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Last March, Vasu Sojitra became the first adaptive athlete to ski Mt. Moran in Wyoming’s Teton Range. Later, he skied the Fuhrer Finger on Tahoma (Mt. Rainer). After a pretty stellar spring of skiing big objectives, the pro announced that he is joining the Faction Collective, a team of skiers and creators that includes the likes of Candide Thovex, Sam Anthamtten, Kelly Sildaru, and a slew of other amazing athletes.
After being diagnosed with septicemia at 9 months old, Sojitra had to have one of his legs amputated. He grew up in Connecticut and India and didn’t discover skiing until the age of 10. It was a pivotal moment for Sojitra, who also found a new level of resilience within himself that has ultimately taken him to professional heights. Along the way, Sojitra has become an outspoken advocate for social change in the world of skiing and the outdoors in general. Sojitra is also an Adaptive Sports Director at a non-profit in Bozeman, Mont.
Sojitra is another influential addition to Faction’s pro team roster. The brand signed Chinese-American freestyle skier Eileen Gu in 2019, who, in addition to being a popular fashion model, has since won a slew of medals at the 2021 X Games and is favored to win at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
To introduce Sojitra to the Collective, Faction interviewed the skier on their blog, which is well worth reading.
Highlights from Faction’s Interview with Vasu Sojitra
On getting into skiing and falling in love with the sport: “On that first day, I serendipitously saw another skier with one leg. What are the chances of seeing another adaptive skier with a very similar disability at a tiny little ski hill in Connecticut? Very low I can only imagine. He came up to me and said, ‘keep at it’ and skied off. Now that I think back, he was a pretty average skier enjoying his time on the hill, but that moment shifted my perspective heavily through seeing what representation looked like.”
On which skiers inspire him: “It’s interesting to say; I’m a skier, but I was never able to fully connect with ski culture that much. There haven’t been that many skiers that have inspired me other than Ingrid Backstrom and Shane McConkey, mostly because they brought the fun back to skiing.”
On the challenges of becoming a pro skier: “I definitely didn’t have a mentor to help me learn how to ski on one leg; I taught myself everything. A big challenge was not having the representation that I was seeking when I was younger, other than that one skier that came by to say hi. And much of it was financial. We grew up in subsidized housing and having access to skiing was very difficult. I’m so grateful that our high school had a ski club and the season passes as a college student were inexpensive.”