A still from the film about Mustafa Ceylan soon to screen in the Banff Centre Mountain Film Tour of Australia

Mustafa Ceylan: A Skiing Odyssey of Dedication and Passion

Have you ever found yourself torn between following the path your family has laid out for you and pursuing the passion that truly ignites your soul? Mustafa Ceylan, a man of Turkish descent raised in Switzerland, faced exactly this dilemma. Though groomed to embrace soccer, Mustafa’s heart was drawn to the slopes, where he found his true calling in skiing.

A shot Mustafa Ceylan from the archives
Mustafa Ceylan Skiing, from the archives.

From a young age, Mustafa was captivated by the artistry and thrill of skiing, idolising legends like Candide Thorex and immersing himself in ski films, yearning to replicate the gravity-defying feats he witnessed on screen. Against the expectations of his upbringing, Mustafa chose to follow his heart, dedicating himself to freestyle skiing at the tender age of 15. His journey is a testament to the power of resilience and unwavering determination.

One remarkable aspect of Mustafa’s character is his complete resilience and dedication to keep on going despite the amount of falls and failures he faced in the early days of his skiing journey.  Reminiscing on Mustafas attempts to conquer a daunting 25-step handrail, filmmakers (and friends) Jules Guarneri & Benoît Goncerut recount that  “He literally busted his balls on his first try. Where the 99% would have given up, he got back up. After 4 attempts and many traumas, he succeeded. And this sums up pretty much the story of Mustafa’s life.”

Mustafa works on some ski's in the ski shop
Mustafa works on some ski’s in the ski shop

Even at 35 years old, Mustafa’s passion for skiing remains undimmed. His father fondly recalls how Mustafa’s love for the sport runs so deep that he occasionally sleeps with his skis—probably something many devoted skiers can relate to, but would never admit to! 

Yet, despite his remarkable achievements, Mustafa remains humble, shying away from the spotlight and preferring to express gratitude through simple gestures like wanting to treat his film crew to a fancy meal when all they really want is a kebab from the Ceylan family Kebab shop.

The face of a happy Mustafa Ceylan in the ski shop.
The face of a happy Mustafa Ceylan in the ski shop.

Mustafa’s journey is not just a personal triumph but also a cultural milestone. As a pioneer of skiing in his Kurdish-Turkish family, he challenges stereotypes and blazes a trail for future generations. His story resonates far beyond the slopes, inspiring others to pursue their passions fearlessly, irrespective of societal expectations.

The history of freestyle skiing itself is a testament to the sport’s evolution and resilience. Originating in the daring stunts of the 1930s and gaining momentum with acrobatic exhibitions in the 1950s, freestyle skiing has continually pushed the boundaries of athleticism and creativity. Icons like Stein Eriksen paved the way for modern-day skiers like Mustafa, showcasing the enduring spirit of innovation and adventure that defines the sport.

A still from the film about Mustafa Ceylan soon to screen in the Banff Centre Mountain Film Tour of Australia
A still from the film about Mustafa Ceylan soon to screen in the Banff Centre Mountain Film Tour of Australia

In a recent milestone, Mustafa was appointed as the official skiman for the Swiss freestyle ski team—an achievement that symbolises the culmination of years of dedication and perseverance. As he prepares the skis of the world’s best freestyle skiers, Mustafa’s journey comes full circle, embodying the transformative power of following one’s passion against all odds.

Mustafa Ceylan’s story is a reminder that life’s greatest adventures often begin when we follow our hearts and pursue our passions!

Don’t miss seeing Mustafa Ceylan’s story as part of the Banff Mountain Film festival lineup coming to a cinema near you soon! Tickets are now on sale- secure yours fast to avoid disappointment- get them HERE!

See Mustafa's story at the Banff Mountain Film Tour, coming soon.
See Mustafa’s story at the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival, coming soon.

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