Even though the snow has already started melting again, we caught up with freeride skier Sandra Lahnsteiner to chat progression and dedication in the white gold…
Interview by Anna Langer
Hey Sandra, did you get to enjoy the recent dumpings?
Luckily I was in the mountains in the Salzburg Land, it’s amazing to have such great powder conditions beginning of December! Hopefully it’ll continue like that!!
Do you still get to ride your home mountains a lot or are you traveling most of the winter?
I really enjoy being able to do both, it’s all about the balance. I love traveling with my skis, getting to know new people, places and cultures, and facing the adventures and challenges such trips to foreign lands often bring. But I obviously hope for a winter as great as we had last year again. That turns Austria into a freeride paradise and I really enjoy being home.
You went to Morocco last year, how was that?
It was a very special trip with my longtime friend and fellow Fischer team rider Melissa Presslaber. From the beginning it was clear that a trip to such an exotic destination wouldn’t revolve solely around snow conditions and skiing but the whole adventure of skiing the Moroccan mountains and the people we would meet. Snow conditions and weather were on our side though ad so we managed to ride Mount Toubkal, the tallest mountain in North Africa which is 4167 meters above sea. Standing on top of the “mountain of all mountains”, as the local Berber tribes call it, between the Sahara desert and the Atlantic ocean was a uniquely amazing feeling. Just like the heli trip of course… And we will also forever cherish the memory of the outstanding hospitality the Berbers greeted us with. Hence the title for the movie we made from it: Shukran Morocco, meaning „Thank you Morocco“.
The teaser for that looks amazing, when’s the movie gonna be out?
After screeing at IF3 Montreal, Innsbruck and various Freeride, Mountain and Adventure Film Festivals all around Europe we’re gonna publish it online – keep posted!
Do you have similar plans for this season?
Just being outside and skiing as much as possible! With a focus on filming, working with filmers and photographers made me discover a creative side in myself as I love to figure out the perfect light and angles for my lines and turns, it’s almost like painting lines on a canvas – with me as the paintbrush! And since I went to Canada with the girls from shejumps.org last April, I’m also working on another all-female ski movie with Lynsey Dyer. We’ve brain stormed and idea-swapped for nights and Lynsey put together a teaser, so now we’re planning some more trips for the main part of the movie. We’re putting all our love, sweat and tears into that, so I’m sure it’s gonna be an exciting winter.
It seems like female freeski progression is going through the roof recently, how do you explain this sudden boom?
Oh yes it is and I’m proud to be a part of that! I guess one of the reasons for that are the riders on the Freeride World Tour, how give everything year after year and push the contest level to new heights. And on the other hand the girls far from the contest scene, who produce epic movie parts with various production companies or realise their own projects. All of that inspires and motivates other girls and it’s lovely to watch this developing. And I think our sponsors and partners also noticed the potential of the female freeski market.
What’s your ultimate advice for girls who want to progress from regular alpine skiing on to freeride or freestyle?
“Ultimate” advice… Have fun with what you do! And believe in and work on yourself. Since experience is the most vital factor for freeriding, my advice here would be to go out with seasoned riders as much as you and attend a freeride or avalanche security camp at all costs. And then just spending as much time in the mountains as possible!
Anythign else you’d like to get off your chest?
What are you waiting for girls – hit the powder already! And join my Ladies Freeride Camp if you fancy….
Sandra skis for Fischer, Peak Performance, Recco, Leki Elements, Uvex Core Range, ABS-airbag, Riggler, Mammutsports & Weißsee Gletscher Welt, follow her adventures on sandralahnsteiner.com