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PowderPeople | Fabian Lentsch in conversation

The kids are alright

by Lea Hartl 10/19/2015
The last PowderGuide interview with Fabian Lentsch was a few years ago and was entitled 'The Junior'. In the meantime, Fabi, now 22, has established himself as a pro in the freeride scene. He rides for the most famous of all action sports-hyping effervescent manufacturers, qualified for the Freeride World Tour and then voluntarily left it behind, has appeared in several major film productions, traveled from Tyrol to Kyrgyzstan with a camper van and skis, and started speed flying. Over coffee, he told us about his FWT exit, how he deals with risk and his plans for the future.

The last PowderGuide interview with Fabian Lentsch was a few years ago and was entitled 'The Junior'. In the meantime, Fabi, now 22, has established himself as a pro in the freeride scene. He rides for the most famous of all action sports-hyping effervescent manufacturers, has qualified for the Freeride World Tour and then voluntarily left it behind, has appeared in several major film productions, traveled from Tyrol to Kyrgyzstan with a motorhome and skis, and has taken up speed flying. Over a coffee, he told us about his FWT exit, how he deals with risk and his plans for the future.

PG: Hi Fabi, thanks for coming. What should we start with? Is there a topic you want to talk about?

FL: Maybe the FWT exit? I get asked about that a lot.

PG: Well, what did RedBull say about your FWT exit?

FL: At first they didn't understand the decision, but I explained it to them and eventually they accepted it and said that I have to do what I think is right. In general, the sponsors were skeptical at first, also because I always said myself that I really wanted to join the FWT.

PG: Shortly before your much-noticed blog post about your decision to quit, there was even this RedBull film - Fabi's path to the FWT...

FL: The FWT was simply my big goal for a long time. After I explained the decision in my blog, RedBull even more or less liked it. They had already told me beforehand that I should concentrate more on one specific thing at some point. I'd been riding contests for a long time and filming at the same time. It was slowly becoming too much for me anyway.

At some point, I realized that I was only riding in the contests so that I could tell people, look, I'm good in the World Tour, here's the world champion Fabian Lentsch. I also didn't like the selection of faces. That was the case in the qualifiers, but I thought it would be possible to ride something decent in the FWT.

PG: You finally dropped out after the announcement of the alternative face in Andorra. Sam Smoothy then managed one of the most spectacular lines of the contest season in what was actually an inconspicuous face. Don't you just have to adapt to the conditions and the terrain and see what you can make of it?

FL: Yes, of course. I had pretty much the same line in my head at the time. What Smoothy did was a cool run, but it was very exposed and everything was really hard, at least during the inspection. You had no idea whether it would be soft at all later on, but of course you had to choose the line beforehand. The problem with the face was that you absolutely had to incorporate things like that, so you had to look for cliffs in a minimal space. As soon as I know I have to count turns and think about where a cliff might be possible, it's no longer cool for me. You just collect features and everyone does the same thing. It just has to be a bigger face. In Andorra, there was a 100-metre vertical drop at the top and then nothing more.

PG: Collecting cliffs and riding for points is not entirely untypical in contests. Doesn't the whole competition principle suit you?

FL: A clever face is great, the problem is the small avoidance slopes. If I can see straight away on a face that I don't want to ride there, then it's no longer appealing to me.

PG: In your blog post about leaving the FWT, you were very critical of it, but didn't make any particularly constructive suggestions for improvement. Drew Tabke defended the FWT's choice of face in his own blog post at the time and criticized what he felt were your arrogant remarks. Can you understand the criticism?

FL: He's right on many points, but he only focused on the fact that I said the faces didn't fit. But it was a general decision for various reasons. I didn't want to list everything that could be improved in the already long essay. There simply needs to be more flexibility and that's what I wrote.

