Last winter was a big season for Austrian-born freeskier Fabio Studer. He ended up fifth overall on the 2013 Freeride World Tour, including a second place at the Chamonix, France, stop of the tour. But he wasn't just competing in big-mountain contests. He also scored a third place at the Nine Knights Big Air, a fourth place at the Red Bull Linecatcher and he was on the winning team at the Swatch Skiers Cup. His ability to juggle big mountain and slopestyle and big air contests is a rare trait in the freeskiing word. We spoke to him recently from his home in Austria about his busy schedule, his plans for next season and what it's like being named Fabio.
XGames.com: You're from the Kolbach region of Austria, which is right on the Austria and Switzerland border. Where did you grow up skiing from there?
Fabio Studer: I started skiing at a ski resort called Laterns, but then my parents were skiing with me at Sonnenkopf, which is a part of the Arlberg ski area. Now I'm skiing at Silvretta-Montafon for most of my time.
How many languages do you speak?
German, English and some slang.
How did you get into freeskiing contests?
My mother taught me to ski when I was 2 years old and when I was 5, I started to do some ski races. At 10 years old, I was visiting a boarding ski racing school at Montafon for about 4 years. I remember when I was about 14 years old, I saw a halfpipe skiing competition on the television for the first time and I was really stoked on that. At age 16, I got my first twin tips and from that point on I started to have a really, really good time.
Last winter was a real breakout season for you -- you had a lot of top results at major contests. How did you juggle such a busy contest season?
Yeah, it was really busy, but I had the chance to ski a lot of really cool faces, which motivated me. I have to say after the Freeride World Tour finale at Verbier I was feeling a bit free -- I mean, no more contest pressure.
You do big-mountain contests like the Freeride World Tour and also slopestyle and big air events, like Nine Knights. Which do you prefer? What are you better at?
I really like both of them. It's hard to say because I love the powder days and I love the good spring park days, but I would say I'm better in the backcountry. When there's powder, I ski powder and if there is no powder, I ski park.
And you also find time to film?
This year I didn't film a lot because of the busy contest schedule I had. I was filming a little bit with Legs of Steel and Headbud at the end of the season. I really want to film more again in the upcoming season.
Is Fabio a common name in Austria? Do people ever compare you to the male Italian fashion model from the 90s with the same name?
There are some Fabios around but not many. And, yeah, they do it especially in the States. Once I was actually using his profile picture on Facebook.
What are you up this summer?
This summer I will try to enjoy the summer as much as I can with stuff like surfing, swimming, soccer, spending time with friends and family. I will do a lot of working out for my body, so I will hit the gym quite a lot and I will go running for my perseverance. I will also hit the water ramps and I will do some glacier skiing. But this summer, I will not go to New Zealand or South America.
What do you have in the works for next winter?
Next season will be quite similar as this year. I believe if I ski to the best of my abilities, then I could be a contender to win a Freeride World Tour stop, and potentially be a contender to win the event overall. I like to do more freestyle tricks in my lines.