Kaya Turski was born in Montreal on May 3, 1988. As a teenager, she was big into in-line skating. She got her start in freestyle skiing in the spring of 2005 and won her first competition, in Vermont.
After a strong showing at the start of the 2006-07 season, she was forced to take a long break after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee. When she returned to competition in 2008-09, she won three Dew Tour events and finished third at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.
Turski has since won three gold medals at the X Games, and has set the X Games record for highest score in the women's slopestyle event. She also won silver at Deer Valley, Utah, in 2011, and gold at Voss, Norway in 2013.
In August, Turski once again tore her ACL, this time in her left knee — exactly six months before she is set to compete in Sochi, where is favoured to win. Undergoing rehabilitation, her sights are still set on victory.
Turski's greatest influences are her parents and Sarah Burke, the 29-year-old Canadian freestyle skier who died in training in 2012.
"I remember the first day I saw her in person, ... and I remember thinking, man this girl's hardcore and I want to be just like her," Turski said. "She's such an inspiration for me."
She splits her time between Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and Montreal.