Mateusz Kniżewski, Software Developer on Skiing

My name is Mateusz Kniżewski and I’m commercial .NET Developer working at web and desktop solutions. I was born and live in Bialystok, a city located in eastern Poland. I studied computer science here at the University of Bialystok. I’m very proud because I finished my studies with an honourable diploma, which had been one of my life goals.

Since I can remember, I have always been interested in IT and I dreamed about doing work related to computers. The first touch with programming I had in secondary school had been very painful – I did not understand how programming looked and my teacher didn’t have the required abilities to teach people to gets inspired with that. The second contact with programming I had in my studies was a new and fresh feeling. My lecturer was amazing and had a nice personality. He had a very simple approach to teach programming by referring to real-world problems. I really enjoyed his lessons so I can tell that he inspired me to be a software developer.

Outside of my job, I love going to the gym, travelling and, of course, skiing. These activities have one thing in common with each other: movement. Movement is one of the most important things in our life. Thanks to the gym, I’m reducing stress in my work day and I’m also preparing for the next season of skiing by gathering the required strength to spend all day on the ski slope.

I first became interested in skiing when I been a child. We had a family trip to Zakopane, where I learned the first steps of skiing with my father. The first time skiing gave me a lot of joy. The view from the gondola was also amazing – the mountains from a closer view reminded me of some different planet. I didn’t see anything like this before.

Soon after this, I had a huge break from skiing because my father had an accident and broke his leg while skiing. So after that, our family vacations were more focused on places other than mountains. My interest in skiing grew again when I met my girlfriend. She’s also had a similar history to me. So skiing is now part of our life and a common hobby. I’m very thankful for her because she gave me the motivation to become interested in skiing once again.

I use a primary gear for recreational riding. I currently have this type of skis from Atomic, which are very solid and stable. Instead of goggles, I use sunglasses because when I skiing, it is less steamy and I have a better view. Recently, my sister bought me a Samsung Gear 360 and I can’t wait to start using it!

Currently, I live too far away from the mountains to go more than once or twice in a year on a skiing trip to a nice spot. But recently, I discovered a place called Snow Arena in Lithuania, located about 3 hours from my home. Snow Arena has a fake ski slope and it’s open throughout the year. I decided to visit that place and it’s is a very nice experience to ski inside in closed space. But after a few hours of skiing, I was bored because they only have one track and I didn’t have a chance to ski outside.

For me, the Three Valleys located in France is the nicest and biggest skiing spot in Europe. I had the chance to visit Saint Martin de Belleville and I fell in love with that place! Every morning from my room, I had a beautiful view of the Alpine mountains. The air is less polluted and more fresh than usual. For all people who want to ski or walk in the mountains, I’d really recommend that place – it doesn’t matter if you are a professional skier or you just want to learn how to ski. That place is for everyone because they have tracks for pros and tracks for less experienced skiers. In Poland, I have been in Zakopane in Szymoszkowa Ski Resort and Białka Tatrzańska – I recommend those places too. Every mentioned spot has its own individual spirit.

Physical and mental training is a very important thing if you decide to go skiing. I strongly recommend going to the gym 2-3 times per week to gain more strength. Primarily, you need to stay focused on the legs because most of the movements in skiing go here. If you don’t really like going to the gym, you can replace this activity with something else, like cycling or running. Referring to mental training, you must beat the fear of taking off from the steep downhill. In fact, so much depends on perspective. You simply must not think about it and then you’ll really enjoy the experience more.

My future goals in that I want to increase my driving technique for the next season – sometimes when I’m turning, my skis overlaps and I lose my balance. So, it’s the main goal for me right now to fix that. I’d also love to visit Austria or the Italy Alps for my next skiing trip.

I do think skiing has been a benefit to my tech career. Programming and skiing require full attention and patience. Without these abilities, we don’t reach any achievements. So skiing gave me a lot of abstract thinking. When I’m on the track, I must be fully concentrated to avoid other skiers and obstacles like wet snow or snowdrift. In programming, this works the same, as I am thinking about the whole system and how separate modules must be logically consistent.

For people who want to start an adventure with skiing, I’d strongly recommend having your first lessons with an instructor because people who tried to learn on their own usually don’t have any success and mostly fall on the ground. If you decide to buy skiing gear, I’d recommend to buy a new helmet and ski boots because security on the slopes is the most important thing. Other ski equipment you can buy as second-hand if you don’t want to spend much money. I would also propose to buy a camera at a later date – it’s quite good to see your riding techniques from a different perspective.

Sporting activities are a great balance in our lives. I think we must share our sporting passions because many technologists are just sitting at work all day. It’s a good idea to have some sports group in IT companies. For example, my colleagues and I try to have some sort of sports activity at least once every month. Recently, we played paintball – it’s quite fun and we had the opportunity to move about. So definitely be sure to try a new sport to find this balance between work and fun.

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  • Łukasz

    A well-told story. I wish you all good my friend :).

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