In Fieberbrunn, everyone knew that the conditions were bad. The organizers said some time before the contest weekend, please postpone the contest, we don't have enough snow, it won't work, we probably won't be able to ride it. Then they said we'd go ahead anyway, even though the face has no basis. I said that you can't actually do that and they said that I could ski the women's slope if it didn't suit me. What kind of statement is that? The women had their own face. First they said that if the men's slope wasn't right for us, we could do the women's face - that would be the top shit - and then we should have done exactly that.

The first five women just smashed it down and Jackie (Paaso, editor's note) jumped everything I could have jumped. I couldn't have done anything better. If the women are already skiing such good lines that a man can't do anything better apart from skiing a bit faster, then it's no longer a serious contest for me. The fact that they chased people down there was actually irresponsible. I built up so much anger and excitement that it was simply over in Andorra.

PG: The FWT stop in Alaska worked after a long wait. You wait until it fits and then ride a cool face - would that be a format you would like?

FL: I would set a longer time frame and a certain region from the start. In Alaska, they had to extend the time window and just rebooking flights was problematic and expensive. You could say, for example, that you stay in one area for 3-4 weeks, say in Tyrol, or a region in North America, and then 2 or 3 contests take place there during that period. Then you could really do a big mountain contest.

PG: Don't you think that would be difficult to finance?

FL: Yes, it's not easy. The live stream in particular is brutally expensive, but I still wouldn't do without it, that's important. Perhaps other things can be implemented with less money, or the host region, for example Tyrol, can get involved as a sponsor. It simply can't be that they send us somewhere even though they know it's shit and then say the slope is bad now, but you have to go anyway. That could be avoided with more flexible planning.

PG: Did you have the wrong expectations of the World Tour? They communicate this image of the best riders riding the best faces. Did you believe that?

FL: At the beginning in the qualifier tour, yes. It was clear to me that I had to get into the World Tour - it's all quite nice here, but in the World Tour you can ride the cool slopes. That was my motivation. As I got closer, I realized that it's not like that and that you often have to take evasive action. But at some point you're so into the bike - you've told the sponsors that you really want to get in - and you don't even realize that you're no longer riding for yourself. Although I would have liked to have made a statement again so that I could say I was one of the best.

PG: You made a statement anyway with your run at the 4* qualifier in Obergurgl.

FL: Yes, it would have been ideal to win the title or to finish in the top three so that you could explain it to the masses. When I have to explain what I do to someone who doesn't ski, it's usually about competitions. If I say I had a cool movie part, they don't understand. People think, ah, he came first somewhere, he's good. Now a lot of people ask me if I still ski at all, they've heard I'm no longer with RedBull, and so on.

PG: Are contest winners the best skiers?

FL: Partly, partly. That's still a better measure than a movie segment. I don't want to say that they are the best. You can't judge that anyway - should you measure it by the amount of drops, or the social media reach, or the speed? But if you're at the front of the World Tour, you're already good, you can say that.

PG: Would you be interested in riding contests again at some point if the format suits?

FL: Yes, sooner or later. I've always been the competitive type. Now I'm doing something different for as long as I enjoy it, but maybe in two years' time I'll say I want to compete with someone again.

PG: Do you think the contests have become more important over time? You practically grew up with the FWT, but was there perhaps less competition in the past?

FL: That's true. You hardly see any young freeriders coming up now because the density of riders is so high that no one can stand out anymore. My advantage was always that I was the youngest, so I stood out a bit. When I look at Jochen (Mesle, editor's note), for example, he doesn't ride any worse than me, but it's more difficult for him to make a name for himself. It didn't used to be like that. The internet didn't used to be so important either.

PG: Recently, a helmet cam video of yours was viewed millions of times on Facebook - the sponsors must have been delighted?

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When I saw the first fresh snow on the mountains here in Austria I caught myself skiing pillows in my head :D :P #pillow #madness #winter #soon #enough

Posted by Fabian Lentsch on Sunday, September 6, 2015

FL: Yes, but I'm not doing it for the sponsors, but rather for myself, so that I can build up other things. I don't get paid more if I double my reach on Facebook. I can't go to Scott and say I want more money because I have more followers now.

