Freeride World Tour

FWT Fieberbrunn Stop – Pre-Competition Interview with Drew Tabke

How has the Fieberbrunn day change affected you – will it change your performance or approach?
No no, the change of schedule isn’t going to affect me personally, this is what freeride is all about, its adjusting to mountain conditions. This is why TNF is a cool partner, because it’s that whole essence, because even if you try and create a controlled environment, you are till in the mountains having an authentic experience. You need to be ready for any changes, and also it shows you what riders are better at adjusting.

Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT 2013)

What keeps you going? Is there a goal you are aiming for or is it just for the thrill?

My goal is personally to come to the venue, inspect the mountain, choose a line, and then have a perfect run. So many things have to happen: good conditions, so it takes a lot of luck with mother nature. And then you have to have a good run order so that you have fresh tracks, and then you have to perform to the best of your potential. Winning FWT and competitions is a goal for me, but having those perfect runs is really the best kind of satisfaction for me

What is your last thought when you start and what is your first one when you
finish?

It is not natural to have a last thought, because you risk being taken over by fear,. You think, “I’m not sure if I wanna do this”, “what the f*ck am I doing”. But with practice and focus you learn to take control of those fears, now my last thought before I drop in is “this is awesome”. And that positivity translates into good skiing.
My first thought when I finish depends on how I end. At Revelstoke, I crossed the finish line and had this amazing feeling that I did everything I wanted. Courmayeur, I knew it hadn’t gone well, and I had hit my knee in my face, so my thoughts were more self-critical. So crossing the finish line can have any range of emotions.

Do you talk to yourself right before you drop in?

No, I don’t talk to myself. I try and stay focused on just having my thoughts on the line and what I want to accomplish. Really I try and clear my mind of any questions.

Do you have any rituals?

My ritual is mainly around my equipment and making sure every buckle on my boots are buckled in just right. You want to feel that everything is just right before you drop in, otherwise you’ll never make it.

What is going to be the biggest challenge about Fieberbrunn: nerves, restraint or pushing boundaries?

For me the biggest challenge is probably pushing those limits, because by nature, I don’t really hang it all out there. Some riders are either first or last, because they take so many chances. I am a little more conservative, I don’t take quite as many risks. But now is the time you have to take risks, because we’re getting to the end of the comp and the ranking is really close. Crashing is ok, as long as you do it safely; so taking those calculated risks is part of freeride, and also part of winning it.

What were the milestones that brought you to where you were and was there any stages in your life where things might have gone in a very different direction?

Milestones, I have been competing at FWT for 9 years. 2007 was a milestone as I competed for the first time in Europe and started doing freeride in the Alps. Also, losing my spot after 2010 was key, and when I came back and won the Freeskiing World Tour in 2011, and came back to FWT that same year were important too, so those ups and downs have kept me going.
No, I don’t really know of anything else that could have happened to me. I have been so dedicated to skiing, all year and everywhere, that I cant really imagine anything else.

Who would you say you respect the most in the freeriding world – did you have a hero?

When you’re growing up as a young Freerider, you are watching those guys that are more experienced. For me it was guys like Hugo Harrisson, from Canada who is now a judge, and yeah you just watch the way they ski and hit these huge airs and land perfectly – it shapes you as a skier. And today I like to look at those young riders like Markus Eder and Fabio Studer who are bringing in a whole new style into freeride.

You receive new skis all the time, so you’ve tried most of them out, so if someone needs to buy one pair of skis, for all-year, in all-conditions, and only one pair. Which ski would you suggest?

I would say, buy some powder skis, and then move them to a place where they will be useful to you. If you are buying carving skis, then you may be in the wrong place and should consider changing plans.

Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT 2013)