The Austrian freeskier chats females powers, exotic travels and progression galore!
Interview by Anna Langer
Hey Eva, have you started your season yet?
I did not move to the southern hemisphere this year and except of a few shootings on the glacier I didn’t ski much so far... I wanna wait for bigger snowfalls!
What are your plans for the next couple of months?
At the moment and over the next 2 months I’ll still be preparing my winter. I have one or two film projects on the pipeline which need to be planned in the next weeks. So at the moment there is lot of office work, 5 hours of training every day and some meetings with my sponsors. I‘m pretty busy, but as soon as the snow falls I’ll go out and ski. Hopefully soon!
The female freeski scene seems to be progressing at massive speed at the moment, how do you see that?
Oh yeah! I think the level was growing enormously over the last couple years. We’re pushing each other a lot. The girls on the tour are going bigger and faster every year. And the gap to the guys is getting smaller and smaller. I really like it, because we’re not "the girls" anymore.
Can you explain where that came from?
I think there were some girls who really stepped it up, like Janette Hargin for example, she pushed us girls pretty hard. She was the World Champion in 2011 and I’m a big fan of her and her skiing style. She showed that we can go a lot higher, sometimes as high as the boys, and we can also stomp these huge 10 meter cliffs at competitions. And last year I think we followed her way of skiing (she’s not competing anymore) and showed some really good action. It’s not enough to drop a 3 meter cliff anymore - if you wanna be on the top of the game you’ve got to drop higher and go really fast. Another thing me be girls like Christine Hargin and me, who came from ski races (she was in the Swedish National Team and I skied for Austria Ski Team). Our racing technique allowed us to go really fast on our runs, which is a very important thing for a good contest run and to impress the judges. And then there are some more girls who came from completely different skiing backgrounds. Jacky Paaso from mogul skiing, Janina Kuzma is a very good slopestyle skier and Angel Collinson, a very young and motivated girl from a racing background as well. And Jess McMillan, she has a lot of experience. These different backgrounds show different styles and that’s great. I love it.
And yet females are still often treated like 2nd class in competitions like the Freeride World Tour - at least that's what the snowboard girls told us. Is it the same for the skiers? Much (!!) less prize money, always starting after the men when everything is tracked already...
Yes, it is the same and it is a shame. But the last years we fought a lot for the same rights. They put us back to the Qualifier Tour two years ago and last year they took us back to the "real" World Tour again. The price money is a bit higher this year, as they got good sponsors. Honestly it’s still almost everything focused on the boys. But I do have the feeling, that since the level is growing so much, our status has risen too. Sometimes it’s not easy to be a girl in this sport but I think if we show good action on our runs they will notice and respect us a lot more.
Anne-Flore Marxer started a whole campaign about it the year before last, and I think some of the skier girls were involved in that too. Did anything change since then?
I love Anne-Flore for that! She’s a fighter. She fights for the female rights. Not all girls are doing that. But she’s also in a very good place to do so, she’s really well known in the scene and people listen to her voice if she has to say something. The only thing that changed was that we came back to the World Tour but I think it’s a long way. And honestly, I put so much energy into this topic over the last years, that I don’t want to fight for more rights or price money anymore. I accept the way it is and want to concentrate on the thing I love most: skiing and having a good contest run. The guys are fully respecting us and our performance and I hope the media will do it as well in the future. We’re girls and we can’t ski the same as the boys, that’s a fact - and it’s like that in almost all kinds of sports - but we also push our limits and show some really good action on the Tour.
At the beginning I didn’t like competing so much but now I really love it. You meet all these nice people from all over the world. They are not your rivals, it’s kind of a big family. Of course everybody wants to win but nobody is jealous or angry with the winner like it is often in ski racing. I also learned skiing faster and stronger on the tour. And of course the 2nd place overall last year was really good as well.
Are you going to compete again this year?
Yes of course! This year the tour is bigger than ever - I’m proud to be a part of it!
Tell us a bit more about the film projects you got in plan...
Me and my ski buddies at home want to do a nice movie project this winter and
I‘m also talking to my sponsor SALEWA to do a film. But nothing concrete at the moment. But the winter is so busy every year anyways, I’ve got so many projects in the pipeline that I want to do. It comes as it comes.
We loved the "Path of Roses" from the Himalaya last year... Do you have anything similar in stock for this winter?
No, not this year. I was in Iran a few years ago, I skied from the Olymp in Greece, two years ago I was in Kashmir and last year in Albania. I did a lot of exotic trips so this year I just wanna ski at home I think. I got invitations to America and Albania again for projects, but I’ll decide during the season what I’m gonna do and for what I’ll have time.
What other exotic destination would you love to ski one day?
I would like to ski at so many places but for everybody it’s the biggest dream to go to Alaska. And for me as well!
Anything else you’d like to get off your chest?
Hmmmm... Girls go out, have a big smile on your face, ski with self confidence and go big! Because we rock.
Eva is sponsored by White Dot, Salewa, Cébé, Komperdell, Zanier, Rockstar and White World and runs a blog on evawalkner.com