PG: Do you like doing all the social media stuff, or does it annoy you more?

FL: In general, the internet stuff does annoy me. It gets a bit more in winter, but I haven't actually checked Facebook and Instagram for a long time, I just post. Posting is good for me, I want to get people to go out and do something cool outside. But you have to do it properly. I once caught myself skiing and going up a slope, and I thought to myself, if I don't get a good picture out of it, then I didn't do it at all.

What's on social media these days, you do it and what's not on there, you didn't do. You can ski the Matterhorn from the top and if it's not posted anywhere, you haven't done it. That's really bad, you can't get out of it.

PG: With some pros, you get the impression that they are mainly sponsored because of their Instagram followers, not because of their skiing skills.

FL: Yes, there are a lot of them. I once tried a program where you can set hashtags and the program then likes pictures with the hashtag. People then think that a pro has liked my ski picture and then they follow you. That's how some people get 40,000 followers while they sleep. I wanted to know how that works. It's really easy to get 50 followers a day. I turned it off again straight away because it can't be that. I'm not interested in that. I now have 6000 followers and others have reached 30,000 and nothing else.

PG: Do you have any guidelines from the sponsors about how often you have to post or how many followers you should reach?

FL: No, not really. My contract simply says that I should post regularly. You can define what is regular yourself. They like it when I'm present, but my sponsors tend to focus more on skiing. Companies should generally place more emphasis on the sport.

PG: But it's no use to the company if you're super good but don't communicate that and don't act as an advertising medium, is it? Of those, maybe 5000 people have recognized which skis I ski and 20 of them buy the ski, if at all. If you're a great athlete and maybe not so active on social media, but you're known in the scene and, for example, wander through the bars in Innsbruck, then that doesn't have a worse effect. The whole internet is an illusory world. Just because you see me there and there's a little Scott logo somewhere, the person who likes it doesn't immediately buy the jacket. That's all well and good and it certainly helps, but I think the internet is overrated.

PG: Assuming you don't want to ski contests and don't have thousands of Instagram followers, what do you do to become a ski pro?

FL: That's difficult. You have to stand out from the crowd with special projects. You have to be creative! When you see what Candide does with just a helmet camera... You can go in that direction.

You should just do what you want and not ride contests for people you don't like. But there are also contests where everything is a bit different and it's not just about points, the Kick the Vick for example. You can do something like that.

If you don't want to ride contests at all, you actually have to go filming. You can't get into the big film productions as a no-name, so you have to find a symbiosis between someone who likes filming and someone who rides, or you film each other. That's how I used to do it. I only had 500 Facebook friends back then and the videos still made the rounds. You don't become a pro overnight.

Of course I'm all about money now and I earn something from skiing and can live off it, but that was never the goal. When you start at a bank, you want to make a career because then you get more money. That's not the case with skiing. I only wanted to become a professional because then I could go skiing every day and not have to go to work or sit in school.

PG: Speaking of school, you dropped out, didn't you?

FL: You have to expand a bit. I used to be an athlete and wanted to go to a competitive sports school here in Innsbruck, where I was narrowly rejected. My second choice was the hotel school because I loved cooking. I had to wear a suit and tie every day and my hair wasn't allowed to go over my ears. I had decided that I was going to go through with it, but as time went on, I found it harder and harder. I did well at school, but I would sit there in the best weather and do something I didn't want to do just so that I would have a degree to show for it. Then skiing came along... In the end, there were various factors.

I thought about it for a long time and then went straight to evening school. But then it was the same again, I got great grades until December, then the contests started and I missed schoolwork. It was just very tedious. I asked myself who I was actually doing the A-levels for. I wouldn't have a better job now. At the moment I don't want to study, I want to concentrate fully on skiing. If that changes one day, I can always do a university entrance qualification, but at the moment it wouldn't have any advantages for me.

