Lesley McKenna

Name: Lesley McKenna

D.O.B: 09/08/1974

Hometown: Aviemore, Scotland

Sport: Skiing

I was lucky enough to have grown up in the highlands of Scotland and learnt to ski at a very young age as part of the Cairngorm Ski Club.

I loved all outdoor sports growing up, and still do, but my love of skiing lead to a long and colourful career in snowsports that took me through 5 years on the GB Alpine Ski Team and then on to 13 years on the snowboard halfpipe World Cup tour, 3 Olympics as an athlete and one as a Team Leader and then back into free-riding and freesking and finally on to my current place in the snowsport fabric as a backcountry ski and snowboard guide and co-owner of Wandering Workshops CIC.

These days I love to spend my snowsport time in the Scottish Backcountry guiding and supporting people to learn more about touring and our aim at Wandering Workshops is to help make the backcountry space more accessible.

As well as backcountry snowsports I love to go running about the hills, get out on my mountain bike, go hillwalking and adventuring, and to the coast to surf the Scottish waves. I also teach yoga and work in the High Performance Sport system as a Coach Developer and have recently gone back to studying as a Phd Student to look at the cultural values of Action Sports as they find their feet in the Olympic Arena.

Get to know Lesley

Tell us about your successes so far?

Wandering Workshops CIC is my latest project and has been running now for just over a year. So far we have supported around 40 people to have their first experiences of backcountry snowsports and are launching mtn bike and hill walking workshops this summer.

The Workshops aim to support people to find connection to self, community and nature through shared experiences in the outdoors as well as teaching people the skills needed to become independent in the mountains.

What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to launch Wandering Workshops collaborations in as many outdoor sports as I can, working collaboratively with local guides in each area from backcountry snowsports to hill-walking, climbing, mtn biking, trail running and then on to the water based sports like surfing and paddle sports and by doing so introduce these great sports to people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to do so.

The second aim is to support people who are aiming to become qualified as instructors, coaches and guides in the outdoor sports space and to provide a community of practice for them.

Why do you ski? What do you love about skiing?

Ski-ing was and is my first love as an outdoor sport and has really been the major influence that shaped my life. I can remember the moment as a 9 year old in the Scottish backcountry on a rare sunny powder day with snowsparkles in the air that I became hooked.

The feeling of gliding through wonderland is just as powerful and life defining now as it was then and all the more so when it is shared with others.

Which Scarpa shoe is your favourite?

I love the Scarpa 4-Quatro XT Women as they are ultra responsive to ski in but very lightweight and great for touring too.

Tell us about your best day skiing?

Any day where I can make nice flowing turns in decent visibility with a good crew is a great day!

What do you do away from your sport?

I love most outdoor sports from trail running to surfing and try and mix it up as much as possible. I also like to go to the skatepark and indoor climbing wall with my daughter and partner if we are not out in the hills or on the trails.

Where is your #NoPlacetooFar?

I am lucky enough to have been to many amazing mountain places in the world in my career but my favourite is the top of Braeriach in the Cairngorms and the Coires on the south facing side for remote and beautiful lines in spring time. Having a full day until sunset with a good crew and good spring snow up there is all time!

Get Social 

Keep up with the latest from Lesley on Social Media

Photo Credits 

Hannah Bailey @neonstash

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