Austrian freeride legend Mitch Toelderer has been there, done that and got the t-shirt. With more powder days under his belt than he'd care to count, Mitch has been partly responsible for pushing the evolution of snowboarding in its natural environment to where it is today. Operating out of his home base in Innsbruck, Mitch now splits his time between the awe-inspiring peaks of Europe and Alaska. With fellow O'Neill team rider Jeremy Jones to call upon as a riding buddy, it's no surprise that Toelderer has reached the dizzy heights of the world's best freeriders. As a true mountain lover, this fearless Austrian alpine gladiator loves nothing more than to spend time in the secluded backcountry with friends, pushing the limits of the sport and testing himself as a person. Mitch spends most of his time shooting photos and video for magazines and production companies based all over the world. Toelderer also competes successfully on the Freeride World Tour, and will be hoping to go one better than he did in 2009 when he next drops in at the Nissan Xtreme Verbier. To get away from it all and to recharge his batteries, Mitch and his girlfriend Bibi Pekarek head off to Indonesia most years to surf deserted line-ups.
Q: What has been the biggest highlight of the past 12 months for you?
A: I think that has to be the first freeride session for our HIKE freeride project last April. We were camping out there for a few days in this really cool spot in the Austrian Alps, riding line after line. We ripped that face to pieces!
Q: What's the best thing about riding for a living?
A: You can make your own living through something you really love to do, and it basically doesn't feel like work.
Q: Who do you enjoy riding with the most, and why?
A: Last season I rode a bunch with my friend Jon, a freeskier from Sweden. Besides his skills and the positive vibes he brings along, I enjoyed the thermos flask he always took with him that was filled with strong black coffee every morning.
Q: Other than home, where is your favorite place to ride, and why?
A: There are always new places to ride, and I'm stoked to ride them all. When I was in Chamonix for the FWT stop this season, I came across so many good spots that just blew my mind. Another all-time location for me has to be the Chugach mountains in Alaska.
Q: What are your main goals and plans for the next 12 months?
A: First off, I'll compete in two more FWT stops and see where those take me. After that, I'll be hoping for a good hiking season in the Alps. I've been keeping my eye on a few lines on some hardly-ever-to-never-ridden mountains. In the summer, I want to go for another surf adventure trip, so perhaps I'll join a friend on his boat in Indonesia.
Q: How do you see your sport evolving in the next few years?
A: I think freeriding is developing a lot right now. More and more riders are pitting themselves against backcountry lines to face the ultimate challenge. I think that is pushing the level and limits of freeriding in all sorts of directions. We're also seeing the introduction of new freeride-specific board shapes courtesy of the freeride-orientated board companies out there. There are still so many unridden and undiscovered jewels to discover all over the planet. I also think the more casual freeriders will also start to go after nice lines instead of just letting piste markings and gravity dictate their path down the mountain.
Q: Have you got any plans to film a new video part, and if yes, with which film company?
A: I have plans but unfortunately I don't have quite enough budget at the moment. I'm hoping I'll be able to bring some of my ideas to life next season in terms of filming.
Q: What do you do for fun when you are not riding?
A: I love to travel to remote places to surf empty line-ups. Beside the surfing, it's also the people living in these remote places that make those trips so interesting. On one of these trips, we started a little charity project on a little island in East Indonesia to support the kids there. Check out www.surfair.at for more details.
Q: What achievement are you most proud of so far in your career?
A: After riding for so many years, it's a great feeling to continue learning and improving as much as I am.
Q: If you didn't ride for a living, what would you have liked to be doing now for an occupation?
A: I studied Medicine and have already worked as a doctor in a hospital for 6 months, so I'd probably go and do that. As things stand, I'm more than happy to continue riding instead.
Q: What trick do you enjoy the most?
A: A lipslide turn on a perfect powder windlip followed by a great big powder face.
hello from verbier!
stoked after getting second at the freeride world tour final at the verbier xtreme behind the frenchman xavier delerue and before matt anetts from the usa. except an unexpected backward roll because of a hidden shark in the top part of the face i had a good run.
i am also proud of my girlfriend bibi who scored second place in the snowboard girls categorie.
if you wanna see more pics and words please check www.mitch.at
have a good one
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