The Warmup: A fiercely shy big mountain skier lets her skiing do the talking 

Today on THE WARMUP: We’re talking with two of the rippingest young skiers on Team Summit. 

Ask Emma Litwiller what she loves about big-mountain skiing, and she’ll think for a second, before shyly giving you the only correct answer.  

“I like face shots,” Emma tells Krystal 93 news director Phil Lindeman. “I like going off big cliffs and I like taking risks.” 

Emma is 13 years old. She is shy on the mic, but when she skis she is fierce, and she just risked it all to claim the best season ever. 

“I competed in seven competitions this year and podiumed in each one,” she says after glancing at the notes in her lap, like she might forget all the highlights she had. Her mom warned us she was shy. 

But Emma isn’t shy about letting you know where she hucked off cliffs: Telluride, Crested Butte, even Alta and Snowbird.  

Podiums across the west led to the IFSA Junior Freeride Championships, where Emma won her division on the gnarly Six Senses terrain at Peak 6 in Breckenridge. 

How did it feel to win on her hometown hill? 

“I thought I would never actually do that,” she says. “But then doing it, it’s like, ‘What?!’ I actually did it.” 

Emma just turned 13 last week, meaning she claimed all those podiums as one of the youngest skiers on the hill.  

Putting in the work 

Wrapping up her best season in the gates was Team Summit alpine skier Mackenzie Cross. 

“I had the goal of making it to regionals, which I did,” she says. “But then I had the unexpected goal of making it to Nationals, which is kind of like, ‘Oh, that would be nice to do,’ but I didn’t know if it would actually happen.” 

It did. This year was her first trip to Nationals, along with podiums at Breckenridge and Aspen. 

Mackenzie is 15 years old, and she’s not quiet as shy as Emma. Maybe it comes with age. Or maybe it comes with experience. The way she talks about training – and what it takes to unlock your best – is years ahead of her time. 

“Enjoy not only the skin but all the other aspects, like weightlifting and dryland, whatever it takes to get you where you need to be,” she says. “If you just focus on skiing it is really hard, whereas if you prep your body and you have the strength to do it, and the mental strength to do it, it makes it a lot easier.” 

For both skiers, this season is just the beginning of a bright, white future. 

“College skiing, professional skiing, whatever,” Mackenzie says. “I think just skiing in general and keeping that in my life would be very exciting.” 

“My goal is to make it to Worlds once I get into the 15 to 18 category,” Emma says in that fiercely shy tone. 

But for now, competition season is done. It’s time to go freeskiing.  

This is THE WARMUP from iFurnish in Frisco and Kremmling