Kasha Rigby - Telemark Pioneer

Passing Date

Kasha Rigby

Telemark Pioneer

Catherine "Kasha" Rigby, a leading figure in telemark skiing, died February 13 in an avalanche at a ski resort in Kosovo. She was 54. The avalanche occurred in the Eagle’s Nest area at the Brezovica resort.

Rigby grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she became a telemark skier as a teenager. She moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, to compete in extreme skiing events, and later moved to Utah.

She first made a name for herself in the 1990s as one of the pioneers of extreme telemark skiing in the U.S. With an aggressive, full-throttle style that earned her entry into such events as the 1996 U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships, Rigby challenged the common conception of telemark skiing as a laid-back approach to the sport. Rigby was featured in numerous ski movies and ski publications. In 1998, Outside magazine heralded her as “the best female telemark skier in the known universe.”

Rigby joined the North Face Ski Team in 1995 and skied first descents on mountains across the world. She is credited with the first climb and telemark  descent of the Himalayan Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world. Her Women’s Ski Expedition was first to ski the Five Holy Peaks in Mongolia.

Later in life, Rigby became an active humanitarian, helping with refugee and aid programs worldwide.