Warren Miller Film Shoot @ Lech Zürs am Arlberg

March 20, 2010

Last year I was lucky enough to film a segment for Warren Miller’s “Dynasty” in the Lyngen Alps, the very north of Norway. So when Kästle told me I was to film with Warren Miller again this season, what’s more in my home town, I felt like the luckiest person on earth.

For once, snow and weather conditions totally cooperated, the film shoot from 7th to 17th March was a huge success with cold powder and one sunny day after another. My Kästle buddies Karine Falck-Pedersen and Hugo Harrisson were with me, and I found myself guiding the crew including camera director extraordinaire Tom Day and camera assistant Hanno Mackowitz to my favourite spots around Lech Zürs.

Setting up for the perfect shot. From left to right: Tom Day, Peter Mathis, Hanno Mackowitz

Hugo Harrisson shredding the pow in Zürs

The segment will touch on the long history of skiing at the Arlberg, as well as my own family history in Lech, which goes back 400 years. One of the oldest families in Lech, the Huber family resided in the “Huberhus” for 200 years, one of the oldest buildings in Lech and currently a museum.

And here's a taste of what's to come in next year's Warren Miller movie!

Nissan Tram Face Squaw USA – 3rd Freeride World Tour Stop

March 2, 2010

The 3rd FWT stop was held yesterday, Monday, on the Silverado venue in Squaw Valley USA. We couldn’t ski the ledgendary Tram Face due to the snow conditions. The wet snow from the day before was frozen solid from the temperature drop and clear skies during the night. Lots of competitors were feeling nervous about skiing the Tram Face, then we had a large slab avalanche which was triggered from a person walking on the ridge above, and that was the end of that. The Tram Face remains unskied.

The FWT venue in Squaw, Silverado. The start was right next to the High Camp building.

Instead, Silverado offered competitors playful terrain to put up a great show for the hundreds of cheering locals, with riders pushing the limits with a ‘best of two runs’ format. It was the strongest female field I’ve ever competed in, with the 10 top riders in the world competing. The high point of the day was the women skiers stepping up the game with a great level of riding, taking the same big cliff jumps as the men and creative line choices. Local Squaw Valley skier and Freeride World Tour wild card Jackie Paaso was without a doubt the biggest crowd pleaser. She took a massive cliff jump at the bottom of the face, faster and higher than most of the men, challenging them for the second heat. Ane Enderud skied a solid technical line, placing her in 2nd place, and Squaw local and ski movie star Ingrid Backstrom executed a balsy move with a difficult air into a transition.

Henrik Windstedt won it for the men’s ski and Xavier de Le Rue for the snowboard with Shannan Yates winning it for the women’s snowboard.

Jackie Paaso killing it!!! ©NISSAN TRAM FACE 2010 SQUAW VALLEY USA / C.MARGOT

After landing on a rock and crashing on my first run, I decided to ski the same line I had planned for my 1st run, this time giving it some more juice so I would clear the rocks in the landing on my second air. I cleared the rocks all right, flying way further than I had thought, which meant I was too low to access the line I had planned on the skiers right. So my line lacked good drops in the lower section. I came in 8th, which has moved me down in the Freeride World Tour 2010 ranking to 7th place. As only the top 3 female skiers are invited to compete in the FWT finals at the Verbier Extreme, it probably means I’ll be ending my competition season now.

All in all, it was such an honour for me to be skiing side by side with undoubtedly some of the best female skiers in the world, to be part of it. I had a great time.

First podium at the Freeride World Tour

February 14, 2010

At the start of the winter, I was lucky enough to receive a wildcard for the 2nd – of a total of 4 – Freeride World Tour women’s stop, the SCOTT Big Mountain Fieberbrunn in Austria. The contest, also a 3-star Freeride World Qualifier for the men, took place yesterday in generally good weather conditions. The quality of the snow on the “Wildseeloder” face was good, however due to the lack of a good snow base, options were limited to 3 to 4 main lines. As many competitors discovered, there was often only a thin layer of snow on relatively rocky terrain.

Women's podium ski @ SCOTT Big Mountain Fieberbrunn

Female riders who chose a relatively easy line with good snow conditions, but able to ski fast and fluid, came out on top. Norway’s Ane Enderud, Freeride World Champion 2009, dominated with a fast line in the furthest couloir on the skiers right, incorporating several airs.  Sweden’s Janette Hargin also showed great skiing with no hesitation in a similar line, while I was placed 3rd by the judges for a fast and smooth line with one big air. New Zealand’s Janina Kuzma was close on my heels in 4th place with a well-skied, creative line she seemed happy with.

Excitement and nerves at the start of the race

Wille Lindberg dropping the same air as I did

Probably the most enjoyable competition run I have had to date...shredding the pow

In the men’s field, Austria’s Matthias “Hauni” Haunholder, a local of Fieberbrunn, and Switzerland’s Simon Andermatten, shared the podium with 2 quite different, but very impressive runs. Third place went to Austria’s Stefan Hofer, followed by my skiing buddy and fellow Austrian Stefan Häusl.

