Pack Like a Pro: Hit the Mountains with Ski Guide Christina Lusti

Pack Like a Pro: Hit the Mountains with Ski Guide Christina Lusti

Christina Lusti grew up in the mountains of British Columbia where she adopted skis as her performed method of recreation early in life. While still a teen, Lusti joined the Canadian Alpine Ski Team and for six years she represented her country on the world stage. As a racer, she blasted into several top 10 World Cup finishes and competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The BC native now works as an assistant ski guide, endorsed by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and represents Arc’Teryx and Volkl Skis as a sponsored athlete. We caught up with her while she waited for the current ski season to kick off.

 Christina Lusti 135 cropped

Gear Institute: Hello Christina. You had a great career as young ski racer. What are you up to these days?
Lusti: I was born and raised in Invemere, BC, and my parents instilled a strong passion for the mountains in me. Until I was about 24, my life focused on traveling the world for ski racing. I’m still enjoying my mountain life, now as a guide and representative Arc’teryx and Volkl. Living out new adventures through skiing with great friends is something I hope to be able to do the rest of my life. 


Gear Institute: It sounds like you really love what you do. When you get out and enjoy that mountain life, what items—other than sponsor’s gear—do you carry with you?
Lusti: I always have a first aid kit and a gear repair kit in my pack. You never know when you, a companion, or your gear, will get damaged so being able to address emergencies in the field is important. Adventure Medical Kits offers some great combo first aid and repair kits. (NOTE: The AMK Hybrid 3 provides both first aid and gear repair solutions in one compact kit.) 


Because winter days are short and the risk of getting caught out late is very real, I also carry a headlamp in my pack. A compact light like the Petzl Tikka XP makes getting down dark trails easier.

Petzl Tikka XP

And my Leatherman Surge works as a do-it-all tool for everything from working on damaged bindings, to cutting up lunch.


Gear Institute: That makes sense. Of course, as a sponsored athlete, you also have a lot of specialty brand gear at your disposal. What items of your sponsor’s gear do you always carry?
Lusti: I love my Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hoody. The lightweight down sweater is perfect for layering in the backcountry, or for wearing around town after skiing.


My latest go-to ski is the Volkl V-Werks BMT 109. This is a perfect big mountain / backcountry ski for a wide variety of conditions. The carbon-fiber core keeps weight down without compromising strength.

Volkl BMT-2

Marker’s Consort Women’s Helmet fits wonderfully and is a must-have for any day on skis. 


Gear Institute: That’s great. Now tell us, how did you come to be a sponsored athlete? Do you have any tips for hot up-and-comers who want to live their lives in the mountains having fun?  
Lusti: After leaving the Canadian Apine Ski Team, I was on a mission. I planned to ski hard, gain backcountry experience and become a ski guide. I guess I achieved that by just applying myself to the mountains. By working hard, I got noticed. I was never chasing the sponsored athlete life, it just worked out. I connected with great people, got to know great companies, and now I feel very lucky for the opportunities and support.   

Gear Institute: So work hard and make connections while doing what you love. Sounds like great advice for anyone, young or old. Okay, you’ve traveled all over the world as a professional ski racer and athlete. Are there any special packing or gear-protecting techniques or tricks you’ve picked up over the years?
Lusti: My biggest tip would be to simply be prepared mentally and physically for the trip. Bring what you need to safely enjoy your adventure, and when packing, anticipate what you are getting yourself into so you have all the important bases covered before you get out there.

Gear Institute: One last question and we’ll let you go since I think it’s starting to snow. What is one gear item or trend you are especially excited about or interested in right now? 
Lusti: Good question. I am really excited about my new Volkl V-Werks BMT 109 carbon skis. This is becoming my ski of choice for big mountain touring. This is going to be a really exciting year for me as I have great confidence in these skis and all my gear. I am ready to get up high. 


Gear Institute: Wonderful. We’ll look forward to hearing about those new BMT Carbons. Thanks for your time.