My guest for this episode is Keltie Hansen. She is a Canadian freestyle skier who made her Olympic debut at Sochi in 2014, where ski halfpipe was introduced for the very first time. She placed 13th at her first games. The Edmonton native now resides in Squamish, British Columbia and welcomed me into her home for a little chat. She is fresh off a weekend of competing at the Mammoth Grand Prix in California. I hope you’ll enjoy our chat!
The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> iTunes and Google Play.
Shout out to Columbia for their help setting this up!
Though winter hasn’t officially begun, I’ve been feeling major wintery vibes since I landed during a snowstorm in Quebec last week.
My winter season started extra early last month in BC when I took my board and skis to two local mountains on their respective opening day. Since moving to BC, one of my winter goals has been to ride more and get better at snowboarding, especially in powder. Growing up out east, I never got to ski or ride in powder so this has become an important objective of mine.
Having access to world-class skiing and snowboarding resorts and conditions just make me that much more excited about getting out there and doing it as much as possible for the next couple of months. I’m also hoping to do my first ever AVI course later this winter so that I can have the most knowledge and be the safest when riding on this new terrain.
Skiing and riding in BC has lots of advantages compared to the east. Not only is the terrain a lot bigger, the fresh powder is unreal and the weather is always a little warmer. That said, having the right gear for playing in the snow is so key! With the help of Sport Chek, I was able to pick a bunch of accessories that will make my skiing and riding season that much more enjoyable. From a warm Helly Hansen base layer, to new Burton gloves and Spy Optics goggles, they have all of the winter essentials you may need.
Leaving Quebec tomorrow and headed to Europe and the Alps for some epic riding. Can’t wait to bring these accessories along with me for the ride!
This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek, but all opinions are my own.
From Canadian World Cup alpine ski racer to motivator and public speaker, Larisa Yurkiw is a force to be reckoned with. The 28-year-old athlete from Ontario has accomplished a lot in her lifetime already, from partaking in the 2014 Sochi Olympics to also being on four World Cup podiums. She recently announced her retirement from professional skiing after her most successful year of competition. I had the chance to chat with her about her career thus far and also what’s next for her.
1) What first got you interested in downhill skiing and when did you realize that this was something you could pursue more seriously?
I have two older brothers I chased around the ski hill from a young age. The norm gets thrown out the window so I was fairly fearless. I did my first race was I was 4 and the passion grew with the intensity.
2) 2016 has been a great competing year for you but you recently announced your retirement after 10 years in the competitive circuit. Why was this the right time for you to hang up your skis?
Health has the final say. I had my 5th knee surgery in May and I felt it was a decision between racing 20 more international races or skiing with my kids one day. I was becoming more successful and finished my career ranked 3rd in the world so I no longer had unfinished business. It was that hunger that drove me for so long so I knew it was time to find the same drive in a different direction.
3) How has the transition from athlete to being an entrepreneur been going? What are some of your career goals moving forward?
I love this new life. I have found a career that gives me a bit of an adrenaline rush still, motivational speaking, and I continue to find challenges for myself. I took time off initially but realized quickly that I’m meant to have both a structure and a serious set of goals.
4) Can you talk to us about Team Larisa and if you will be continuing to pursue this in the future?
Team Larisa was the name of my team. I was skiing for Canada independently but, by the end, the Team was made up of thousands of Canadians and Europeans, both skiers and non-skiers. I will continue to promote bravery and share the power of vulnerability and resilience with the story of Team Larisa wherever I can. It became so much more than ski racing for me so if I can use it as a vehicle to help young and old alike to just get a bit more comfortable with being uncomfortable, then Team Larisa has successfully lived on.
5) What is the best advice you’ve ever been given and how has it helped you as an athlete and in life today?
Advice came from so many but most consistently, to keep on keeping on. The setbacks were the most consistent event throughout my journey so learning to fight on and get creative with my resilience allowed me to ultimately be world class in my sport. Without a constant fight and high self-belief, the very first obstacle would’ve bounced me in a completely different direction. “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” Mexican Proverb.
