From Moguls to Mountain Tops: Kylie Sivell Spells Out Her Creds and Favorite Places to Shred
Profile of a Pro
Kylie Sivell started skiing when she was just two years old. At ten, she started competing in mogul skiing, working her way up through the rankings to make the Ontario Mogul Team. This provided her with the opportunity to compete at a high level across North America for five years. Following her mogul career, she moved to British Columbia to attend college and quickly discovered a new passion: big mountain skiing. She entered her first freeride contest in 2012, and was immediately hooked. She spent the next four years on the Freeride World Qualifier circuit and finished up the 2016 season ranking first in the world, qualifying for the Freeride World Tour in 2017. On the 2017 FWT—her first—she was amazing, reaching the podium three times during the five-part event. She finished fourth overall and was named Rookie of the Year. What does the FWT 2018 season have in store? We’re amped to learn how she plans to approach her second season on the tour, as she navigates challenging lines at iconic mountains, alongside the best freeride skiers in the world. Read on to hear from our ambassador and favorite Canadian shredder.
A Closer Look
Q: Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on all things Kylie as you begin a packed season! Give us a snapshot of some highlights and stand-out moments from the last few seasons, and what’s got you particularly pumped up for this season.
A: My favorite places I skied were those classic bucket lists ones that are on every shredders hit list: Japan and Alaska. Last year, I spent my birthday in Japan and it snowed 16-ft in 10 days, for sure living up to all that “Japow” hype. Haines, Alaska was also so mesmerizingly beautiful…getting amongst those peaks was incredible. At the end of the day, the people I met along the way really made the experience. It is so cool to meet people from all over the world, then and hang out and shred. I’m always stoked to shred with the homies no matter the place or the weather. Boilerplate groomers can be just as fun as the pow, as long as you are smiling.
Q: Where and when did you first start skiing?
A: I got my start skiing at Osler Bluff when I was 2. Osler is a not-so-tall mountain in Canada, in the heart of apple country on the southern shore of Georgian Bay. I was also lucky to live just 10 minutes away from Blue Mountain, where I would go after school to snowboard with my friends.
Q: Do you think starting skiing and riding at such a young age gave you an advantage, or was it access to snow, or both?
A: I think for me, it was for sure starting skiing young. In Ontario, I didn’t have access to the big mountain riding you find in the west. I remember my first time visiting Colorado and being baffled that so many ski hills could exist so close together! It wasn’t until two years later when I went back that I realized those “ski hills” were slide tracks—mind blown.
Q: Where’s your official home base, and do you have an unofficial second home area you spend a lot of time at?
A: My current home base is Rossland B.C. I suppose my unofficial home base would be the back of my truck or my tent.
Q: How would you describe your ski style?
A: I don’t really know, I like to think I look good all the time, but I could just be a lil flailer out there. 🙂 (Editor’s Note: Kylie is definitely NOT a flailer)
Q: What is your favorite mountain to ski at and why?
A: I love to shred Red Mountain. Over the past four years of skiing there, I have committed 2.5 of our 3 mountains to memory, and the lift access terrain is unlike anything I have ever skied.
Q: Who or what has influenced your style?
A: Growing up as a competitive mogul skier was the most influential experience in my skiing background. I have to say, if you can ski a mogul course and throw two 20-ft airs (mine were cossac and front flip) in the middle, you can make it down almost anything.
Q: Do you have a favorite skier (or athlete) to watch?
A: Honestly, I love to watch all kinds of people shred. It is so inspiring to see how others read the mountain and see different lines. I do love to watch Arianna Tricomi ski on the Freeride World Tour because she slays and inspires me to go big.
Q: Do you have any four-legged family members? If so, does your dog like to play in snow?
A: My sweet, sweet baby is named Lemon. She is a black lab mix and I named her Lemon in case she turned out to be a bad girl, but she’s the best! She is currently in Ontario with my parents and her step-sister dog Jellybean, a Bernese Aussie mix. And yes, I named them both.
Q: Can we pry and ask about your most memorable ski experience, most epic fail, or both?
A: Hmm, that’s a difficult one! I have had many a flail. Earlier this season I was skiing my first day at Revelstoke, and I had left my 130 flex boot shells in the car. Being the multi-tasker that I am, I decided to get changed inside the gondola. I was wearing a thrifted coat (which is so sick, but not so tech) and could not get my boots on. Bear-hugging my skis, I scared two people out of the gondola, had to wrap my shells in my coat to warm them up a bit, got out at the gondola, and was promptly asked by the lifty to relocate myself! My friends also left for a lap, but I caught up before they got on the chairlift.
