I needed to return to Onegin almost as much as I needed to return to the slopes. I did the latter this week, so why not the former as well?

Snowboarding, alas it’s nothing quite so Petersburg as riding in a sleigh, is something I hold very, very dear.

It isn’t just that feeling of flying or the heightened sense of fear. No, there’s something far more to it. Something I wonder if we might weave into our favorite Russian tale.


I began snowboarding while living abroad. It was a challenge being so far from home. I felt I was different. I was different, but I felt this irreconcilable. I was bored. I felt alien. I both longed for attention and loathed it all the same. (Dueling was never an option, but you get the parallel.)

Donning a heavy coat, helmet, goggles, muffler, gloves, pants and boots, I became anonymous… by choice.

No longer foreign, no longer ignored, I found myself simply able to be, whilst upon the winter’s track. It was enthralling. It was addictive.

I also wrote a lot in those days spent carving through my momentary exile.

The freedom affected my stories (as did the 5 hour bus rides — If ever I start #pamuktweets, these bus rides will come up a lot); moments removed from managing all I could not change left me free to explore.

…And isn’t that really what we writers love most to do?