Dina Mishev of Jackson, Wyoming is not only a Guinness Book of World Record holder for the most uphill feet skied in one day by a woman, she is also a backcountry skier, runs three magazines and publishes travel stories for the likes of Outside and The Washington Post. She is also a breast cancer survivor who’s accomplished all of that while living with Multiple Sclerosis.
“The moment I remember from my cancer diagnosis, I got a call from my doctor when I was picking up my season’s ski pass, and I didn’t want to get the news alone so I asked her if she could call me back in 30 minutes so I could drive home to be with my boyfriend,” Mishev said about her 2014 diagnosis. “So I made it home and was already sobbing to the point of hyperventilation–I think I forgot to even buy my season pass. And I got my doctor on speaker phone and got the news. The next thing I remember was a couple days later being in the hospital and figuring out whether it had spread. It was odd going from, ‘I’m perfectly healthy’ to ‘Is it terminal?’ in a few days.”
For Mishev, her diagnosis was a whirlwind. Just a month prior to her diagnosis, she had completed a 15-mile hike up 10,000 vertical feet in five hours in Palm Desert. She felt a disconnect between feeling completely healthy and the realization that she had been diagnosed with cancer. So, to bridge that disconnect, Mishev grabbed onto the one thing that had long been a personal escape for her: backcountry skiing on Mount Glory just outside of Jackson.
“For cancer, my goal was just getting through it and being the same afterwards. Skiing in the backcountry was just the norm for me. The goal was just me getting back to being me” Mishev explains.
And so, as luck would have it, Mishev found herself at the base of the Mount Glory bootpack, on a February morning where the temperatures dropped as low as 15 below, exactly 10 years to the day that she set her Guinness World Record.
Mishev lead the way down the mountain, finding the best snow, and expertly weaving in and out of various tree stands. She skied with a constant smile on her face and a sense of control that highlighted her decades of experience living, and skiing, in Teton Valley.
“Whatever you need to do to support yourself mentally and physically while going through it, do it,” said Mishev when asked how to deal with cancer.
When asked about if she had any specific advice for children afflicted with the disease Mishev explained “anything, or any company, that can bring the slightest of smiles to a kid going through that stuff I fully support.”
We are so inspired by Dina’s strength through her diagnosis and her dedication to continue doing what she loves. Love Your Melon is so happy to have been a part of Dina’s journey, and we hope to continue bringing smiles to kids and adults across the world who are battling cancer.
Robert Pursell, Guest Writer
Katie Cooney, Photographer