I'm now doing a lot of further education on the side and have just started learning Russian. I'm also reading a lot about world politics, especially about the Middle East, because I've been there and want to go back and understand it. In addition, I am now working quite intensively with analog photography. I think that's a lot more advanced than at school, where you're told what you have to do. I've found a good path for myself.

PG: Your parents have always supported you?

FL: They wanted me to do my A-levels, but now they see that I'm getting somewhere. I could never have imagined that I would one day earn money from skiing. That's more or less my job right now.

PG: Is there a plan B? Maybe you'll get injured one day.

FL: There are lots of plans. Maybe I'll drop out and build a hut somewhere, I'd like that. Or like I used to, working for 2 months at something, then traveling for 2 months, or studying. I can get by with any amount of money. I used to be happy with 50 or 100 euros a month, I always got by somehow.

PG: You also lived with your parents and didn't pay rent.

FL: Yes, that's true. But I'm still not worried about that. I could also live in a mobile home. Now that I have more money, I haven't started staying in hotels on trips either. I still prefer to sleep outside in a sleeping bag. It's not so tragic, you can always find something. I've never been a fan of the idea of working as normal. Five days a week and having a hobby at the weekend - I couldn't do that.

PG: Has your attitude towards skiing changed in any way over the years, apart from the contests?

FL: Basically, the attitude is the same as it was when I was 14, it's all about trying things out, exploring and having fun. You learn a lot in terms of risk management. You have bad situations that you learn from.

PG: For example?

FL: We were once in Seefeld shooting with Whiteroom Productions and I kicked off a pretty big board. It went into a small kettle, which would have been really unfavorable. I was only just able to ski out. I didn't ski for a week after that. I could have been out of it, but I also learned from it.

PG: What then?

FL: That was the first time I was out with good riders, as a rookie. I just didn't think much about it that day. I thought to myself, they've been doing this for 15 years, it'll be fine and then I just drove. I learned that you always have to make your own decisions and not let yourself be pushed. I've often turned around, even when it came to a movie. Being able to say no is simply important, it's a learning process.

PG: Is turning around and saying no more difficult when a film production and sponsorship money are involved?

FL: Sponsorship money doesn't play a role. When I go filming, I never think about a sponsor. I want to do well in the movie and push myself. It's a little less favorable when there's a filmmaker on the other side, but I wouldn't say that it has influenced my decisions much.

PG: In the films, you usually only see great riders in awesome powder and when they kick off a board, it looks cool. Your avalanche in Seefeld can also be seen in one of the Whiteroom films. As a pro, do you have a responsibility to communicate the dangers?

FL: You could point out the dangers more, but it's not easy to include that in films. It's important what you communicate to other people. There really are people who come down from the mountain and say, "That's awesome, I triggered an avalanche and even went down with it, that's great." That's not acceptable. If you mess up, you should make sure that others learn from it. I would never play it up like that. I hardly ever said anything about leaving.

PG: Maybe it would be good if you told people something like that.

FL: Yes. If someone asks me, I always tell them, but I don't start talking about it on my own initiative.

PG: You just don't like doing it.

FL: No, that's right. But there needs to be more talk, especially with young people. But a lot is also being done with freeride camps and snow safety courses. I think the topic is already being communicated to some extent here, except in a few Alaska segments. But Alaska is also something else. It's hard to explain in a movie, people don't understand it. You have a guide and meetings every morning where everything is discussed in detail. Everything is perfectly organized, including the rescue in an emergency. It's completely different to going off-road at home. If something goes wrong, there's almost always a great run-out and everyone has airbags. Then you can say, well, something just went off. It's different in the furthest reaches of Patagonia.

PG: Do you change your driving style when you're driving in very remote areas and you know that there's no helicopter nearby to rescue you?

