Hall of Fame Class of 2015
Combining precision, versatility and a go-for-broke style, Genia Fuller dominated in all the events and served as a charismatic ambassador in freestyle’s formative years.
Genia Fuller brought the perfect package of talents to the glory years of professional freestyle skiing: charisma, creativity, a radiant smile, moxie to spare, and brilliant on-snow versatility that was rooted in a figure-skating background.
In 1974, her first full season on the circuit, Genia became the first competitor to win all four disciplines at one event: aerials, ballet, moguls and the combined, an amazing feat in a sport that was already trending toward specialization. She was named Skiing Magazine’s Freestyler of the Year, an honor she would win twice more in the next four seasons as the ever-steady, dominant competitor in the sport.
Fearless both on and off the hill, she also led the effort to bring equal prize money to the women’s tour. She parlayed her skiing fame into high-visibility roles on the Women’s Superstars, in the Battle of Sexes, and in the ABC special “The Lady is a Champ,” which featured Genia alongside Billie Jean King and Chris Evert.
It all began on the ice, with the revered Skating Club of Boston, where at age 2 a precocious Genia was escorted around the rink by Olympic champion Tenley Albright. Fortunately for the sport of skiing, the mandatory school figures bored her, and that led Genia at age 13 to the rope tows at the 200-vertical-foot Jericho Hill in Marlboro, Mass. Her ascension as a skier was swift: She finished second in her first national junior freestyle contest at age 16, and then caught the eye of an unusual benefactor—an East Coast dirt track driver named Roy Lobb—who personally funded her trip to the 1973 national championships in Sun Valley, where she won the aerials, finished third in combined, and decided to dedicate herself to freestyle.
Over the next half dozen seasons on the professional tour, Genia won more individual and combined titles than any other skier. “Being consistent in all three events was important to me,” she says. “But I was happy as long as I had a crowd to turn on and music to ski to.”
Genia was an ambassador for the sport, a role model for the lifestyle, and an advocate with sponsors. She appeared in Willy Bogner’s W, and in various films for Warren Miller and Dick Barrymore. She took the sport to the masses by participating in more than 500 dryland ski shows, and modeled clothing in glamorous photo shoots for magazines ranging from Vogue to Town & Country.
Genia traveled an eclectic path in her post-competitive career. She found success as a country music performer, touring with the Gatlin Brothers, among other bands, and playing in front of audiences of 20,000-plus. She worked as a manager in retail before settling into her most recent career as an EMT and trainer based in Simi Valley, California.
1974: Season-long Grand Prix Champion; first winner of all four disciplines at one event (aerials, moguls, ballet, combined); season-long aerial and ballet champion.
1975: Season-long Grand Prix champion; winner of four of six overall events.
1976: Finished fifth overall despite an injury-shortened half season.
1978: Season-long Grand Prix Champion; winner of three of five overall events.
1977, 1978, 1979: All-Japan Champion.
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