This is actually very difficult to write.
I am a skier. I am a student and a creator. I wear a lot of hats, but by far, my favourite is my helmet.
I was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine to a mother who wanted me to have the best future. We didn’t have much in the beginning, and I remember arriving in England when my mum exchanged all of her hryvnia in Heathrow. A sandwich from WHSmiths was the equivalent of a week’s groceries. I think to that if I dare to complain.
With the skiing, I’ve done as much as possible in every way you can think of with skiing, nurtured by being raised in a place without snow. Starting out on a dryslope in the South West of England doing ski racing at the age of 11, whilst also pushing a competitive swimming.
The first time I was on snow I immediately knew that it was the ‘thing’, and although I do not come from a mountain background I find incredible joy in having to work exceptionally hard to build my life around skiing. It has been an incredibly vibrant and wonderful journey so far, with a few road bumps including an avalanche two years ago that resulted in a full burial. However is has seen me to do freestyle competitions on dryslopes, large fridges (snow domes), ski touring on grass and rock in Scotland, and escaping the snow free island of the UK, to spots above the Arctic Circle, Alaska, and the Alps in Europe.
This has lead me to work as a freelance translator, a trampoline coach, a music teacher, a tutor, a heliski sommelier, in outdoor retailing and a supermarket master. I can work every single darn department in the largest store you could think of.
The last method of income was my first as a young teen, and that lead me to save up to go to Alaska when I was 17.
Since then I have been travelling around the world for skiing and mountaineering, ultimately choosing to (attempt) to balance this with studying French and International Relations full time in Aberdeen (picked for the access for to ‘a winter Mountaineering Apprenticeship like no other’ that has been recommended by British Guides I have found in some bizarre corners of the planet). It has taken me to the Alps in France, Italy and Austria, the Arctic Circle, and to the interior Kootenays and Coastal Mountains of Canada, and the Chugach in Alaska.
My current goals are primarily to pay my dues in the mountains, and get thoroughly schooled. My ultimate wish is to be able to look at the canvas of mountains and choose any way up and be able to get down however I wish. It’s not one of those things that a single book can be read and suddenly you are ‘it’. I still hesitate in calling myself a skier because I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. It’s a question of experience and time, and as so far, I’m just tapping away at it the best I can. It’s a soul thing.
My trips are always done with a twist. Not of lemon, but of Sofiya. You see if I am coming to climb an objective, or ski a certain area, or complete a certain qualification, I’m not going to it on the path well paved. A lot of people joke in the fact that I make things hard for myself. I don’t mean to but I often end up doing so. However I don’t doubt it. Examples of this is bivvying on a mountain just to see how the exposure would feel (Aiguille Verte) and how that would effect my sleep, or ski touring an established trail, but staying on the ridges (of the Kungsleden).
Skiing is my passion, and its feeding so much of life, not only in terms of growing with everything that accompanies accessing dream lines and those beautiful moments out, but as a human. It has lead me to environmental activism as I have witnessed the effects of climate change in ways that I can barely comprehend. However I am confident that one of the solutions to this jigsaw of this tumultuous world is getting more people outside to breathe in the fresh air and feel in their human nature, the desire to protect it.
This space serves as a form of documentation, but I also hope that it serves as a source of information so others have some resources to plan their own adventure, even if it’s just a kick to get out the front door and put one foot in front of the other.
Drop me an email if you would like to have tea or go for a hike (or if you want to help me with my adventures through sponsorship). I have always joked that I am already a professional athlete, because I fund really fun but bizarre things that I justify as being something that will develop me in the ways of the mountains. I don’t know what I am doing but I know exactly what I am doing. It makes complete sense when you sit down for a cream tea with me.
It’s wonderful, difficult, bizarre, vivid and very wild and I wish for it to affect you in the best possible of ways.
I like skiing though that’s literally it. Just remember that. That’s all you really need to know.