FL: I've thought about it a lot and I don't think I've ever driven any differently. When I'm on an airplane somewhere, I think to myself, shit, nobody's coming, watch out. But when I'm up there and I know I've done it many times before, I can do it, then I don't think about the fact that no help will come for three days. As soon as you start to doubt and think to yourself, I could fall over that, then that's exactly where you fall over. I recently looked at a few of the lines from Kyrgyzstan and thought to myself, you idiot, where did you fall? But it was exactly like that: I was standing at the top and knew it would work. If something had happened, we wouldn't have been 100% prepared, I know that. I definitely want to continue my training in first aid and outdoor survival.

PG: When you were in Iran, someone hurt themselves, didn't they?

FL: Yes, Roman (Rohrmoser, editor's note) injured his knee. We didn't know exactly what it was and barely managed to keep him quiet with painkillers. The mules couldn't get up to us and he had to walk almost all the way out himself. At home, it was discovered that his kneecap was broken. We could have got him out on a stretcher, but he felt well enough to walk. We weren't that far away and had permission from the authorities to carry out a helicopter rescue. It wasn't that tragic, but it was good that nothing worse happened.

It's all pretty extreme, but you prepare for things like this for so long that you kind of check it out in your head.

PG: You just accept the risk and do it anyway, don't you?

FL: Yes, you know it could be something. Maybe you do ski a bit differently, like next to the ski resort. It's a difficult topic. And things can always go wrong. With Nadine (Wallner, broke her leg while filming in Alaska last year, editor's note), for example, the recovery in Alaska was difficult and took a long time. Anything can always happen.

PG: Have you ever seriously hurt yourself?

FL: Sometimes the ankle, but never anything serious, just minor injuries.

PG: Lucky.

FL: Yes. I don't know why, whether it's to do with me or just luck. I haven't had any really dangerous situations, apart from the one avalanche. I've been quite safe most of the time.

It can happen that you do something and then that's the last time. I don't expect that, but if something happens, it just happens. You can't always control it. Like the avalanche in Kappl during the World Tour. It was completely safe the day before. They were top people, if they couldn't have known, then you just can't know. If something like that happens somewhere in Kazakhstan.... That's the residual risk that always accompanies you, no matter where.

A season edit from Fabi:

PG: Are people increasingly taking higher risks? The Mittagskogel in Pitztal, for example, is now skied very quickly after a snowfall. A few years ago, you didn't have to be in such a hurry.

FL: Yes, it's brutal because the ski resorts are also pushing it. The Mittagskogel is now even a ski route, so everyone goes there straight away. And then there are the people who live further away from the snow, who also want to freeride, watch videos and buy the skis that we promote...freeriding has become a kind of status thing.

In general, people are very quick to ski somewhere where there is a trail. I've experienced a lot of that. We often ride something where you have to jump, and then someone rides behind who doesn't have it under control and makes a pig of you about where you're going.

It should be better communicated that you shouldn't ride beyond your means. We push the whole thing, but I think the athletes play a smaller role compared to the ski resorts. They have recognized that there is a market and do a lot of advertising. Considering how many people are now out and about, there is still relatively little happening.

PG: You do a lot of paragliding and speed flying. You keep seeing the development of skiing, speed flying, base jumping and wingsuits among the ski pros. Is it about the next thrill?

FL: I don't think it's about the thrill, for me it's mainly a summer activity. I've hardly ever flown with skis. For me, flying, including normal paragliding, has become a passion, just like skiing. Hike and fly is simply cool. Base jumping is also a great experience. Jumping down somewhere without any aids and being able to pull a parachute is just awesome in theory. You can do so much as a person! You can put on a bat suit and fly through rocks! You have so many possibilities, it's cool.

I got my parachute license and the clear goal was to go base jumping. Back then, I wanted to jump as much as possible for a year and then go base jumping straight away. Now I'm a long way away from that again. I don't have enough time at the moment to fully concentrate on it and do it safely. I don't even know if I really want to. Maybe I'll go basing sometimes, maybe never. And if I do, it will be just as deliberate as skiing.

