First weekend in April I got a chance to be part of a crew organizing ski event called Freeride Fest (https:// www.freeridefest.com ) dedicated to all ski enthusiasts and specially to freeride skiing. The event was held in ski resort Hochfuegen, Austria.
Hochfuegen – a small but amazing resort offering great freeride opportunities is hidden at the begin of the famous Zillertal Valley at the very end of a 12km narrow swirling road with great mountain views. If you fancy off-pist skiing and do not mind short or longer hikes, you will be rewarded by amazing, sometimes more than 1000 elevation difference rides varying from easy open terrain to small couloirs or forest skiing. You can literally choose whatever terrain you fancy the most for your freeride experience.
The aim of this event was to celebrate skiing by gathering all ski and mountain enthusiasts together, share knowledge, raise awareness of safety in the mountains and especially in the “free terrain” and to show a wider public that mountains are worth exploring behind the slopes and ski resorts as well – as long as you have the right knowledge and equipment.
I was excited that I could be leading some of the freeride workshops offered during this weekend and to show my curious “freeride beginners” as well as experienced skiers what is freeriding about. I had groups up to 8 people which I had a pleasure to introduce to freeriding, share my knowledge about how to read the terrain, snow and ski conditions, how to evaluate potential avalange risks and what measures to take before, during and after freeriding. There is lots of rules and important things to bear in mind once you decide to leave the slopes and enter the “free zone”.
My mission was to show that freeriding is sport not only for “the extreme crazy few of us” but it can be actually something for everyone as long as you play according to the rules, follow the big MUSTS and listen to your “intuition” as well as to the mountains. It was so exciting to see their happy faces and smiles during and after our rides as well as to feel that I can influence them to dare to try more, push the limits and challenge their initial hesitations.
After this weekend I hope that I helped them to open the doors to something new, something adventurous which some of them would perhaps not dare to try on their own… Hearing their feedbacks and curious questions during the days and over a glass of wine in the evenings made me confident that these short but intensive 3 days were a great “freeride teaser” towards their new adventurous era in their freeride skiing experience. I feel that I have planted the seeds to their future passion for freeriding and this is something which makes me super happy! My mission of this weekend was completed – I have spread my big love to freeriding and inspired others to engage in this amazing sport!
You can check a summary and short video from the event at: https://www.freeridefest.com/