Cover photo: Alric Ljunghager
We all have a favorite skier, our favorite skiers have favorite skiers. Alex Hall has a pretty unique boast: in an interview last year, Jason Arens told us that Hall is his favorite skier to judge. You can see why. Hall has a different approach to his tricks and he also had a different sort of upbringing. With a couple of X Games golds already around his neck from last season, a heavy showing in the Faction movie and his own film project coming in the next few weeks, we reached out to Alex to see how he manages to get it all done!
You just won your second X Games Gold at X Games Norway. This felt like ‘your year’ in terms of comps… what led up to that/did something change/click?
This year was pretty insane on the comp-circuit. Definitely the most podiums I've ever had in one season. I think the main thing that happened was that I learned a couple of new grabs that really helped push my skiing. I actually didn't ski that much last fall cause I was a full-time student in college, but I actually think that was good for me. It made me more stoked to ski once the season started.
When he's not out winning golds... Photo: Stephan Sutton
How was it being in a stadium with all the other sports/events all happening in one day?
It was so dope! I didn't really get to watch many of the events on the comp-day cause I was so busy, but I checked out a bunch of em in practice. I think it really helped bring in a bigger crowd to have all the events in the same place. Watching the skate and the moto QP practices was so sick!
In addition to crushing the contest scene, you went to both park and street shoots for the Faction movie, how did you balance that with the comp schedule? And which do you prefer?
Yea, I ended up going on four different shoots with Faction last year. There was some free time between comps and I also decided to skip a couple after X Games Aspen. I started with an urban trip to Finland, then a pow trip to BC, a slush booter shoot in France and finally a park shoot in Norway. I would say I enjoy filming more than competing, but they balance each other out.
Which of the segments is your favorite? Which trip was the most fun and who else should we look out for in the movie?
I’ve only seen the movie one time and it was pretty hectic, with all the people watching and me being so stoked, so I don't remember that much. I would say the urban segment is maybe the heaviest, but I was also really hyped on my B.C. shots. The most fun trip was probably the one to La Clusaz or the one in Norway. I just love shredding with all the homies in the spring so much. Antti is always my personal favorite to watch. So many others killed it too though. Ben Buratti and Markus Fohr were going full savage in La Clusaz.
A taster of the Faction Norway shoot. Photo: Chris Baldry
Will we be seeing another rider cut down the line because I’ve heard you have way more shots than made it despite having like 10 minutes of shots…
Yea a rider cut would be sick! If that doesn’t end up happening I'm hoping to get all the shots at some point to make my own little season recap movie. It would be cool to showcase all the competitions and filming I did last year in a combined piece.
When you're hitting rails like this, I guess comp rails are a breeze. Photo: Stephan Sutton
And then you went on to film your own movie, Magma, with Hunter Hess. Tell us about that movie and what drives you to do so much?
Filming for Magma was maybe one of my favorite trips of the year. We pretty much just went to Mt.Hood for a month and slept in our cars. We had a dope crew of homies and would pretty much go film every day. Hunter and I decided to link with Owen Dahlberg for this movie and he ended up doing an amazing job with the filming and editing. We basically just built a ton of jumps all over Mt.Hood. I think I skied two days of park that whole month. I think I try to do so much in a season because I don't want to feel like I'm wasting time. Also if I chill for too long I get jumpy.
Ok let’s rewind a bit with that out of the way, where and when did you first get on skis? You’re American/Italian but grew up in Switzerland? How did that work out and where did you ski most growing up?
I grew up in Switzerland and started skiing before I can remember. I think I got into freestyle around like age 11. I was never with a team or coach until I moved to the US at age 16. Yea my mom is Italian and my dad is from the US. They are both professors at the University of Zurich. I used to ski at Laax a good amount, but it was kinda far so I would usually ski at smaller local resorts in the area.
Who were your inspirations growing up and now?
My dad and his ski buddies were always a huge inspiration for me when I was growing up. We would watch old ski vids of them sending tricks like 40 years ago. Now I look up to so many skiers that I’m surrounded by. Whether it’s the comp skiers, filmer, or homies, they all inspire me in different ways. Tom Wallisch was always one of my favs.
Alex and his crowd of admirers. Photo: Alric Ljunghager
You’re becoming known for creative and very technical grabs. Jason Arens (judge) says you’re one of his favorite skiers to judge, have you always put extra work on your grabs?
I’ve always loved trying new grabs that were complicated. I just felt like there were so many tricks that I was doing that I could improve on. Also, I can’t huck my meat as hard as some of the others, so I need to try and make up for it.
Are there any new ones for us to look out for this season? Does your height help you get in those crazy positions?
Nothing specific. I’ve kinda just been trying to add some of my grabs into harder tricks recently. Haha, not sure but maybe. Everyone always thinks I’m super flexible but I’m not at all.
You’re also doing some of the craziest stuff on rails right now, do you think that is where the difference is going to be made in future comps?
I love to try and have some unique or tech rails tricks in my comp runs. It’s usually kinda risky but feels so good when it works. Everyone is so good at jumping nowadays that the rails will be the main place for people to separate themselves.
Where did the ‘lucky sweater’ come from? Has it been laid to rest now?
My mom got it for me for Christmas and I was kinda down so I just started skiing in it. Oh, yea that thing is gone. No clue where it is.
What are your plans for winter 19/20? More comps or more filming? Would you ever want to do X Games Real Ski?
Hopefully, I will be able to balance competing and filming again next season. X Games Real Ski is something that I have thought about a lot. It would be so sick to be a part of, but I also know how gnarly that comp is. Maybe at some point in the future.
Backcountry Alex. Photo: Guy Fattal
What do you like to do when you’re not skiing?
I’ve been super into surfing lately. Hunter and I went on a two-week surf trip to Australia and were just sleeping in a van and checking out the coast. It was so dank. I also enjoy fishing and skateboarding a lot.
Trip: Probably Mammoth, in the spring with all the homies.
Trick: Cork 3 cause you can do it on anything.
Track: Nothing specific but I like to blast Waves by Kanye when I'm dropping in for comps. Not sure why cause the song isn’t even that good. Just kinda gets me hyped.