Lorraine podiums again at the Engadinsnow!

February 10, 2010

The Engadinsnow is undoubtedly one of the best freeride events in Europe, running for the 8th time this year. For me it was the first time I was to compete on the legendary Piz Corvatsch, a north face which instils respect in even the most seasoned riders. I was feeling nervous while waiting for the cable car to take us to the first pylon, from which we abseiled down to reach the top of the face.

The Piz Corvatsch north face of the Engadinsnow

The women were to start after the men, which gave us ample time to check our line from the start and watch some of the male skiers and snowboarders in action. I decided to go for a fast line with a small but exposed air on a ridge before dropping another small but fast air into a couloir. I exited the couloir at full speed, probably over-excited, and wasn’t able to hold myself together for the next turn, which resulted in a full somersault before I was back on my feet and heading towards my last air, which I stomped. Although I was disappointed about not staying on my feet, I was happy with the rest of the line, which I skied fluently and aggressively. First place went to my Girls Ski Movie filming buddy, Pia Widmesser, for a smooth and controlled line, while France’s Olivia Benoit skied into 2nd place with a very technical line in steep and exposed terrain. New Zealand’s Sam Smoothy stole the show in the male ski field with a fast and aggressive line including some difficult airs, followed by French men Mathieu Imbert and Thibauld Duchosal.

From left to right: 3rd Lorraine Huber, 1st Pia Widmesser, 2nd Olivia Benoit

Engadinsnow Winner Sam Smoothy. Yeah bro!!

Visit the Engadinsnow website for complete results as well as great heli and cable camera footage of each rider’s run.

3rd Place FWQ: Freeride de Flaine

February 10, 2010

After 2 days of filming in Lech Zürs with the girls for our Girls Ski Movie it was off to France again for a Freeride World Qualifier in Flaine, for which I was prequalified for the finals. A total of 10 female skiers and snowboarders were qualified for the finals. The finals venue offered numerous options and features to hit, but proved quite difficult to orientate in due to the characteristic rollers and convex shaped terrain, which makes finding take-offs challenging.

The finals venue at Flaine

A 1.5hr hike awaited competitors before their start for the Freeride de Flaine

Snow conditions were on our side with 50cm of fresh powder, very rare contest conditions indeed, but the initial blue bird skies clouded over around midday. As a result the women’s field was moved down to better light and started their run half way down the face. Unfortunately, I had a major bum check in my line but still managed to place 3rd after banking some nice pow turns and landing a double, as well as a nice air at the bottom of the line. Sweden’s Janette Hargin skied a fast and fluent line to the top of the podium and Australia’s Hanna Fisher cruised into 2nd place. The male field made the most of the great conditions, choosing huge air and often technical lines in order to impress the judges. French men Mickael Bimboes and Bertrand Clair placed 1st and 2nd respectively, while Finnland’s Joonas Karhumaa, telemarker extraordinaire, took out third.

1st Janette Hargin, 2nd Hanna Fisher, 3rd Lorraine Huber

Freeride World Tour Chamonix: 4th place

February 2, 2010

After an amazing day of fresh powder and fun cliff drops last Friday with my mates in St. Anton, I received a call saying I have a starting place at the Freeride World Tour in Chamonix. This is an amazing chance for me and exactly what I want: to compete alongside some of the best female big mountain skiers in the Freeride World Tour. Luckily, Saturday was inspection day so I had enough time to drive to the French mountaineering and skiing capital.

On Sunday I was the very last person to start which gave me a chance to watch the first male skiers and snowboarders on the day of the event. It had snowed 30 to 50 cm 2 days before, but before the snow fall the south facing aspects were known to have been very icy. The result was that the fresh snow was sliding off the hard old layer. Forerunner Martin Winkler skied from the top of start 2, the starting choice of the majority of the competitors, and triggered a soft slab avalanche coming into a steep flank. Only a sheet of ice was left. Although I knew snow conditions were variable and challenging, and after much debating with fellow competitor Jess McMillan who ranked 3rd in the FWT 2009, I decided to pull through with the original line I chose from starting gate 2. I skied my line fairly fluently considering the conditions. To be honest I was happy to have stayed on my feet and land the 2 cliffs I had planned. New Zealand’s Janina Kuzma and I had a very similar run but finally the judges decided the place Janina 3rd since she skied over more exposure than I did. Fellow Austrian skier Eva Walkner skied a fast line placing her in 2nd position, and the winner of the day in the end was Jess McMillan! Her decision to not shred the gnar, but shred the pow, payed off with an original line over some nice airs from starting gate 1. Overall the level of girls skiing was very strong.

