A Peek Into The Life Of A Pro Freerider

Born and raised in Austria, Simon grew up with skiing. Now he lives in Schruns (Montafon) within walking distance of the next ski gondola, the one and only reason why Simon gets so many skiing days per year. He has explored various countries and mountain ranges from New Zealand to Alaska with his skis, and his enthusiasm for skiing, snow and the mountains is still growing every day. Everyone who knows him can see it in his eyes. Currently he’s teaching, competing on the Freeride World Qualifier Tour and works as a ski guide. He can also be found in front of a camera for photo shoots and ski magazines.

Freeride & motivation – what it is all about
Recently, after having succeeded in two Freeride competitions in a row (Kick the Vik Eco Freeride Tour and Open Faces Silvretta Montafon FWQ3*) I got a lot of coverage in magazines, social media, newspapers and TV. And one topic seems to be of particular interest. People always ask me: Why are you doing this? Are you not afraid to land on rocks? Do you want to be Freeride World Champion?

Living in Austria, in the heart of the Alps, I’ve enjoyed skiing since I was a small kid. I never thought of why I’m doing it. Skiing to me is something natural, like eating or sleeping. No, I’m not afraid, but it does take a lot of preparation, a good risk management and, most of all, a good self assessment. And yes, it would be great to be the Freeride World Champion. But this is not my primary motivation or goal. But then, why am I really doing this? Skiing exposed terrain with various risks?

Freeriding and backcountry skiing, for me, is a tool of personal expression, a way to challenge fears and push my limits. I don’t necessarily have to be the best, but I want to ski the best I can. I want to show the best possible skiing and push my personal boundaries. This is what makes it so special—you never know what’s possible until you try. And above all, I want to have a good time out there with friends.

Knowing that it’s hard to make a living with backcountry skiing as a lonely wolf on a personal search led me to competitions. In the last few years, I’ve competed now and then in freeride events. Sometimes it’s hard to be motivated at the start gate and getting the planned run down. And other times it just works out fine. Like it did last week at the Open Faces 3*FWQ Silvretta Montafon, on my home mountain. To compete at home with many friends (and local media) watching is an intense feeling. It builds up pressure, but it also brings an external motivation to show my best skiing. At the start gate, I was completely concentrated and ready to go. At the end of the run it was just a fantastic feeling, knowing that I skied exactly what I had planned. In this moment, the result was only secondary. The second place at the winners’ ceremony was the icing on the cake—for sure worth celebrating, but more important was having skied the way I wanted to.

There are a lot of different motives for what we do outdoors, in an environment that’s not 100% calculable. Whatever your motivation is, go outside, have fun and live your dream!