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Out on the Slopes with our Athletes

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Out on the Slopes with our Athletes

Exploring the slopes on their doorstep, our Snowsports Athletes have shared their experiences of skiing and exploring locally.

Anne Wangler
Professional Skier

Favourite Moutain: All the mountains in Tyrol, Austria

How are you exploring locally?

“I’m very fortunate to call Innsbruck in Tyrol, Austria, my home. Tyrol is to me, a very special place in the world. Being surrounded by beautiful mountains in Innsbruck, I am able to explore locally in the scenic winter landscape of the Austrian Alps and enjoy the fresh powder.”

When travel restrictions lift, where is your next destination?

“I really want to go back to Northern Norway next spring to ski and flyfish. I also have other (let’s say more adventurous/ exotic) destinations in mind but we’ll see what 2021 has in store for us!

For now, I’ll stick to exploring my backyard which is also pretty sweet when you live in the heart of the Alps.”

PadaunerBerg_Anne_10. Dezember 2020_14
PadaunerBerg_Anne_10. Dezember 2020_8

What is your favourite ski memory?

“Standing on top of the steepest and most exposed line somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the Chugach/ Alaska.

It was a solo drop off and I felt incredibly excited, very nervous, maybe a little anxious but for sure challenged. This feeling was probably the most intense ever. I was 100% focused, no room for any other thoughts. I skied out of the chute. Stoked. I did it.”

What has been your toughest challenge?

“Hands down, my injury in April 2019 and coming back from it. I wrecked my leg pretty badly, I broke my tibia, fibula and my meniscus, basically everything besides ACL.

It was really tough, everything was taken away from me at that time. The pain was bad but bearable. The toughest part and biggest take away was to ask for and accept help from others.

Advice? Well, you usually cannot change the situation you’re facing but definitely how you deal with it. It wasn’t fun but I learnt and I grew.”

How do you make sure you perform to your highest ability?

“The number 1 goal in our sport is and will always be to minimise the risks as much as possible. Skiing comes with a lot of uncertainties BUT there are 3 main things that you can do:

  1. Get educated, exercise and keep learning. When you’re out on the slopes communicate with your peers/ guides, work as a team and make smart decisions.
  2. Always keep in mind “Better safe than sorry.” It’s okay to call it a day
  3. Get the right gear. Gear that you trust and know how to use.”

Gabriella Edebo
Skier, Writer and Film Festival Producer

Favourite Moutain: Åre & Kläppen

How are you exploring locally?

“I’m lucky to live close to my favourite mountain Åre. My beautiful home mountain Åre is the largest resort we have in Sweden and offers the best combination of on-piste and backcountry riding.”

When travel restrictions lift, where is your next destination?

Mount Baker in the US is a very special place to me, it is at the top of the list of places I want to be able to go back to once we’re allowed. But I’m also very excited about exploring more of what Sweden, and hopefully also Norway, has to offer. I have almost overlooked local spots when the Alps and travelling all over the world took the spotlight.”

What is your favourite ski memory?

“When I was 13 years old my racing team and I went to Kläppen for an early morning training session. Instead of setting a slalom course we took a few runs just for fun to enjoy the fresh powder on top of the perfectly groomed slopes. This was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done! To this day I’m still hooked on skiing groomed slopes with a fresh dusting of powder on top, it’s the best.

What has been your toughest challenge?

“When I was attending a ski racing academy when I was 15 to 19, I ended up being injured and breaking my leg twice and wrecking my knee once. All the training and mental strength that goes in to the rehabilitation of injuries can be draining and really hard to find motivation to push through, but the feeling of being back on skis after something like that is indescribable.”

How does your kit, allow you to perform to your highest ability?

“Having complete trust in your gear is essential for skiing, especially when you start moving into unknown terrain or pushing your boundaries both mentally and physically. Safety gear can make all the difference if something unexpected happens. However even with an avalanche backpack and all the rescue gear, it is by no means any kind of insurance to keep you out of trouble. You still have to make all the right decisions as a group.”

Ulli Steiner
Mountain Guide, Climber & Skier

Favourite Moutain: Alpspitze

How are you exploring locally?

“From my home, I can see the north face of my favourite mountain Alpspitze which is 2,628m high. Alpspitze offers fantastic skiing opportunities from easy/regular skiing on the east face to the steep and extreme north and west faces. I’m lucky to live so close that I can enjoy the beautiful winter landscape the mountain has to offer. Between working and home schooling my children, I spend every free minute in the snow skiing locally.

When travel restrictions lift, where is your next destination?

“I would really like to go on a sailing-ski touring trip to Svalbard, so I can see the polar bears whilst skiing.

The pandemic has given me the time to think about my personal impact on travelling around the planet for skiing and climbing. In the future I am thinking about projects that allow me to reduce my impact on the environment so my children will still be able to go skiing in the Alps not only on artificial snow.”

What is your favourite ski memory?

“A few years ago when I skied the north face of Alpspitze together with my wife under perfect powder conditions. We were completely alone on the mountain.”

Ulli 2
Ulli 3

What has been your toughest challenge?

Once I skied alone on a very steep face in my backyard which I had climbed up with crampons before starting my descent. I thought that I had checked a feasible line whilst climbing up, but skiing down was way more demanding than hoped. All of sudden a little avalanche swept away the snow over rock I was planning to ski down; I was forced to change my skies again for crampons. Not that easy in really steep terrain. Luckily, I have trained for this particular situation, so I managed to escape this ‘on the edge’ situation.

My advice, when you are skiing at your limit always think of a plan B and try to anticipate unexpected problems and work on a solution before.”

How does your kit, allow you to perform to your highest ability?

“The Osprey Soelden Pro gives me additional safety in ski touring and freeriding when the avalanche risk is high. As a mountain guide I have travelled around the world with my clients; ski touring unexplored regions in Central Asia and many more where avalanche accidents can become life threatening, with no rescue service around the corner to help you. In this situation, the Soelden Pro can help you stay on the surface of the avalanche, allowing your friends to locate you much quicker than if you are buried under tons of snow.

This being said, never plan to go out when there is a high avalanche risk. Safety features such as an airbag can only help so much.”

Photos by: Chris Riefenberg (@chrisriefenberg) and Kevin T. McHugh

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