The Women of UBC TSC Alpine Skiing

At just over half the population, I’m sure we can all think of a few special ladies in our lives. Be it a Mom, sister, wife, best friend, cousin, girlfriend the world just wouldn’t be the same without the women we love in it – so, what better time than Women’s History Month than to celebrate some of the ladies who make the UBC Alpine Ski Team such a phenomenal group!

UBC Women at Nationals (2020)

Bella Gigone, Paloma Greene, Anastasia Kiku, Sophie Sargent and Emilie McGuire (left to right).

While most of you probably know her, fourth-year Sauderite and (co)club-lead Anastasia Kiku is doing big things – on and off her skis. After taking home some incredible results last year at Regionals in Bogus Basin, Idaho she spent the rest of 2020 working on building reusable zero-waste initiatives within the city ( In her free time, you can find Kiku carving deep arcs and working on her 3’s clad – of course – in full Russian National Team attire. While graduating in a few short months, the team will miss Anastasia dearly, but can’t wait to see what she does next (especially if it’s the Freeride World Tour).

Mélanie Magerstadt

Anyone could tell you that Maggie Thompson, a third-year Ontario native, is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. And, on top of that, a firecracker on her skis! Quick to offer to help out in any way, or to give you and your beloved skis a ride up to Whistler (pre-COVID, of course) Maggie is one of those people who put their hearts on the line for everyone. Back east, helping out on her family’s farm, we can only hope Maggie has had time to get on her skis. Thankfully, this one’s sticking around, hopefully, we will get to see Maggie back on the roster for the 2021/2022 season!

UBC Women at Regionals (2020) having just placed 3rd overall.

Top (left to right): Paloma Greene, Maija Wootton, Bella Gigone, Amy Harris, Anastasia Kiku. Bottom (left to right): Tash Sav, Lilli Freischem, Sophie Sargent, Chiara Benn.

Karolina Skupien, our worldly travel and safety office, can often be found in one of two places; at her desk, or outside doing steezy things (be it on skis, a bike, two feet, or upside-down on both hands)! During her two-years on the team she held a position even more crucial than travel and safety; master DJ, a role that when she graduates this spring might be – dare I say it – impossible to fill. Nevertheless, as one of the smartest people I know, I can’t wait to see what this Urban-planning major has in store for our future (though, fingers crossed for ski-hills on top of buildings, and modern-meccas equipped for hover cars – *cough, cough* *hint hint*).

Speaking of women who’re up to big things, Grace Melchers, a third-year Forestry student returning to us from a year abroad in Melbourne, Australia, played a key role in advocating for a Green and Just Recovery in East Van last fall with Future Majority; an organization advocating for the representation of youth issues in politics. When not changing the world, master-chef and blogger Grace Melchers can be found on the skin-track. Truth be told though, we can’t wait to see Grace back to hitting gates next year where her Ontario-roots will shine through!

Bella Gigone at Nationals (2020).

In terms of skiing, second-year Bella Gigone reigns supreme. Awarded UBC TSC “Rookie” of the year, this former FIS racer can be described as anything but, having placed 15th at Nationals in GS! Not only are we WOW-ed by Bella’s skiing, but we’re equally taken-aback by this sala BDes majors’ art – which can be described as no less than awe-inspiring. One thing is for sure – we cannot wait to see the success Bella’s future holds on, and off the team!

While the list of inspiring women could go on forever (or, to be exact exactly 28 more times) we will send it off with Amy Harris; one of the most selfless, genuine, and kind people I have ever meet. Now a third year, I can’t imagine UBC without Amy there to electrify even the most mundane moments with her enthusiasm. Perhaps one of the most eager people to put on a bib, we’re so thankful this Washington-Scottish-German native has another year with the team to carry on our multi-cultural tradition, and pure love of being on the mountain.

Amy Harris (left) and Lilli Freischem (right).

While this doesn’t begin to scrape the surface of all of the wonderful women currently rostered, nor the mentors who’ve come before (including Thunderbird Sports Clubs Coordinator – and UBC Alpine alumni – Christina Donnelly, whom none of this would be possible without)! So take a minute today, or this month and think about all of the women who’ve come before, after, or who are inspired by you right now, and celebrate it! After all, we all could use a little positivity and a reminder of just how far the world has come.

Signing off – happy March, and most of all, happy skiing!