and see beautiful new places. When I left racing, I wanted to continue skiing and pushing myself. Guiding seemed like the ideal job and after competing at a high level it was easy to set new goals and to work hard to achieve them. I enjoyed the process and I’m still learning as I go. Between the guiding courses and some good ski partners, I’ve learned a lot about ski mountaineering and especially one of the things I love, steeps.

Her appetite for exploration inevitably led her to Chamonix where she was initiated into the massif by the sadly missed Dave Rosenbarger, aka American Dave, lost in an avalanche in Italy in January 2016. “I met Dave within days of arriving in Chamonix. We spent a few weeks skiing together and he taught me a lot. It was so amazing to ski with someone who loved and mastered the steeps. I miss skiing with that guy!” It was also through him that she met Camille Jaccoux and made her first ties to black crows. “Most of the people I met in Chamonix were through Dave. It’s become like a second home to me and normally come at least once a year. I love it there, it’s so beautiful.”

She’s been based in Revelstoke for 8 years and is a qualified ACMG guide and fully committed to her new occupation. In this temple of freeskiing and mountaineering, far from the family home, she can at least count on the presence of her big sister, Andrea. “She’s an amazing skier. She works for Heli Cat Canada and Revelstoke Backcountry Guides. It’s so nice having my sister in Revy. We ski together, trail run, go for coffee and support each other. I love life here and hopefully we can get our parents over too.” In the meantime, Christina is using her base camp to plan many different projects in the mountains. And while she may be the frontrunner, there’s no question of her resting on her laurels.

“I love skiing so much, I’m not competitive anymore but still driven to continue evolving into a professional mountain skier. And I still want to beat the boys!”

Christina shares some of her great moments in the high lands.

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