Over the past several seasons, Kästle athlete Lorraine Huber has been climbing the ranks of the elite Freeride World Tour, narrowly missing the top spot in 2014. Beyond competition, the Arlberg local has also been busy working with filmmaker Hanno Mackowitz, starring in “Konnex” and “Lorraine. The Movie” over the past two seasons. We recently caught up with Lorraine to see what she has planned for this year, as well as the lessons she’s learned from seasons past.
How’s the summer been Lorraine? Did you get any skiing in?
Last year I decided to stay off snow during summer, and it did me a world of good so I had the same plan for this year. This year however Central Europe had one of the rainiest summers on record, unfortunately, so I didn’t get to climb and hike as much as I would have liked, but that made training in the gym a lot easier.
Congratulations on finishing second on the FWT last year, but I bet you’re hungry for the top of the podium. Are you approaching this year differently than years past?
Thanks! I am really motivated to give it my all again on the tour this season, but I don’t necessarily want to just focus on that number one spot, but on continuing to progress my skiing as I have in past years, then things should work out for me. We’ll see! I’m excited about the new stops and am looking forward to seeing everyone on tour again.
As focused as you are competing, the contests leave a lot of free time throughout the winter for other adventures, what else do you have cooking?
I’d really like to create a unique film project this season with a couple of friends; we have a really great idea for a new narrative that hasn’t been told yet. The classic action films without any story behind them don’t really interest me that much anymore.
Shifting back to contests, with fewer women than men in each contest, do you think your strategy differs from the male skiers?
Competition strategy seems to be quite a personal matter, regardless of gender. Some skiers simply prefer to risk a little more at a competition and try something spectacular and crash rather than play the game. The two main strategies are probably consistency versus balls to the wall. I try not to confine myself to any certain style or strategy, but to be flexible and analytical enough to choose the right strategy in the right situation. I think both strategies are important to win the overall title.
Qualifying for the highest level of the tour can be a daunting undertaking, often taking several years to make it, what advice would you give to up and comers?
Take it step by step and see all the experiences, including the downfalls–actually especially the downfalls because that's where you’ll learn the most–as an important part of a process to achieving your end goal. Don’t give up! Make sure you’re physically fit for the competition season; this will help protect you from injury and give you a lot of confidence. Do your homework: familiarize yourself with the comp faces if you can by looking at existing footage and photos. GoPro footage here is especially helpful. Ski the comp faces if you can (of course not 30 days prior to the comp though). It’s better to start by choosing somewhat easier lines you know you can ski well and with a lot of confidence, instead of choosing lines which are too difficult for you, resulting in crashes and/or a loss of confidence and fun. Once you have a few solid results under your belt you can gradually choose more challenging lines and build on your confidence and growing experience. Remember, around 40% of competition skiing is the mental game as well as tactics/strategy. Always give it 100%! At inspection, inform yourself about where the judges will be positioned and keep in mind what the judges can see when picking your line. Also, find out what start number you have since this will also influence which line you will choose. Invest in a good pair of binoculars and a compact camera with sufficient zoom. Visualize your line from start to finish in your mind like a movie: close your eyes and play the movie from two different perspectives: how it looks through your eyes and seeing yourself from the outside. Visualize as often as necessary until the movie plays smoothly through your mind from start to finish. Plan more than enough time for the hike to the start and also don’t forget to calculate time to check your line from the top. The more you can see of your line from the top, the more time you should calculate in before your start. And most importantly, party hard (after the comp of course, not before!
And now for some shameless product plugging, what’s your go to competition ski?
The Kästle BMX 108 in 178cm is it! I mount it 1cm forward. The BMX 108 is super stable at high speeds but still playful enough for tight turns in more technical terrain. I downsized last year and it was a great decision with such a dry snow year in the northern Alps.
Photocredits: Sepp Mallaun, Philip Field, Alex Kaiser