The statistics for accidents when basing and wingsuiting are made up of very inexperienced people and experienced people who push themselves too hard. There are many who do it deliberately and only for themselves. They don't take any pictures or videos, so the risk is much lower. If I started doing it, there would be a few pictures, but I wouldn't fly anywhere as close as possible or anything like that. I have that with skiing. Any other sport would be more fun.

PG: Would skiing perhaps be less risky if there were no cameras involved?

FL: No, I don't think so. Nobody filmed my wildest lines. I only did it because I like it. I don't have to do all that. At home in the Pitztal I always try to ride the most difficult lines, but I've never been filming there. And in Revelstoke I went up a stupid pillow slope three times, which wasn't really rideable and didn't look good either. I just wanted to do it.

PG: What are you planning to do this winter?

FL: I bought a truck, an old fire engine. Long story. We once drove from Austria to Kyrgyzstan in a camper van. I really enjoyed that. But it's impossible in winter with a truck like that. We're now converting the old fire department bus into an expedition vehicle, which I want to drive around the world in! It's a lot of work, but it's fun. We've taken the entire engine apart. Now I can hold the wrench a bit better.

The first trip is to the Middle East and the Caucasus. I've already been there and the area has huge potential. Then I'd like to drive across Russia and back via China and Mongolia, or from Alaska to Patagonia or something.

I want it to be a kind of invitational bus. Me and a camera team are always on board and different athletes come for a few weeks at a time. I'm really looking forward to discovering new things on the trips. It doesn't matter which valley you go to here, someone has already done everything. Down there, you're often the only skier who's ever been there.

PG: Where exactly now?

FL: Everywhere! Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Russia, there's still a lot there. There's just as much potential as here, but hardly any locals who take advantage of it.

PG: What were your experiences like in Iran, was it difficult?

FL: The bureaucracy is complicated, but I've never met friendlier people anywhere, really anywhere. They invite you into their homes straight away. Especially now with the refugee crisis, I often think about that. Down there, someone opens the door for you straight away and says you can stay for three days and gives you something to eat. I give them credit for that. Politically, it's not so great, the women are a bit oppressed, they have special dress codes and so on, but you don't notice much. In any case, it's a lot better in the city than in the countryside.

PG: Are the mountains the most important thing for you when traveling, or are you also interested in the country and its people?

FL: My attitude towards skiing has changed in that respect. I no longer see it purely as a sport, but much more generally. Sure, it's great when you find cool lines, but exchanging ideas with the locals, learning about their attitude to life and taking it home with you - I think that's awesome. That's sometimes more important to me than anything else. If I have the choice between perfect lines in Alaska and a few weeks of hiking in the Iranian backcountry, I'd ten times rather be in Iran.

I think we can learn a lot from them. We're always told that they're so regressive and should become democratic, but it's completely different. Certainly not everything is great, but there are hardly any European or American products to buy there, for example, everything is local.

PG: Maybe they would like to have the products, but they can't get them because of the international sanctions.

FL: Well, I just don't think they are that capitalist. I don't think they'll start importing or buying Pringels when the country opens up more. There are great local markets everywhere, you don't see that here anymore.

When I was in Alaska, I watched 50 minutes of Fox News and it made your head spin. They're bashing Iran, but at the same time they're working very closely with Saudi Arabia, where everything is even worse. Women aren't even allowed to drive there. Iran is a long way from that. Moreover, Iran is still the only stable country in this region. Whether that has anything to do with the fact that it is also the only country that has made it difficult for the Americans or the West to plunder its natural resources and build pipelines is another matter..

I really enjoy immersing myself in the world there. I'm not saying that we should live like we do in Iran or Russia or anywhere else, but having seen it opens your eyes. Just driving through it changed me. Before that, I also thought that the West was doing everything right... You have to remember that we are all just human beings. You shouldn't focus so much on the differences, but more on the similarities.

