Kaya Turski Announces Retirement
A stellar career
On Tuesday, X Games freeskier Kaya Turski announced her retirement from her 10-year career in competitive freeskiing. "Through thick and thin. Forever grateful for this dream I have lived," said Turski via Instagram following her announcement. Here, XGames.com takes a look back at Turski's stellar career, which includes 10 X Games appearances and seven total X Games medals (five of which are gold).
The most dominant skier in women's slopestyle history, Turski has seven X Games medals -- all slopestyle. While injuries forced her to miss XG Aspen 2015 and 2016, she returned to Aspen in 2017 and landed a switch double cork 1080 in Big Air, the second in X Games history. Here, Turski shreds the Winter X Games 14 course in 2010.
"Looking back and writing out the list of injuries I've experienced, I have to smile at the slight insanity of it all: a severed pancreas, lacerated kidneys, bruised lungs, four knee reconstructions (three ACL), a torn and reconstructed shoulder, a shattered and plated arm and finger, different dislocations in my wrist, shoulder and sternoclavicular joints, and countless other hard impacts to my body, and here I am to tell the story," penned Turski for CBC Sports following her announcement.
In 2012, Turski took gold in Women's Ski Slopestyle at Winter X Games 2012. Later that year, Turski was nominated for an ESPY for Best Female Action Sports Athlete. Snowboarder Jamie Anderson ultimately took the win, but the nomination helped to raise the level of Women's Ski Slopestyle even further.
Turski's domination of Ski Slopestyle reached beyond the X Games and into international territory. Here, Turski takes first place at the 2013 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championship in Voss, Norway.
Sharing the stoke
"I just want to say, one of the things I have always loved about growing up in the slopestyle pre-Olympic era was the fact that we were never grouped into countries, nations... no cliques," said Turski via Instagram. "Just a bunch of friends shredding together, sharing the stoke and love of sport, helping each other progress. And I will always value that, value my ski homies for who they are rather than the country they represent. It never mattered, and that will always stand true to me."
Changing it up
After dealing with the disappointment of a poor performance at Sochi 2014, Turski had her sights set on the 2018 Olympics in Korea. But last week, Turski announced that she is now attending the University of British Columbia to pursue a degree in sports and performance psychology.
Importance of balance
"As a young athlete and eager soul, I wanted to train, train, train. Practice, dial it in, compete hard. More time? More time to drill," said Turski earlier in the month. "It was only later that I discovered the importance of balance -- letting myself rest. Breathe. Rejuvenate. Love! Time to take care of the body, the soul, and loved ones. Creating space for the things that will only make me live fuller, with more purpose."
Turski blasts during Women's Ski Slopestyle eliminations at X Games Aspen 2017. Things didn't go quite as planned after Turski hit her head in practice. She opted to sit out the finals and left Aspen with a black eye and a fresh perspective on injuries. "Things could've been a lot worse," said Turski.
"I'll miss the freedom the sport offered me. I'll miss soaring in the air. I'll miss my ski family with whom I built special bonds in the outpouring of our souls into common goals," Turski told CBC Sports. "And thriving under extreme pressure, putting my entire being on the line of performance. It was in those moments that nothing else mattered -- pure existence, pure presence."
Turski finished fourth in Women's Ski Big Air at X Games Aspen 2017. She started with a safety trick, then crashed three straight times attempting a switch double cork 1080. Even with a perfect score on her final hit, the best she could have finished was bronze. From a contest perspective, she had little to gain by trying it one more time. That didn't stop her. She wanted to land the double cork in a competition, and she did.
"To my family, my friends, my supporters, so so many of you, we moved mountains," said Turski following her retirement announcement. "Thank you!"