Pre-dawn on the sleepy town of Ovit, Türkiye. In the winter, the only inhabitants are those who work at Ovit 2640 Hotel. The valley boasts 30,000 acres of backcountry skiing and straddles the ancient Silk Road.



Found Connections: Homecoming in Türkiye’s High Country

I had seen it from across grassland fields, a giant looming in the distance. Minarets passed by every couple miles in my foresight, but I couldn’t take my eyes off what seemed to be Mount Hood at the hinge point of Europe and Asia. It felt like a sort of illusion, as if I were being lied to. “This doesn’t exist in Türkiye,” I thought. I had been here many times to visit my family and see their country, but I was led to believe that Turkish people don’t ski. The Turks drink tea, play backgammon, watch soccer, pray and do everything for family. But surely, a mountain like this can’t just exist without someone skiing it? The bus meandered on, to the ancient stone homes of Cappadocia, to the white pools of Pamukkale, to the Mediterranean in the south, but the image of summer snow in the land of my father never left my mind.  

It would be seven years, a professional ski career, college degree and marriage before I returned to snow in Türkiye. I arrived with my wife, Alexa, photographer friend Ross Downard and filmmaker Hennie Van Jaarsveld hoping to unite my two worlds that, until that time, had lived separately. Navigating a convoluted family history, complex cultural translation and even the tragedy of natural disaster, we looked toward the mountains of memory to make my story whole…

Buy issue

Subscribe to start your collection of The Ski Journal.


The Ski Journal Mailing List

We respect your time, and only send you the occasional update.