Q: If we opened your gear closet, what would we find? What essentials do you not leave without having on you before hitting the slopes?
A: Well…currently you would find my bedroom floor. Things have been a little hectic lately!
Q: Which musical artists would we find on your current playlist? Do you always listen to music while you ski, or do you also tune into the natural sounds around you?
A: I love nature and the outdoors, but I like to listen to super chill music when I ski. For a long time I was listening to calls to meditation type music. I also really like chill electronic tunes, and I have this one Lianne LaHavas and Lil’ Spook track that I could listen to all day!
Q: Besides skiing, what other activities and hobbies do you love?
A: I love to bike, snowboard, climb, and just max out. I also sew as a hobby—I usually remake thrifted items to be rad or fun onesies for the aforementioned maxing out.
Q: According to several fellow Snowledge ambassadors and team members, you’re one of the most carefree, easy going, relaxed competitors on the entire freeride circuit. A lot of competitors struggle with nerves before their runs. How do you keep calm and focused before you drop in? What’s your secret? We love secrets…
A: I try to treat every contest run like a normal run. I listen to a super chill jam on repeat before I compete, and I often ski to meditation tunes. I almost always have a piece of clouded quartz crystal on me—it’s supposed to keep you grounded and calm. Before I drop in I also visualize breathing in cool calm energy and breathing out the jitters. Luck is also one of my favourite things 🙂
Q: Last year you competed on the infamous Bec De Rosses in Verbier for the FWT Finals. What was that experience like? How did you prepare yourself to ski a venue that a lot of people consider the most challenging (and terrifying) freeride venue around?
A: The hike up was so scary that once it was done, I was already chilled out quite a bit! We had to go up the side of a bowl with about a 20-30 meter cliff drop on the left and a boulder field on the right. The snow was that granular sugar kind and it would sort of give way under your feet.
Q: Which stop on the FWT18 circuit are you most excited to ride and why?
A: I am so excited to have a 5* event at Kicking Horse, BC this year. On the surface, I’m stoked to not have an exchange rate and be only a few hours from home. I am also super stoked to be able to ski with my friends from the Tour in Canada after the event. This is our first event in Canada in years and I want to perform well. I almost don’t want to mention it, but it does put more pressure on me. I have won the last 2 events I skied at Kicking Horse (4* in 2016, and in 2015) but I’m trying not to think about that and just have fun with it!
Q: How many stamps might we see in your passport, and where do you want to ski but have not yet gone skiing?
A: last year I hit 13 countries and it was insane. I think I got like 12 different illnesses along the way, but it was worth it! I’m super stoked to go back to Japan and would love to go back to Alaska some day and ski more terrain with safer avy conditions. The new features in the Snowledge app will definitely help me stay better connected with the local community at these mountains and help get a better idea of what the snowpack is like.
Q: What are things you like about the Snowledge app?
A: I’m pretty stoked on the Snowledge tracking feature. I would love to know who is the real queen of the mountain!
Q: Who are your other sponsors?
A: I am currently riding for Kastle Skis, Mons Royale, Red Mountain Resort, Powder Hound (a local ski shop), Timberline Alpine Academy, and Peak Performance.
Q: What are your goals for this season, and long-term as an athlete?
A: That is a good question. I want to stay mostly injury-free and have fun. I’m not so good at planning, so I focus on what’s immediately ahead of me.
Q: For the next generation of women and girls making their way up in the world of active and professional skiing, what would you recommend that they keep in mind?
A: I like to think that if you are making sacrifices for the things you love, they are not really sacrifices, it’s just life. Sometimes skiing is a lot of work and dedication. You can be looked down upon for being a girl and not following the “normal” construct of society. But don’t stress—let things flow organically and enjoy the moment you are in. It’s the most fun most of the time! There are so many people who don’t follow through on their goals or passions, so just go for it! Don’t let sexist ad campaigns or social norms get you down or feeling dismayed. You don’t need to post a bikini pic to get noticed, but if you want to then hell ya girl, we are all freaking beautiful creatures!
Q: Finally, if our readers want to tag along virtually on your latest stops, where can they go to follow you?