Kasha Rigby: Rest In Peace  1970-2024

Kasha Rigby: Rest In Peace 1970-2024

By: Dave Hatoff Comments: 0

Stowe lost a local legend and world-renowned skier last week, Kasha Rigby.  She died in an avalanche while skiing the “Eagles Nest” section of the ski center in Brezovica, Kosovo, on February 13th.

Kasha grew up here in Stowe and her parents owned the Hob Knob Inn and Restaurant. She started skiing as soon as she could walk and honed her skills on the east coast ice of Stowe.  It was here as teenager that she picked up telemark skiing and quickly turned heads on the hill and in the surrounding sidecountry and backcountry areas of Mt. Mansfield.  After high school and a few semesters at college, she yearned for bigger mountains and more challenging terrain out west.  She then moved Crested Butte to make her mark in telemark racing and extreme skiing competitions. Racking up numerous wins on the tele racing circuit and many podiums on the extreme skiing contests (Many times against skiers on alpine equipment) her legendary status began to grow. 

Kasha wanted to continue to progress her skill sets as a skier and turned away from the resorts to human powered pursuits of exploring the far reaches and peaks of out west and beyond.

She then became known as a pioneering ski mountaineer.  She ticked off numerous first descents in many of the biggest mountain ranges around the world on telemark gear, as well as on AT gear in most recent years.  Some of her notable first ascent accomplishments are the rarely skied Mt. Waddington in British Columbia Canada, Cotapaxi and Chimboraza volcanos in Ecuador and multiple first descents in Baffin Island just to name a few.  In all she complied over 60 first descents, including 21 peaks in 21 days in Bolivia.

She was one of the original sponsored members of the North Face Extreme Team, along with the late great ski mountaineer, Hilary Nelson.  She laid the ground work and set the standard for female sponsored freeskiers and mountaineers of today, in an era that was completely dominated by men for the limited sponsorship dollars that were available at the time to become a pro skier.  Outside Magazine went as far to say that she “Was the best female telemark skier in the known universe.” in the fall issue of 1995.

Kasha has graced the pages of many ski magazines and was on the silver screen in many ski movies over the last 3 decades.   Early in her ski career, she showed was possible on leather boots, flimsy 3-pin bindings and skinny skis as she skied steep and technical terrain that was only thought to be possible on alpine gear. Those who saw her ski said she possessed grace, power, and agility that none had ever seen before on telemark gear, regardless of gender. 

She was recently engaged to Magnus Wolfe Murray as the couple was living in Salt Lake City, Utah when she was not traveling around the world to ski.

Some of us here at the shop saw her stop in this past fall to grace us with her presence. Although I had only met Kasha briefly a few times, I always admired her and watched her on TV and in the movies many times over.  She was a true hero in the world of skiing and certainly was big influence on my telemark skiing as well as countless others.

Mountain Ops is sending the Rigby family our heartfelt condolences and sincere thoughts as they try and process everything through these trying times.  This a huge loss for the Stowe community as well as for the entire ski world.  She will be missed, but certainly never forgotten.

The family has set up Kasha Rigby Transport, Memorial and Charity fund.  Please donate to:

Photo Credit: Rob Bowen

Kasha pictured at her home mountain, Stowe Mountain Resort and the Cliff House at the top of the Gondola.

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