This week I was lucky enough to talk with Liza Sarychev, a pro freeskier out of Jackson, WY as well as a professional mechanical engineer. Most importantly, she's just straight good people. I wanted to talk with Liza as she has found a great balance in pursuing her athletic passion as well as professional life. She's got an impressive resume and can do some crazy shit on ski's, so check her out.
Who are you and why are you our badass lady of the week?
I am a professional skier fortunate enough to compete on the North American Freeski Tour, my adventures have been published in backcountry magazine, NBC’s world of adventure, TGR online, amongst other publications worldwide.
What first made you love the sport?I’ve always loved skiing, ever since I could remember. Growing up in the mid-atlantic, I’m not sure what drew me to skiing so much, but I’ve always had a crazy desire to be out west.
How has the love for the sport changed and/or matured since you first began?
My first few years Jackson I skied bell to bell 100+ days and then went to Argentina for to ski in the summer. As I began to work towards progressing my career I began choosing my days more. I no longer need to ski all day on the iciest and coldest days.
What did you enjoy most about transitioning to fully pursuing skiing as a profession? What did you enjoy least about it?
Most, was seeing the things that I’ve wanted so badly and worked so hard for materialize. It was an amazing feeling to have opportunities I would have killed for a few years back. That was a huge confidence boost. Least, were all the financial sacrifices. Every dime I made went towards basic needs and skiing. I hated not eating out, drinking, or being generous with my money.
What aspects of being a sponsored athlete were the most beneficial to your progression as a skier? What was most unexpected and/or detrimental?
Kodak courage was beneficial to my skiing, I would try things I otherwise was scared of when the camera was out, especially because landing is not crucial for shooting stills. On the other hand, standing around for hours waiting for the perfect light to make a powder turn was time wasted not progressing my skiing.
You now work as a mechanical engineer. How do you balance your professional life with your ski life?
Luckily, I like to work at night. Also, I bought a snowmobile last year and it allows me get a ton of quality skiing in a short time. I can get out at dawn, ride a dozen untracked lines and be back with a huge smile on my face in time for lunch.
What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to pursue the work/ski balance?
There’s only so many hours in a day and usually, the social things fall through the cracks. It’s easy to lose touch with friends in the winter time if I’m not out skiing with them.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5-10 years in your sport and in your professional as a mechanical engineer?
I’m hoping to become more efficient at my job so I can have time to start a family and still continue to push myself as a skier.