Checking my line ©NISSAN FREERIDE DE CHAMONIX-MONT-BLANC 2010 / T. REPO

©NISSAN FREERIDE DE CHAMONIX-MONT-BLANC 2010 / D. DAHER

The competition in the male field was intense. In the end Candide Thovex, international freestyle legend, persuaded the judges with a super fast and fun line also from starting gate 1. Swedish Kaj Zackrisson is one of the veterans on the tour, and a Chamonix local since 10 years. The strong skier took second with an extremely powerful and consistent run, taking clean and big air. American rising star and newcomer Tim Dutton impressed the judges as he chose an original line down the face; creative, exposed and finding the good snow. My mate Stefan Häusl had the run of his life and came in 6th after some huge aggressive airs. The most consistent run among the snowboarders was Austrian Mitch Toelderer’s line, with an interesting line interpretation in the middle, steep section of the course, and taking two solid airs towards the end. Austria is looking pretty strong for this year’s Freeride World Tour!

Next stop for me are some Freeride World Qualifiers in Flaine, France and Engadin, Switzerland and then the Freeride World Tour in Fieberbrunn which is going to be amazing! Fieberbrunn has finally received some fresh snow and conditions there are good.

“Pentes de l’Hôtel” face at the Brévent ski area

Competition Season 2010

January 24, 2010

During December and January I’ve been training hard in Lech Zürs to get into the best possible shape in time for the competition season. The biggest highlight for me will be the women’s Freeride World Tour stop in Fieberbrunn, Austria, for which I received a wild card. It is an honour to ride with the world’s best female big mountain skiers and my chance to show what I’m capable of. Fingers crossed! Furthermore, I’m one of 3 women prequalified for the finals at the Engadin Snow, a 3-star Freeride World Qualifier which earns riders double the points of a 2-star Qualifier event.

Check out this impressive teaser to get you pumped for the FWT in Fieberbrunn from 11 to 18 Feb:

Girls Ski Movie

December 21, 2009

In an interview I once said that one of the things I still want to do is become involved in an all-girls ski movie. This season my chance has finally come! Sandy Lahnsteiner – fitness traininer, mental coach, ex-racer and a woman of action – contacted me in July about the chance to be one of 6 skiers in an all-girls ski movie. The story revolves around a road trip the girls undertake, each to their own home ski resorts. We will travel from Gastein, Austria, to St. Jakob (Eastern Tirol), Cortina (Italy), Lech am Arlberg (Austria), Oberstdorf (Germany) and finally Verbier (Switzerland). As well as some beautiful skiing action, the film looks at how the girls find inspiration from each other to ski the best lines possible. Our goal is to inspire as many people – foremost women, but also men – to grab a group of friends and head to the mountains for some fun skiing action!

The crew consists of:

Riders: Sandra Lahnsteiner (Gastein), Mel Presslaber (St. Jakob), Giulia Monego (Cortina), Lorraine Huber (Lech am Arlberg), Pia Widmesser (Oberstdorf), and Laura Bohleber (Verbier).

Camera: Mathias Bergmann from sweetshots, some of Europe’s best outdoor sports photographers.

The road-tripping girls from ski resorts across the Alps (pic by Mirja Geh)

Pics by Mirja Geh

Together the girls will find and ride the best lines in each of their home ski resorts (pic by Yves Garneau)

Join our fan page on facebook to follow us on our road trip. For more information about how to get involved in our all-girls film project, please contact me directly.

HIKE Premiere in Innsbruck

December 5, 2009

The Leokino in Innsbruck was bursting at the seams last night. The audience was treated to 2 special Tirolean movies: Coconut Production’s “Immer Höher, Immer Weiter” about Reini Sampl’s monoski descent of the 3768m Wildspitze (Austria’s second highest mountain), and Whatever Film’s “HIKE – A Freeride Project in the Austrian Alps“. HIKE is the finished product of some of the hardest but most rewarding freeride lines I have skied to date. Click here and here to read my blog entries about these “missions”.

Reini Sampl surrounded by his friends, who ultimately made it possible for him to climb and ski Austria's second highest mountain, the "Wildspitze", on his monoski.

“Immer Höher, Immer Weiter” which can be translated as “Always Higher, Always Further”, is a moving documentary about one man’s determination, despite all odds, and the strength of friendship which can make dreams come true.

Click here to download our movie HIKE on Vimeo for free.

Warren Miller Film Tour for “Dynasty”

November 24, 2009

November was a busy month involving travelling to Boston and being present at 11 “Dynasty” shows in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. After the first couple of shows (Hartford attracted over 5,000 people!) I lost my shyness on stage and gained a new-found confidence speaking in front of large groups of people. A great experience!

I wonder what I was saying in that photo, our MC Brent looks pretty shocked!

There were also 4 other shows to visit in Germany and Austria. All of them a great success!

I literally signed and wrote personal messages on hundreds of these posters.

The best news is that I’ll be filming with Warren Miller again this season, this time in my own home stomping ground: the Arlberg! Joining me are freeskiing super star Hugo Harrisson and Norway’s Karine Falck-Pedersen, both in the Kästle Pro Team.