BAÏST Ambassador Spotlight
From the Mountains to the Ocean
Kickass BAÏST Ambassador Kyra Hunsicker is more than a mountain athlete. She’s also an avid surfer, runs her own apparel brand, and works for a nonprofit animal shelter. Learn more about Kyra in this Q&A.
By Owen Clarke
Can you give us the nuts and bolts of your backstory? Where were you born? Where’d you grow up?
My name is Kyra Hunsicker and I am 27 years young. I was born in Doylestown, PA but moved to Bartlett, NH when I was 4 years old. I grew up in the very small town of Bartlett in a house in the middle of the woods with zero neighbors. My brother was my best friend and we spent our free time exploring in the woods, building forts, climbing trees, swimming in the pond, sledding, etc.
My parents divorced when I was eight, but both stayed in the Mount Washington Valley. I went to high school at Fryeburg Academy and graduated from the University of New England in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Art.
Since then, I have bounced around living in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. For the last three years I was based out of Newry, Maine, working at the ski resort Sunday River. Just this past year I ended up leaving my ski bum job/lifestyle and moved to the coast. I now live in Scarborough, Maine.
So, how long have you been skiing? When did you start?
I started skiing as soon as my family moved to New Hampshire when I was just four years old. I learned how to ski at Attitash in Bartlett. So I've been skiing for 23 years. My elementary school was right down the road from Attitash and in the winter we had "Ski Days" at school where once a week we skied for half the day. It was awesome, and I think a huge reason why I became hooked on skiing.
What draws you to outdoor sports, in particular?
Growing up in the woods made me really comfortable with being outside. I love being outside in the fresh air and I also love the natural obstacles and challenges that come with outdoor sports.
You’re a big surfer as well, yeah? What’s the surf like up in the Northeast?
I grew up in the mountains, so surfing was never really an accessible sport for me. Once I went to college near the ocean, I attempted to surf a handful of times but just couldn't get the hang of it. Everything about it was so foreign to me. When I moved just miles from a great surf beach, I knew I wanted to pursue surfing again. I bought myself a board and spent all of my free time in the water (when there were waves).
In the summer the waves are small and less frequent, but any moment out there was just a chance for me to get more comfortable on my board. Before this year I could never understand how people would surf in the winter. First off, I'd rather be skiing, and second, I had no desire to be in the freezing cold water. But, after getting hooked on surfing this summer and continuing into the fall, I was really excited to keep surfing in the winter. Turns out, I love it. Being in the ocean, while the air temp is in single digits, and the sun is rising as the water freezes on my face is actually pretty magical.
Since you play both sides of the aisle, what are some of the key differences and similarities between watersports (like surfing) and snowsports?
Watersports and snowsports are both so different, but also have a lot of similarities. With skiing, I feel like there is more diversity. You can ski trees, powder, groomers, backcountry, etc. The waves and places we surf can always be different, but there is just more variety with snowsports. Both sports, however, are at the mercy of Mother Nature. We can't ski if there is no snow and we can't surf if there are no waves. With surfing you need to know how to read the waves, and skiing backcountry read the snowpack.
If you had to choose one sport/activity to practice for the rest of your life and give up all the others, what would you choose and why?
Skiing, hands down. I am happiest when I am skiing. I love a powder day, spring skiing, early groomers, sliding a box, racing gates, and even ice coast shredding. I think because I am so comfortable skiing I enjoy it the most, but there is also always room for improvement so it just never gets boring.
When did you get into photography?
I have been interested in photography since my first Polaroid Barbie camera when I was like six years old. I took pictures of everyone that came into the house and made a little gallery on the wall. Over the years it went from a Polaroid to a point-and-shoot to a DSLR. Now I shoot with a mirrorless camera.
You also have your own apparel brand, right? What was the vision behind that, specifically with regards to crafting clothes for women?
While working in the ski industry I saw a lot of rad apparel. I remember seeing an awesome shirt with a skeleton on it but in men's sizing only and [the] skeleton was clearly portrayed as a male. It made me frustrated that women didn't have as awesome of a selection and so over time my idea of Wild Bones formed.
You talk on the Wild Bones “About Us” page about the significance of the skeleton figure. Can you elaborate on that a bit for us?
When drawing my skeleton I wanted to signify a woman skeleton, versus the typical masculine figure that is always represented. I know skeletons don't have hair and when looking at a pile of bones there is no saying if it is a girl or guy, but I wanted to make it known.
For my designs, I use my ponytailed skeleton as the main character that shreds. I have her on skis, snowboard, surfboard, skateboard, etc. My goal is for women to rep this apparel and feel confident and empowered for getting outside and doing what they love or learning something new, connecting with other women, and inspiring other women.
Are there any causes you’re particularly passionate about in life? If so, why?
Climate change is a big one for me, and I feel confident saying it probably is for pretty much anyone who loves skiing. We can't ski if we don't have snow, we can't enjoy the woods if we don't have trees. We are killing our earth and its animals with pollution and it is devastating.
I am also very passionate about adopting animals. So many animals are without homes, yet people continue to breed and purchase animals while others are being euthanized. Shelter pets, in my opinion, are the best pets. They are so loyal, loving, and grateful. It is so emotional to see what their life was like before, but so amazing to see how fast it changes for the best after being adopted.
Do you have another gig outside of your apparel brand? If so, what is it?
Wild Bones is what I like to call my side hustle/passion project. Someday I would love for it to be a full-time job, but during this startup process, I am unable to make a living off of it. I also do content creation, shoot weddings, design logos, etc.
But, my full-time job is working in marketing at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. The ARLGP is a non-profit animal shelter. At the shelter, we see local surrenders, strays, and we welcome transports from overcrowded shelters from across the country.
Digital content creation can be a slippery slope of a career. Some folks feel like they constantly have to create content when they’re out in nature, instead of organically enjoying the experience. What’s your take?
I love capturing beautiful moments but I also love just enjoying them. I try to balance both. When going anywhere I always have my camera with me, but I don't always use it. There is no worse feeling than seeing an amazing shot but not being able to capture it.
If I am going out for a small adventure I will throw it in my bag but don't intend to use it. On big adventures and beautiful days, I pack it fully charged and geared up with the intention of getting some shots. For surfing, I usually like to capture some content before or after getting in the water. Once I am out there I like to forget about it and just have fun.
Let’s talk BAÏST. Initially, what made you interested in working with the brand?
A friend of mine that I met in Vermont wore BAÏST gloves and only had great things to say. I love repping local and small businesses instead of corporate, so I was intrigued. [Hunsicker has now been a BAÏST Ambassador for four years.]
What’s your favorite piece of BAÏST gear?
This is a hard question, but I think the BAÏST Everyday Mitt is my all-time favorite. This mitten is comfortable, reliable, warm, and all-around perfect for day-to-day skiing in unpredictable New England.
What is your favorite aspect of BAÏST products?
One of the things I love about BAÏST products is the fact that they’re made for outdoor enthusiasts by outdoor enthusiasts. They know what people need to recreate comfortably in the elements.
I also love the diversity in products. I have the Everyday Mitt, which I wear downhill skiing. It provides warmth and protection from the elements. I also have the Women’s Touring 2.0 Gloves, which I use when traveling uphill in the backcountry since they allow more dexterity.
You can keep up to date on Kyra’s adventures on her Instagram and check out her apparel brand, Wild Bones Wear, on their website!