Although born in Australia Zali Steggall spent most of her childhood in France, was a member of the French junior ski team and won a European age-group championship. After returning to Australia at the age of 15 she became a part of the national team and made her Olympic debut at the age of seventeen in Albertville. Improving steadily she recorded her first FIS World Cup top 10 finish in 1996 and in December 1997 in Park City, Utah, USA she posted her first victory which was the first World Cup victory by any Australian. Her form over the previous few races meant she was amongst the favourites for the Olympic slalom title and she did indeed become the first Australian to win an Olympic skiing medal placing third on Mount Yakebitai. The highlight of her career came in 1999 when she won the slalom at the World Championships in Vail, Colarado but her performances dipped in subsequent seasons and she retired after a disappointing 2002 Olympic Games.
After her ski career ended Steggall began competing in ultra-marathon running races. She later entered politics and in 2019 became a member of the Australian Parliament. She was elected to a second term in 2022. Steggall received numerous awards for her ski career, including an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007. She was inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport ‘Best of the Best’ in 2001 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2004
Steggall came from a sporting family as her brother Zeke was Australia’s first Olympic snowboarder and her grandfather, Jack Steggall, represented Australia at rugby. She married fellow Olympic skier David Cameron but the marriage did not last.