While some children enjoy toddling about in a playground or digging into sandbox play, Aruwin Salehhuddin, otherwise more casually known as just Aruwin, was already on (mini) skis. She credits her love for skiing to her parents, who started her skiing in Sun Peaks Canada when she was only two years old.
“We went there all the time for vacation and during winter almost every weekend. When I was a toddler, they put me in a kids’ ski school there which allowed me to go out onto the slopes, like a small bunny hill,” she reminisces.
“I enjoy the sport so much. I love gliding. The mountains, skiing, it’s all part of my upbringing. I also really love the adrenaline rush. It’s so much fun! It gets me going. That’s what drew me to ski racing and what makes me feel free–when I’m out there with the cold breeze against my face. It’s so nice.”
“Growing up, my parents put me in many different sports such as swimming, figure skating, skiing, and gymnastics to ensure I have an active lifestyle. Because of that, pretty much since I was young, I have always wanted to become a professional athlete. It has always been my dream and now we know ski racing is what I want to do and pursue,” Aruwin, 17, adds. Her father, Salehhuddin Ayob, is an Olympian himself, having represented Malaysia in canoeing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
But her journey was not without tricky slopes and having to quickly pivot when needed. Among the many difficult choices and sacrifices that Aruwin and her parents have had to make along the way, was giving up her other love–figure skating.
“I was training to be a professional figure skater and it was something that I did full time while training to be a ski racer. I stopped when I was 13 years old to pursue ski racing and that was a pretty difficult choice. In hindsight, it was worth it because it allowed me more opportunities at improving at ski racing and I’m happy,” she reveals. "But I still love ice skating whenever I get the chance to!"