PG: With the refugee crisis, a lot is now coming to light.

FL: Yes, but you can't expect people to understand and approve of everything. If you've never been out of Austria, then you just don't get it. It was exactly the same for me eight years ago. I hadn't seen much of the world and thought that it can't work if so many asylum seekers come here, they should stay over there. But then you realize that those who want to come to us are doing really badly. And we are rich, in many cases precisely because of these countries, so why shouldn't we take them in? That's where the human element comes into play again. As soon as you think that another human life is worth less than your own, you've already lost. There's something wrong with that.

On our first trip, we simply said we were going from Tyrol to Kyrgyzstan. My grandma wanted to give me a Russian dictionary. I thought, we're only traveling through Russia for a few days! Then I realized that there are a lot of former USSR states on the way and you have to speak Russian everywhere. I left the dictionary at home. We were really badly prepared but I think that often has its advantages. I've always been a fan of just rushing off into the unknown.

Once you start to find out about the politics there, it's really exciting. Now I know a bit more about the background and want to go back.

PG: It will certainly be an exciting trip.

FL: Yes, I also want to motivate people to do what they want to do. A lot of people say that's not possible, I have to save up for ten years and then maybe I'll go on a trip around the world. I didn't get a penny from any company in the past either. I sold my two pairs of skis and somehow made my way to New Zealand, where I lived off rice and noodles. As soon as you do something you don't want to do, that's not the meaning of life for me.

If you want to be the best banker in the world, that's cool too, but you shouldn't just do it for the money. Nowadays, you don't pay with money, you pay with time. The more money you earn, the more time you spend working. And then you have to spend your money on a wellness vacation because otherwise you can't manage it all. It's a vicious circle that I want to get away from. That's why it's good for me to have a certain reach and to be able to communicate that to people a little bit.

PG: So you want to exemplify an alternative, unconventional lifestyle.

FL: Yes. But I'm also thinking about how this is compatible with the sponsors. I always thought that if I had a car sponsor, for example, then I would actually be telling people not to take money so seriously, but it would be good if they bought an expensive car. It's the same with the (RedBull, editor's note) cans, you're not supposed to drink 10 a day.

On the other hand, as an athlete, you only give a brand a certain image and influence the buyer to choose a product that they want to buy anyway and not their material greed. I simply stand by the products that I represent and if, for example, someone ultimately chooses a Scott ski, the Red Bull can or the car because of me, then that's perfect. But I don't tell them that they have to take out a loan because it's important to ride that ski or that car. I think you can still use your own reach as a pro to communicate something positive to people. And without sponsors, it would be difficult to be a professional athlete and you wouldn't have any reach either.

PG: What's your attitude towards heli-flying?

FL: If it's for a big project, then fine. But in Alaska I didn't quite enjoy it as much as I expected. I mean, it was really cool to ride around with the helicopter and drive these spinewalls, but you constantly had to fight with the other crews for the terrain, because there are about five main zones where everyone wants to go. That means you stand at the helipad at 5 o'clock in the morning and make sure that your own rotor is the first to turn as soon as you get permission to take off.

I also imagined the faces to be a bit bigger and was then quite surprised that they only look so huge in the films. And the downdays are also very tedious. You lie on the couch for 10 days in bad weather and then suddenly you're standing on a monster-steep thing. That's really strange. It's perfect for collecting footage, but I didn't ride my best lines every day. In general, I like hiking more, the lines are more memorable. I think that's where moderation and purpose are needed. I'm definitely looking forward to doing a heli trip again, but I wouldn't want to spend the whole season in a helicopter either.

PG: What were your best lines when they weren't in Alaska?

FL: My best memories are of the Mt. Cook area in New Zealand. We had very strangely good conditions for New Zealand. We flew in by plane and then camped. In the morning, I went up somewhere where perhaps no one had been before. That was great.

PG: Thanks for talking to us and see you next time.

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