Last January, I was one of the many Canadians that was thrilled to see the introduction of half-pipe and slopestyle skiing into the Olympic Games at the Sochi Olympics in Russia. I know that many women skiiers including freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke fought incredibly hard to get the sport to where it is today. Another amazing Canadian athlete who’s been paving the way for women in the sport is 26-year-old Montrealer Kaya Turski. Kaya competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and is currently the reigning Winter X Games slopestyle champion. To this day, Kaya has won 4 Winter X Games slopestyle gold medals. Kaya is currently taking some classes at her local community college and will be back to competing in the winter. She’s definitely an inspiration for women in the sport and a force to be reckoned with. I’m honored that she took time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions. Here are my 5 Questions With Kaya Turski:
1) When did you start skiing? Do you remember when you decided that you wanted to compete and take it more seriously?
I skied when I was little, about 3 until 9 years old. Then I played around with snowboarding a little bit but my main focus after that was aggressive inline rollerblading. I competed in park until I was about 14 when I took a break from doing it professionally. When I was 16, I tried skiing for the first time in years and something clicked! I really enjoyed it and caught on pretty quick because of my background in inline skating. I decided to move out to Whistler after high school and the fall semester of college to see what I could do on skis… and then it all took off from there. Once I got into the groove I wanted to start competing, it’s something I’ve always liked. The challenge, the adrenaline, the focus it takes…. all very appealing to me.
2) What is it about freeski that appeals to you and that you love so much?
I like the freedom it gives me. On the hill, I can do (almost) whatever I want. In the air, I can try whatever I feel. And the lifestyle and travel opportunities it has given me have been amazing.
3) Last January, slopestyle skiing made its Olympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, how much has that impacted the sport and for women more specifically?
It’s hard to say yet how it impacted the sport. I think it’s made it more known, for sure. It’s great to see our sport grow into more mainstream culture. And I think the spirit of free skiing is still there, it’s freestyle core, so all in all I think it was a good thing!
4) You’re currently ranked number 1 in the world by the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, what are some of your most memorable moments in your career thus far?
Most memorable moments… that’s a tough one. So many really cool memories. I’ll give you some of my faves… landing my first switch 7! First try, I just thought I could do it and I went for it….. very cool feeling. I think that’s when it clicked that I could potentially take my skiing to the next level. Winning my first X Games! Cliche but always a dream of mine to compete at the X Games. World champs 2013 because it was a really crutch moment…. I was struggling all week and couldn’t wrap my head around anything, and I finally pulled myself together and landed my second run. Some of the best moments are when you’re really struggling and you dig deep and somehow find something within to pull you right into the light.
5) You have a cool web series called “State of Mind”, where you share your life adventures with your fans. What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not skiing?
I love arts, crafting. I like reading, hanging out with friends, trampolining, the beach, hiking.
Today is the day I leave for my month long adventure with @offner! So grateful to be traveling with him again! Excited to be visiting three different countries during this upcoming trip. We’ll be spending the first two and a half weeks in France, followed by a few days back in Canada then off to the US for some snowboarding!
I will be taking a little blogging break during my trip but will post as many updates as a can while on the road. I will also have a full recap with some of my favorite hot spots when I get back, so stay tuned!
Wishing you all a wonderful start to your holidays!!
Today I’m heading to Mont Tremblant for a relaxing long weekend. Stoked to be flying with Porter Airlines (those who know me, know that I always talk about them) and spending time at the Scandinave Spa in between skiing sessions.
Because today is a travel day, I’ve decided to post my outfit from my Valentine’s Day dinner last night. I recently won a lovely contest organized by the Pomp & Pageantry shop located in Yorkville. I was the lucky winner of an amazing dress from Australian designer Wish. I decided to wear it last night for the first time. I paired that with my studded Zara boots and a few gold accessories. I had a lovely dinner at George last night. They made a special vegetarian menu just for me. I’m truly felt like a princess yesterday!
Wishing you a lovely Friday & Happy long weekend! xo