From the half pipe up to the mountain pass

Interview with Andy Gohl, freeskier from St. Anton

Four jumps, in quick succession, each of them 12 metres long. St. Anton’s 24-year-old freeskier Andreas Gohl not only made a name for himself by coming in 8th place in the 2018 Olympics but also with a breathtaking stunt between St. Christoph and Stuben that gave onlookers a bit of a jolt. In his interview with La Loupe he spoke about his experiences in PyeongChang, the search for new challenges and his role model Hannes Schneider.

L.L. / In the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang you came in 8###sup/sup###which made you the most successful European freeskier in the half pipe. In all honesty: did you think you’d get that far? What did that feel like?

A.G. / It was my goal to make it to the finals but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. And coming in twelfth I only just made the finals. And then, in the finals, I gave everything I had and in the end that was enough for eighth place. But, honestly, I never imagined doing that well and ending up being the best European.

@Korbi Resenberger
@Korbi Resenberger

L.L. / In spring 2018 you jumped across the serpentines of the pass road that goes down to Stuben. That may seem suicidal to some. Are you as a freeskier always looking for the next kick?

A.G. / I think I look at my surroundings differently than a “normal” skier would. Whatever I see, I connect it with skiing. And other athletes are always a source of inspiration for me, too, especially if they’ve done something similar in the past: 100 years ago the first skiers jumped across the roads.

So, no, I am not looking for the ultimate kick. And I’m not suicidal either. Everything I do is well-planned and works out in my head. Reality does look a bit different most of the time, though, and giving up on some things is part of the game.

As a free skier I am definitely looking for new challenges all the time. It takes a lot of work and training to realise new things. But when I do make it, it is a great source of motivation and energy for the next challenge.

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L.L. / Four jumps, across 12-metre wide roads. How did you know that would work out?

A.G. / I took a close look at the situation and thought it through. Before the first jump I wasn’t quite sure whether it would work out. I didn’t have much of an inrun and it was difficult to test the speed on the inrun. When I decided to jump and was already on the inrun I simply felt that it would work out and it did. When I made the first jump I knew the others would work out, too. Years and years of training and all my experience helped me develop that feeling and it’s a big help with all my decisions today.

L.L. / The stunt was caught on camera and is part of “On Tracks of the Legend”. In the film you follow in the footsteps of your role model Hannes Schneider. How come he is such an idol for you? What connects you two?

A.G. / Hannes Schneider was a motivated, innovative skier and he managed to pass on his enthusiasm to countless other skiers. Just like Hannes Schneider I try to pass on my knowledge and my passion to others.

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L.L. / Both you and Hannes Schneider are members of Ski-Club Arlberg. How did the club influence your career?

A.G. / Ski-Club Arlberg laid the foundation for my career, it was here that I learned to ski properly and focused on alpine skiing initially. When I was twelve years old I was looking for new challenges and right at that time Ski-Club Arlberg was Austria’s first ski club to found a Ski Freestyle Team, and I trained there from the first hour on. And since then Ski-Club Arlberg has always been with me along the way, always supportive and always ready to help with whatever I needed.

@Freeski Austria
@Freeski Austria

L.L. / France, China, South Korea, the USA – you’ve been travelling the world’s slopes quite a bit. Why do you still appreciate St. Anton as a winter sports destination?

A.G. / I always enjoy travelling to other regions, but the joy of coming home is always greater. St. Anton am Arlberg is a unique ski resort for me, the topography is unique and the possibilities for skiers are seemingly endless. The modern lifts, the ski area’s size, the innumerable different slopes – from super easy to very challenging – and the possibilities for off-piste skiing simply make it very special. And I don’t just find the mountains and the skiing area unique, the international flair in the village is amazing, too. No matter where I am in the world, everybody knows St. Anton am Arlberg.

L.L. / Winter Olympics, your own film...what’s next?

A.G. / The World Championships in Park City are coming up in February 2019 and I’ll give my best there because I want to do better than the 8th place at the Olympics. Aside from the contest I have a few other projects lined up, too, but I can’t give you any details yet.

©Jacob Slot
©Jacob Slot

Wordrap with

When I was…12…years old I first jumped over an obstacle on my skis.

Simple exercises to distract you…help against nervousness.

I learned to ski in …St. Anton am Arlberg.

Boxes or rails? Both, I enjoy the variety.

My favourite spot in winter: on my skis in my hometown.

And in summer? Up in the air, paragliding.

©Jacob Slot
©Jacob Slot

Andreas Gohl

Andreas Gohl was born in 1994 in Vorarlberg and started his freestyle skiing career in 2006 with Ski-Club Arlberg. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang he made the finals and even came in overall 8thwhich made him the best European freeskier in the half pipe. In 2018 he also crossed the pass road that winds down to Stuben in serpentines in four jumps. This stunt was recorded and became part of the documentary “On Tracks of the Legend” which was presented on the opening night of the 2018 St. Anton Filmfestival.