Freeride is the essence of joy, extreme throws some fear in the mix, said Nicola Thost, snowboard rider who took part in Freeride World Tour Andorra

nikola-tostInterview with Nicola Thost – Freeride World Tour Vallnord  February 18th 2015:

You have many titles: you were Olympic champion (halfpipe), the winner of the world Cup of ISF (snowboard)… Now you are one of the top women snowboarders in FWT. Is it your life style to be always in the front line?  Why and how did you choose a career in sports? 

Success is not a choice, success can be a result of your decisions and priorities you set up in life. I chose snowboarding when I was 16. As a girl I wanted to find out how far I can make it if I can spend as much time snowboarding as I loved to. I chose to give it all in for snowboarding, it’s been my passion from back then until today.

Which qualities are strongly needed to be the best in freeride? Your key advantages and disadvantages (if there are any)?

It’s been my first big Feeride Competition ever. What helped me was that I’ve got many years of competition experience. Where I felt like a rookie was everything what comes with this new discipline: learning to read the mountain, decide your line, estimate the drops and finding your line troughout the run. It’s an unridden face, you have one chance and gotta give it all – it’s probably been the most challenging competition in snowboarding I’ve ever done in my life.

Your day before a competition – what does it look like? What do you concentrate on? What helps you deal with nerves?

The day before we spend a lot of time checking the mountain, inspecting the face from across the mountain and choosing the line we want to ride. Competition day itself – I got up around 5 am, getting ready…It’s been amazing being up there with the sunrise, taking a couple fresh runs to warm up. I am not a competition rider, I never was. This „3,2, 1 go..“ made me nervous back then and still does. But today I get so much out of the whole experience. All I concentrate on is to be present and enjoy to ride the mountain just the way I love to.

What were your first memories related to sports?

I grew up with sports, blessed that my parents gave me a chance to try out many different types like gymnastics, swimming, tennis, skiing, ballet, horseback riding, windsurfing…you name it. I learned so much in life through the playfulness of sports. Yes it does hurt sometimes, you fall, you get disappointed, but if you get up, overcome your fear and try again, you will always feel moments of joy – it’s the mix of both what keeps life in balance.

What do you feel at the top of a mountain and at the finish line? 

Being on top of the mountain gives me a healthy birds‘ eye view over everything. So much peace and positive vibes –I love it. Entering the finish zone – my body is full of happiness and adrenalin after a great run. Feelings that money can‘t buy.

What is your key motivation to take part in FWT competition?

When I was forced to stop my freestyle competition career in 2003 due to my knee injuries, I slowly found a new passion for snowboarding: freeriding, playing in untracked terrain. I’ve heard of the FWT a long time ago but wasn’t sure if I wanted to compete in backcoutry. When I got the wildcard für Fieberbrunn I was excited to give it a chance. After the last 3 weeks I can say that I’ve never had as much fun competing. Probably because now I found the terrain where I belong.

How do you choose your “out of piste” path? How long do you usually take to examine and analyze it?

I am not used to analyzing my runs. Usually I choose my lines instinctively and go ride variations of it a few times to get familiar with my perfect run. FWT is a whole different deal: 1 run, 1 chance, that’s it. I am excited to get more into it and already learned a lot from all the others on Tour. It’s a great atmosphere with all the athletes – no matter if it is ski or snowboard – we are all in the same boat.

Do you have any sort of „good luck charm“? Do you beleive in any distinctive marks?

I don’t have anything like that but I do have a strong connection to nature. It calms me down and I enjoy to be a part of nature when I am out there.

What’s the difference between freeride and extreme?

Freeride is the essence of joy, extreme throws some fear in the mix.

What is a competitive environment for you?

I always compete with myself, with the conditions, with what‘s the best possible thing at this very time. I admire people who can push the button and just want to win. Winning itself doesn’s give me the thrill others might get with it.

What do you usualy do in the summer time when there is no snow? 

I spend my time near the ocean windsurfing, enjoy real summer and go mountain biking. Sports and nature in a good mix.

Did you enjoy Andorran ski resorts? Are you planning to come to Andorra for the next FWT competition in 2016?

It’s been an amazing time in Andorra – such a warm welcome and great people! Besides competition days, I had great runs and there is a lot to explore.  I’d love to come back for the FWT 2016 if I get the chance.

Did you participate in Olympic Games in Sochi last year?

I entered the Olympics in Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002. In 2003 I had to retire from competing due to 3 ACL knee injuries within 3 years.

What are your plans for the future? 

Keep on living my dreams and be ready when life is calling!! 


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