My name is Oleksandra Bielova, I’m from Kyiv in Ukraine, and I’m a software developer by profession. Since autumn 2018, I have been working with an amazing startup team in Berlin – Motognosis – as a junior software developer in Visualization and Computer vision areas, and also as a designer. On weekends, I often work as a sports photographer.

What inspired me to choose this job was the variety of possibilities. There are so many amazing areas where software developer can work and be helpful. Work at Motognosis is my second full-time job after graduation. I think that I already found my dream job in a great young and clever team, full of energy and inspiration. Another very inspiring aspect here is the possibility to dive into computer vision and to combine development and design. We develop medical software for analyzing motor dysfunction in people with neurologic diseases. What is really great to realize is that in doing your job, you help other people.

Outside of my job, my largest passions are mountains and snow. And skiing is the perfect combination of them. I have skied all my life. When I was 5 years old, my mom took me to ski on Trostian Mountain (1232 metres, near the village Slavske in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine). First, she taught me at the mountain’s foot, but the next season, we skied from the top. I loved to ski among large hills and in the forest as I was a child. My favourite things about skiing are the freedom and control of my body, with fresh air, snow, and mountains all around me.

When I lived in Kyiv, we lived from snow to snow. As soon as the weather forecast predicted snowfalls, we bought train tickets – in one night, we were already in Carpathian on our favourite mountain: Trostian. If there was no possibility to ski on working days, there was always a possibility to ski the whole weekend. But now that I’m living in Berlin, going skiing has become more complicated; it’s more expensive and takes more time.

For more than 10 years, I have been using the same equipment. It almost doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you have if you can ski. As one ski professional said: “I can ski even on firewood and I will find a pleasure in it”. But the technologies go further. And it’s time now to renew my equipment so that it will better fit freeriding.

I am also involved in Trostian Ski Patrol, which is a volunteer organization. The purpose is to provide assistance to other skiers on Trostian Mountain, to inform them and to help them. To become a ski patroller, you should be a very good skier, you should be able to ski everywhere, know the whole mountain perfectly, and to be able quickly and correctly explain where the accident has happened. When you ski, you should control the situation on the slopes and pay high attention to skiers. And you must be at least 18 years old – so I have been waiting for a long time! I was three seasons in ski patrol before I came to study in Berlin. I assisted many people and I believe I had saved one life as I found a man unconscious at the end of the day on an unfrequented slope.

I’ve been to 5 different resorts:

  • Trostian Mountain, Dragobrat, and Bukovel in Ukraine
  • Jasna in Slovakia
  • Livigno in Italy

Each resort is different, but Trostian will always stay the number one for me. This wild mountain has its own freedom. The slopes are not “ironed” and pressed with snowcats. It’s not high, but it’s like a small freeride heaven. You jump on unprepared uneven bumpy slopes and can ski in forests. I skied on Trostian in all possible conditions: as it was completely in ice, in 1-metre deep snow, in snow melting under the sun, and in ‘concrete’ snow, when the temperature suddenly decreased the next day and fell below zero. I skied there in early December, mowing down bilberry bushes and waving away from raspberry canes because there was not enough snow. I skied there again at the end of March, jumping over grass spots and splashing around wet spring snow. Every time (even every day), this mountain is so different and so interesting. And even if you know each corner and each tree on the mountain, you still don’t know what awaits you.

In April 2019, I traveled to Livigno, Italy, and I definitely like it there too. There are plenty of prepared slopes that become bumpy in the afternoon, so you have a lot of fun jumping on lumps. But the most inspiring are areas outside ski tracks. You can ski everywhere – on white snowfields or in forests. There are non-dangerous freeride areas between ski tracks and exciting couloirs that require more experience.

Skiing keeps me in form and it reloads me in winter. I think outdoor activities like skiing are very important, especially for people who spend every day sitting in front of the computer. Amateur sporting is not only the basis of a healthy life, but it is also the source of great inspiration – it brings new ideas and helps you to think fresh.

My advice to anyone looking to take up skiing is to always check the settings of the ski binding and use the sticks. I know that people are afraid of broken or dislocated legs. But if the binding is not too tight, the skis will unfasten. I wonder why almost nobody uses ski sticks, in spite of them being very helpful. The sticks help not only to unload skis when turning, but also not to lose balance. And of course, the best advice is to never give up after the first steps. Don’t think that skiing looks to be too difficult – you can always enjoy skiing as it is a great joy!

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