When you think of Kenya, you probably aren’t thinking of alpine ski racing. The country is quite literally located on the equator and the average snowfall throughout most of the country is just around zero. The tallest peak in the country, Mount Kenya (17,057 ft.), does have snow pretty consistently, but snow related activities are essentially non-existent. That doesn’t mean, however, there aren’t those hoping to represent the African nation in winter sports.

Issa Laborde is a 15-year-old Kenyan who currently resides in France. His father was a rescue patroller on ski mountains, allowing Issa to begin skiing when he was just 2 years old. In 2022, Laborde and his family reached out to the nation of Kenya to see if they would be willing to support his goals of representing the country in alpine ski racing, and they said yes.

From July 5 to July 18, Laborde took part in a training camp in South Korea. The goal of the New Horizon Academy Program, a part of the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation, is to help athletes from developing nations participate in the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Laborde was one of two representing Kenya, with the other being cross country skier Ashley Tshanda.

Kenya has had representatives at four Winter Olympics to date. In 1998, Philip Boit became the first to represent the country in the winter through cross country skiing. He was the only Kenyan representative in 2002 and 2006 as well. In 2018, Kenyan Sabrina Simader became the first woman to represent the country in the Winter Olympics through alpine skiing.

Hopefully we’ll see more Kenyan competition in the Winter Olympics through Issa Laborde. We’re wishing him the best of luck as he begins competing in international competitions.

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Image Credit: Team Kenya via X