Freestyle Skiing – Winter Olympics Day 13

Janina Kuzma: Hot. Cool. Yours.

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Janina Kuzma is a lady of spice and everything nice. At 28 years-old, she is a force of nature in all areas of skiing. From the Freeride World Tour to Half-Pipe, to the Olympics to starring in films, she does it with style, class and sass. Her ski journey is one to be heard.

A lady of the Southern Hemisphere, she was born in Australia and grew up in Papua New Guinea and Borneo. At the age of 8, her father’s work connections in the coal mining industry led her family to visit the Great White North to the small Kootenay coal mining town of Fernie, BC. The endless terrain, the powder and the people, kept her and her family coming back for years to come. Little did 8 year-old Janina know that she would later move to Fernie to learn how to shred like a local. And little did the locals know, that they would be following-let alone trying to keep up with- a lady from down under.

Fernie friends, take note. Janina would like to give you major credit for the pivotal role you played in her ski career. You showed her how to pick lines, navigate the backcountry, how to play in the pipe, master the ‘jib line’ and even rip moguls with the old guys. You gave her the encouragement to compete in the 2005 Fernie Freeski Comp where she doesn’t even remember her line while dropping into the legendary Fernie head wall, but only remembers all the people cheering and high-fiving her at the bottom. And this was the moment that Janina knew she could find the will and a way to make skiing a bigger part of her life than she ever thought was possible.

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In 2009, Janina became the first woman to win a Big Mountain and Pipe title in the NZ open. With all her might and her dreams in-sight, she rose to the top on the women’s competitive scene, but not without her fair share of challenges. During the 2011-2012 season, she competed on the FWT circuit with a broken back from an injury she endured at a half-pipe training session. This was a huge mental barrier for her to overcome, knowing first-hand the repercussions of throwing tricks in the pipe.

In order for her to address this fear, she worked with a sports physiologist on ‘image processing’ where she trained her mind how to be calm and how to be in the moment. She learned how to mentally train her body while physically doing the trick.

To perfect a trick you have to throw it 100 times. Everyday, I would put 5min aside to get my muscles twitching.

Dedicating serious time and energy to her mental capacity, Janina developed a strong foundation to show the half-pipe what happens when a fearless and good lookin’ lady drops in. With the inclusion of pipe in the 2014 Olympics, Janina made the decision to take time off from the 2011-2012 FWT circuit to purely focus on pipe;  so she could impress Putin at Sochi…

And that she did. Janina danced and pranced away from the Sochi Olympics with a 5th place finish, even after a MacDonald’s diet to supplement ODing on borscht. Now that’s a true big mountain ripper turned Olympian!

I was buzzing. I was probably the happiest 5th place person!

Already, the NZ Olympic Committee has began planning Janina’s next 4 years for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea; the tricks she needs to learn, what to improve on, etc. And Janina is absolutely ready to take on the challenge and is brimming with glee to learn more tricks in a sport that is progressing so fast for girls.

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However, it is time for this lady to get back on the high horse, out of the pipe and into the mindset of Big Alaska lines and spines. Next week, Janina is headed to Haines, AK, to film for the upcoming all female freeski movie Shades of Winter.

Look out ladies and gentlemen, Janina Kuzma is HOT, COOL, YOURS (said with a throaty Russian accent). She is a lady who knows what she wants and is ready to get after it with one good lookin’ grin on her face.

For the latest and greatest on Janina, visit her blog

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