Malikah Khan wouldn’t shout from the top of the slopes that she is a trailblazer, she possibly wouldn’t even admit it to herself, but frankly she is.
Snowsport England were first introduced to Malikah through our Community Innovation Fund and her application for support with a group initiative she had devised. The brief she delivered was simple “to get more Muslim women and members of the deaf community involved in skiing”, the potential impact of her work; ground-breaking.
Upon meeting Malikah in person at the Ackers Adventure Club, Participation Officer Steph Cook, was struck by not only Malkah’s modesty but how driven she is at such a young age to provide experiences for others. To fully understand why Malikah is so driven and so invested in her initiative, you need to understand her unexpected journey in to Snowsport and how taking this opportunity led her to turn from chance taker, to chance provider.
A few years ago, at the start of her university studies, just before the pandemic hit, Malikah saw an opportunity for a free skiing taster session being led by Snow Camp, and with no expectations of enjoying it or it becoming a hobby, let alone a passion, took up the offer at Ackers. Having enjoyed the session, Malikah started to go to the slope regularly, improving and honing her skills before then having the idea that would change her Snowsport journey forever. Looking around at the instructors and coaches, she realised that she too was keen to develop others. Whilst becoming a ski coach felt like a personal goal, Malikah also had a much broader goal. Noticing that as a woman of colour she was not just in the minority of participants, she was in fact the only minority ethnic group representative enjoying our sport.
And so, the seed of the idea was planted.
Malikah didn’t just want to start off with a small group of her friends from university, she went big! A new group was set up, encouraging Muslim women from the local area to come and have a taste of skiing on the dry slope at Ackers. Knowing the particular concerns and challenges her target audience would face, Malikah fully invested her time and effort in to breaking down barriers and making Snowsport as accessible as possible.
Her group of skiing novices soon got the bug too and their initial trepidation became an excitement and enthusiasm to get out on the slopes come rain or shine. They even stunned Malikah on one occasion as she told us “it was really raining hard, I didn’t think anyone would want to ski in that rain, let alone walk to the slope. I was amazed when the ladies started organising lifts and told me they were on their way and they couldn’t wait!”. This type of enthusiasm and commitment to skiing hasn’t just happened by accident, Malikah has worked tirelessly to ensure the group have the most enjoyable time together. She noted that not only has their skiing improved and is continuing to do so at a rapid rate, she says she confidence and atmosphere in the group has grown beyond her imagination.
As for Malikah’s next steps?
Well, as you can expect she has big plans! For her personally, she wants to become a Ski Instructor and Snowsport England are proud to be working with her to make this a reality, as well as her ongoing university studies.
But what about for the group?
Well, as you would expect she wants to keep the group running after the Community Innovation Funding has run out and would welcome any sponsorship opportunities to help her with this mission. For the ladies currently in the group, Malikah isn’t stopping there either, her eyes lit up when she told us of her desire to take the group for their first ever experience abroad on snow!
To meet Malikah is to be inspired by Malikah. She exudes this boundless enthusiasm for Snowsport and a genuine passion for people. Always smiling, always positive and always seeking opportunities for others she has become the face of a new generation and new demographic of Snowsport enthusiasts. Her hard work is paying off and we know there is so much further she will be taking her Snowsport career.
Malikah’s journey has naturally led her towards a future in Snowsport coaching and exploring how she can become a Level 1 instructor. Snowsport England have a wealth of information about beginning your coaching journey as well as providing high quality courses for you to enrol on.
With experts in Snowsport delivering these great value for money sessions at high quality facilities, you will not only enjoy the course but have tangible evidence of your development and a qualification to go with it.
To see more information about our coaching courses follow this link: https://www.snowsportengland.org.uk/coaching-instructing/
To look at all of the latest instructor and coaching courses available for you to book on to, click here: https://snowsportengland.sport80.com/public/widget/1
If you are interested in seeing more of the work Malikah does then you can follow her social media channels here
With huge thanks to Snow Camp and Ackers Adventure Club for supporting Malikah in her journey.
Snow Camp is a programme run by national youth charity Switch180.
England and Wales Registered Charity Number: 1101030