Freeride World Tour 2016 contestants were announced two weeks ago. Because the contestants closest to us are from Sweden, we decided to interview two of them: Matilda Rapaport and Kristofer Turdell.
Matilda, 29, is one of the most recognized female free skiers worldwide and she lives lives in Engelberg, Switzerland. She is winner of Verbier Xtreme 2013, two-time winner of SBMC and she already has number of podiums in FWT (including third place on the FWT).
Kristofer, 25, from Gällivare Sweden, has two victories in FWQ 4* 2015. He is also
overall winner of FWQ 2015 and two time winner of SBMC.
Congratulations for FWT 2016 Matilda and Kristofer! What kind of background do you have in skiing?
M: I grew up in Stockholm in a very ski-loving family. We went to Åre on every holiday and I started racing in a local Stockholm ski club at a young age. When I was 15 I moved to Åre to study at the racing academy there. I quit racing when I was 20 and got into freeskiing when I was studying at Stockholm School of Economics.
K: I started skiing when I was young and have always enjoyed all kinds of alpine skiing. For a long time I was race training with the local ski club and then moved on to ski gymnasium but after a year there it wasn’t the fun it used to be so I quit. I had always done a lot of freeride and freestyle skiing in between race training and after a couple of years with not to much skiing I got hooked on the big mountain side freeride.
How is it like in Engelberg? Lots of snow? Lots of Scandinavians?
M: Engelberg is an amazing place for freeskiing. Variable terrain and long runs, north facing aspects so the snow stays cold and it gets lots of snow every year (its one of the resorts that gets the most snow in the Alps). There is a Scandinavian community in Engelberg which makes me feel right at home :)
Gällivare – where is it? Can you ski there?
K: Its way up north in Sweden 100km above the arctic circle. Its pretty much winter 6 month a year and the ski area Dundret is just outside town.
Did you want to become a freeskier since day one?
M: No, I wanted to become a pro ski racer. Then a management consultant before switching back to skiing. It took me a while to understand that I could make a living of what had become my biggest hobby, powder skiing. But at the same time I’ve always challenges and to get better and better at what I do.
K: My memory don’t go back that far but freeskiing has been fun since forever.
M: Lots of hours of skiing, gaining experience and knowledge. Not only the technical skills but also the tactical. It took a few years from my first contest until reaching the tour but it had then become a main goal of mine.
K: I did my first year on the qualification tour last winter and ended up on the top spot. Looking back I’m happy about that, but it was a lot of ups and downs. I messed up a couple of runs and a couple of comps got canceled and in the end it came down to the last 4* comp where the weather and snow conditions were tricky but I managed to win.
Do you consider yourself a competitive person?
M: Hmm. I guess so. Same here, I just love challenging myself and testing what I’m capable of. And loosing is not my thing, not even when playing cards. Haha.
K: Both, I like being relaxed about most things in life but at the same time if I decide to do something that interests me I like being competitive.
What is your strength when it comes to FWT or freeskiing in general?
M: My racing background has given me a solid technique. But finding lines that suit my skiing, where I can reach my full potential without pushing it too far is probably the skill that I value the most.
K: Just skiing most of my life in swedish snow conditions is a strength :). Race training is also good in general and being relaxed but still like the competitive side,
What do you expect in terms of this winter on FWT?
M: I expect a lot from myself but I really use result goals (anymore). My goal this winter is to ski every run on my very highest level, to reach my full potential and reach ”flow” in the contest runs I do. If I can manage that I’ll be satisfied – and hopefully the results will be good as a consequence. Haha, this was a little difficult to explain but it just works for me.
K: It’s hard to know what to expect. I have not skied any of the mountain sides on the FWT and only skied with a few of the other riders so I will try do do a good run in the first comp and take it from there.
M: In summer I try to build up my body to make it strong for the winter. I try to train as skiing like as possible, mixing weightlifting with endurance and agility. Skiing is a complex sport and the more varied you train, the better I believe. I have a coach in Stockholm that I work with.
K: Ice skating season just started! heading in to the forests to discover new ice paths.
What is it like to be a woman on FWT or in the freeride world in general Matilda? Do you think there’s a gap between boys and girls?
M: I don’t really think too much about being a women on tour. Of course we’re fewer than the men but we don’t compete agains them so why compare. I ski with men a lot and I don’t see any difference except they are physically a little bigger and stronger, hence can take bigger impacts. The problem I see is that the women are getting less attention, less priority and less exposure compared to the men. However, I am very proud that my main sponsor, Peak Performance, is now the FWT clothing sponsor as they bring the Scandinavian gender equality values into the central European freeride scene, it’s very much needed!
Hälsingar till Finland?
M: I’d like to see more Finnish girls on the freeride scene in the future!
K: Huomenta Suomi. Lohi lounas?
FWT 2016 events:
1. Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra: January 23rd
2. Chamonix, France: February 6th
3. Fieberbrunn, Austria: March 6th
4. Haines, Alaska/USA: March 17th
5. Verbier, Switzerland: April 2nd
About Freeride World Tour
*Nicolas Hale- Woods (SUI) founded the Freeride World Tour in 1996; the first event was held on Verbiers legendary Bec des Rosses and marked a radical departure from traditional snowboarding and skiing events. In the two decades since, the FWT has become the global tour for competitive freeride skiing and snowboarding. With five stops in five countries, the FWT sets the global standard for freeriding events, as the best skiers and snowboarder’s battle for the World Championship title on some of the most challenging and beautiful mountains in the world.
ATTENTION! Would you like to get a radical job and assist Matilda in Alaska? Check out http://www.peakperformance.com/se/freeride-world-tour/radicaljob.html Post a picture or video of yourself on Instagram and motivate why you should get the job. It´s 5 seconds of work and a week of adventures including heli skiing. And you may bring a friend!