Snowboarding from Manaslu, a dream to come true

Snowboarding in the Alps, Dolomites, Bulgarian ranges, Caucasus, Alborz, Pamir and the Himalayas, Vladimir is one of the pioneers in the sport in Bulgaria. His eyes and dreams have always been pointed up, towards higher summits and bigger challenges. Vladimir has already snowboarded Mont Blanc 4810m, he also has a winter ascent and descent of the highest peak of Middle East located in Iran – Mt. Damavand (5671m) and in July 2017 he made the first Bulgarian snowboard descent from above 7000m – the North face of Peak Lenin 7134m. in Pamir, Kyrgyzstan. Now it is time for the highest mountains on our planet and he is currently preparing for a snowboard expedition on a 8000+m. summit. He has chosen to climb the 8163 meter Manaslu this autumn.

Who is Vladimir?

It’s hard to stick just to few lines, but in the means of mountains, I already have exactly 25 seasons of snowboarding behind my back and I have grown up on skis since early childhood.

I love the mountain and its magnetic power has never left me drift too far from it.

I believe the mountain has shaped me as a person and has contributed to me being a truly happy person.

I am also into a lot of other sports and hobbies, I run my own snowboarding brand and a separate professional life, but the winter mountain and freeride snowboarding on virgin terrain are my greatest passion.

How did you decide to start with extreme snowboarding from high altitude?

Really gradually! I don’t think I have ever taken a specific decision in this direction. Things just happened spontaneously and naturally, as a result of my desires and dreams. Over the years, willingly or involuntarily, I have always been searching for bigger and more difficult mountains, peaks and terrains. All these require more experience, effort and dedication, but at the same time they bring more satisfaction, happiness and unforgettable moments. I think anyone who goes often to the mountains can understand me.

How do you define yourself – more mountaineer or a snowboarder having in mind that the climbing is the longer part of the adventure

I do not define myself at all – I do what I love and the definitions are difficult and unnecessary to me. I climb mountains and peaks and descend them with a snowboard at my chosen terrain and route. These two things are so connected in my heart that I can not separate them at all. I don’t know where the trekking ends and where alpinism starts, I don’t know whether a particular descent is extreme or not. Everyone has his own feelings and criteria for these things, so I will leave the readers to judge for themselves. It’s true though that climbing a peak takes much more time than descending it with a snowboard, but it’s more important how much space they both occupy in person’s consciousness and emotions.

What do you think is the ultimate challenge – height or extreme terrain?

Both, separately and together. The combination of high altitude and dangerous terrain is the biggest challenge for me. That is why my next goal is the 8th highest peak in the world – Manaslu, 8163m. This will probably be the biggest test for my body and skills in the mountain and snowboarding so far. I have not even started, but for years I have been investing serious efforts and resources in this direction, so the challenges are of all kinds.

Many eightthousanders have already been skied down. Even at the moment there are ski teams at Nanga Parbat but the snowboard seems to be less attractive for this activity. Is this right?

I wouldn’t say it is less attractive. The truth to me is that snowboarding is a much younger sport and the high mountains are usually climbed from more mature people with ski traditions. On the other hand, unlike the skis, there is no real snowboarding statistics about the eightthousanders. It looks like no one has made it but that’s not true. Technically there is no problem for descending these peaks both skiing and snowboarding – it’s a matter of personal preference and skills.

We keep our fingers crossed for Manaslu, have you already considered the next goal?

Thanks! Many people support me and I am grateful to everyone. I really believe this helps because I felt it while climbing the last meters of Lenin peak 7134m. in Pamir in 2017.

I have not thought of anything after Manaslu. This is my main goal at the moment and I’m focused only on it. I hope to be lucky with the weather, snow conditions, health and to be successful on Manaslu. All other plans will come after the expedition this Sept-Oct.

More information about Vladimir and a link to his fundraising campaign you can find on his webpage