Photo left: Petri Kovalainen Interview: Anna Langer
We caught up with Norwegian freeride skier Ane Enderud, who won the Freeride World Tour last year, before the second stop of the women's tour in Fieberbrunn. Although she injured her back only two weeks ago, she's back on her skis already, doing what she loves most and living her dream.
Hi Ane, what are you up to at the moment?
I’m in Fieberbrunn for the 2nd stop of the Freeride World Tour.
How’s the FWT going for you so far? Ehh not so good actually, I had to skip the first stop in my home resort Chamonix because of some back problems I got the day before the competition. But I feel a lot better now, which makes me really happy. So this will be the first contest for me this year.
How are the conditions looking in Fieberbrunn? Hmm, we got a lot of fresh snow but there is no base, so it looks like we will be riding a lot on rocks and grass.
That sounds like quite dangerous conditions. How does that affect the run you’re planning? We just arrived today and only had a quick look, the proper inspection of the face is only tomorrow. But I think it’s going to be tricky to jump because the exits and landings are full of rocks and grass. I wanted to find some good sized jumps but I guess I need to reconsider that a bit now. I will still try to find a line with as many jumps as possible so it doesn't look boring but maybe leave out the biggest drops. There is a technical part on the top that might be good for me to do something with, a bit like Chamonix sometimes, technical and rocky. But it's different to ride that in a competition because I want to ski fast and fluid for the show. I really need to see it during the inspection as there is only light snow hardly covering the face. Maybe I’ll do some old school split jumps (laughs). I just hope I can do something funny up there, something different.
Judging the conditions is probably one of the hardest part in freeride comps... Oh yes! It’s a big face and we will walk up the backside so we can’t really know before we are in it.
Are you hiking all events at FWT? If there is no lift access we hike, there’s too many people and too little money for helis this year.
Have you seen any of the other competitors ride yet? I couldn't even see the competition in Chamonix as I was stuck in bed cause of my back.
Do you think its going to be difficult for you to win again this year? Not doing all the events makes it more difficult of course as the score is the best three events out of so I need good results in all the last results. But I think I still have a chance if I stay on my feet and my back is working with me. Today was my first day riding again so that’s not the perfect preparation so I will try to focus on each event and not the total right now.
How did you injure your back? I don’t really know, I was just riding and jumping as normal but I’ve been jumping a lot this year and had some flat landings so guess it had been building up over a longer time even if I didn't feel anything until I was down on my knees. I can still feel it so it plays a bit with your mind, especially when it’s the back, and today was the first day really skiing again, but it felt ok so I’ll just be a bit careful instead of skiing full on as normal. If I don’t crash I still think I have a good chance to win events so I’m positive and just really happy I’m here now, just 10 days ago I couldn't even walk.
Being back for a competition after only 10 is pretty impressive! I’m strong (laughs)! We’ll see how it turns out, I take it day by day. But it sure felt good to move properly again. I had a day in front of my computer yesterday and felt really bad after sitting around all day so maybe skiing is the cure!
Haha, apparently it is! So its not the ambition but the fun in skiing that you got back so quickly? No doubt! Of course I want to do good and win the tour but being healthy and having fun must come first, you realise that when you get older. I got battered many times, it’s a hard sport on the body, maybe especially on a girl, but I just love it some much I can’t stop. It’s my life. With the injuries it’s hard sometimes, it puts you on psychological tests for sure. But sometimes I surprise myself, how you do anything to get back on the skis so you can play in the snow with your friends again. When I did my first run today I was worried and scared of the pain coming back but when you realise it’s working, although I definitely didn't push it, and I see how happy I am just being out there again puts it in perspective again. Even just doing a fast run on the slope with the girls I was laughing out loud and singing, That’s happiness for me.
What else are you up to this winter besides FWT? Filming and shooting as much as possible in between, but it’s tricky with the comp schedule sometimes. And I’m actually putting together my first girl camp!
What do you have planned? It’ll be one week in Chamonix in April with girls from Norway. I’m so excited! I hope someone wants to come…
What’s the camp going to be like? The girls need to be pretty good skiers already but definitely no full pros, more girls who want to improve in freeriding but have good level already. Eight girls, one week in Cham, Verbier and heli skiig in Italy. And a nice chalet with private chef!
Do you think camps are important for the scene? Yes, especially for girls. I hope the camps inspires them and that I can share my knowledge so more girls will spend time following their dreams. But I think in general the important thing about girl camps is to find other girls to ride with that share the same passion.
What advise can you give girls that want to go into professional skiing? I guess to be a pro first of all make sure you love skiing! You need to be motivated not only to ski and have fun, although that needs to be the main thing, but also to do all the more boring basic and core training to be in shape all year. Find other sports for summer that you love doing that wil be good training, there are many activities that help a lot and variations are good. I do many different things myself, not all the time but depending on where I am and with whom. Biking, yoga, surfing, climbing, watersports in general, running and whatever else that comes up... Working with sponsors will be a big part if you do good work that has a value for them, photos, filming, competitions and be happy. To get sponsored these things are always in. So get out there with your friends, have fun and be creative!
Thank you very much and good luck with the comp!
You want to know more about Ane and follow her adventures over the rest of the winter? Check out her blog on skieraneenderud.blogspot.com