Aruwin Salehhuddin remembers the rush of stepping on a pair of skis for the first time when she was two years old.
“As soon as I took off, I fell in love,” Aruwin says.
“There’s nothing like the feeling of going fast through the slopes,” she adds.
It’s been her passion ever since.
Today, she’s working to become an elite alpine ski racer.
Putting in the Work
Aruwin’s training program began when she was just six years old.
Every weekend, her family made the hours-long drive from Washington State to British Colombia so that Aruwin could work on the foundational skills of the sport.
It was an exhausting commute.
“A few years into the program, as the training ramped up, we moved to Colorado so that I could be closer to an elite ski club,” Aruwin says.
Now, Aruwin is in eighth grade. She trains on the snow five days per week for three to six hours per day – and that doesn’t include additional conditioning off the slopes.
“You have to be very self-driven,” Aruwin says.
“Passion plays a huge role, but I’ve learned over the years – through many ups and downs – that perseverance is equally important.”
Learning, On and Off the Slope
Aruwin is also a student at Colorado Connections Academy, a virtual school that gives her the flexibility she needs to pursue her dream of becoming a professional alpine skier.
“My schedule changes a lot depending on weather conditions,” Aruwin says.
“Online learning is the only way for me to keep up with school because I can set the pace for my coursework,” she says.
A Loving Support System
Aruwin’s family has also played a big role in helping her manage such a busy schedule.
Aruwin’s dad, Sal Ayob, understands the excitement and challenges of his daughter’s chosen path – he was once an athlete, too.
The experience has had a profound impact on his parenting.
“I grew up with parents who really pushed their kids and set unrealistic expectations,” Sal says.
“It’s so important to let your kids lead – to follow their passions,” he adds.
“I grew up with parents who really pushed their kids and set unrealistic expectations,” says Aruwin’s dad, Sal Ayob. “It’s so important to let your kids lead – to follow their passions.”
Beyond the Slopes
In between practice sessions and competitions, Aruwin says she makes sure to spend time planning for the future.
“My family has always emphasized the importance of education,” Aruwin says.
Her online learning platform has also provided her with other benefits.
“I’ve learned to become a much more independent student,” Aruwin says.
“Balancing school and training has really taught me the importance of time management,” she says.
“After high school, my goal is to attend Cornell University,” she says.
She’s also thought about her long-term career—past skiing.
“I’ve been drawn to the arts since I was very young,” Aruwin says.
“When I retire from professional skiing, I’d like to become an architect or industrial designer,” she says.
The Next Chapter
Next year, Aruwin will enter the Under 16 program for alpine ski racing – where she might be eligible to train internationally and participate in events such as the Junior Worlds.
It’s the culmination of a decade of hard work.
“I’m excited for this next big chapter in my life,” Aruwin says.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know that if you work hard and dedicate yourself to what you love, you can succeed,” she says.