How and when did you start skiing, how has it evolved ever since and what got you into freeskiing?
I grew up in Lech am Arlberg, Austria, and started skiing at three years of age. My sister and I lived in a winter paradise only 100m away from the closest chair lift. My Mum used to send us to ski school instead of kindergarten, and Dad – who’s a ski instructor - spent a lot of time with us on the mountain.
At the age of eight, I moved to Torquay, Australia, with my family and didn’t return to live in Austria until I was finished with high school. Luckily, we were able to return to Lech most years to ski for 6 weeks during our summer holidays. Dad was working, so I always joined the higher groups in the Ski School Lech, skiing off-piste with the best local guides all day and in all types of snow conditions. I never raced and I couldn’t carve a turn, I learnt that later during the Austrian ski instructor courses. At the age of 23, I went on to become a ski guide myself which had been a childhood dream of mine.
It was my good mate and ski instructor colleague, Martin Winkler, who first introduced me to the world of freeskiing at the age of 18. I bought my first ever freeride ski with a waist width of 68mm, the Salomon XScream, and started skiing longer and faster turns and jumping off cliffs.
In 2004 I entered and won my first big mountain contest, the Red Bull Snowthrill in Slovenia. It wasn’t until 2008 however that I started freeriding professionally, back then the sport was still new and companies were only just starting to really invest in freeriding.
SCOTT started sponsoring me in 2006, making them my longest standing partner, and we have worked together excellently ever since, of which I am quite proud.
Who were/are your idols on and off the hill?
I really look up to skiers like Michelle Parker and Candide Thovex, but the skiers who probably influence me the most are my Arlberg skiing buddies Stefan Häusl and Björn Heregger. I think having a good crew to ski/ride with is the most important thing for a freerider.
What does skiing mean to you personally?
Everything. It’s how I choose to lead my life, how I choose which goals I want to set myself and what is important to me. I don’t have a private and work life; as a skier, it’s all rolled into one. It’s intense.
What were your 3 biggest accomplishments on hill and why?
Coming back stronger than ever after a serious knee injury in 2007, followed by an eight month period of illness which prevented me from skiing
Placing 2nd at the Swatch Xtreme Verbier 2013 and winning the Freeride World Qualifier tour (region Europe) in the same year
Winning the “Best Freeride Female” movie award (2013) from the International Freeski Film Festival (IF3) for my Alaska segment in “Shades of Winter”.
What aspect of skiing thrills you the most? (in skiing in general)
Skiing powder, especially at high speeds and in steep or playful terrain. I also love jumping, it’s such an incredible feeling.
In what conditions and what terrain do enjoy riding the most?
I love the terrain we have at the Arlberg. It’s varied, steep, and playful, characterized usually by a deep snow pack. Lots of snow means safety in a lot of ways, the most accident prone seasons (avalanche or other) are those with little snow.
Any activities that aren’t ski related?
I love rock climbing and surfing, and recently started mountain biking, which is so similar to freeriding in winter. I love learning languages, playing the piano, travelling and philosophizing with friends and strangers alike. Gaining new life experiences, whatever that may be, is key for me.
How do you manage to combine family/ friends and job?
That’s not always easy to do. My Dad lives in Lech so I get to see him fairly regularly. My Mum still lives in Australia so that’s harder. My sister is in Switzerland and we try and catch up as much as possible, but my family understands that I’m very busy in winter and they don’t put pressure on me. I’m single at the moment so that definitely makes things less complicated.
Please answer, if possible, with one word only.
Trick/Move: cliff drops
Band: Kings of Leon
Book: The books that have had the most impact on me are the “Conversations with God” series from Neil Donald Walsch
Resort/Place to ski: Lech Zürs am Arlberg
What do you like about SCOTT?
SCOTT is a true freeride company, both in summer and winter, and a big supporter of our sport. Their employees love the sports they produce gear for, which makes the SCOTT products so good. SCOTT has stood by me through good times and tough times, and they value long-term partnerships just like me.
What are your favorite SCOTT products?
I love my SCOTT Team Issue poles and Off-Grid goggles, and the SCOTT G2 FR 110 M ski boots are the best boots I’ve ever owned.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Still working in the sport of freeriding and in the mountains, in combination with coaching and maybe business consulting; more time for some interesting freeski mountaineering projects.
People you feel you need to thank:
I have so many people to thank for their support, trust, help and advice over the years. I especially want to thank my family and friends for being there for me and believing in me, despite all the ups and downs and the risk involved. You are all amazing!