Words by Skye Darden

At the beginning of the 09-10 season, Markus Eder was an unknown, from a country not well known for its mountains, or its freeskiers. Even though the Italian Alps provide ample training grounds to become a pro freeskier (having hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino and the European Snowboarding Open in Livigno), there has been no other Italian freeskier who has climbed so far, or so fast, as Markus.

During the 2010-2011 season, Markus placed first at the SFR Tour Qualifier to win an invite to European X-Games (where he unfortunately crashed on both of his qualifying runs while attempting a rodeo 5 transfer on the flat-down box gap), took second place at Red Bull Linecatcher, first place at Red Bull Jib Ski Kings, and was just shy of the podium at Red Bull Playstreets, the Budapest Big Air, and the Jon Olsson Invitational.

Red Bull Linecatcher. Photo by Jeremy Bernard/Red Bull Content Pool

If this hectic life and schedule of an up-and-coming pro skier wasn't enough, Markus also co-hosted his own invitational slopestyle event in Italy called the F-Tech Spring Gingerle, on the Kronplatz, close to where he lives, and you can also see him in some of the biggest ski films of the year to come out of Europe this fall. I recently had the chance to hook up with Markus to find out more about his life, his future, and his thoughts on the freeski scene in Italy…

Spring Gingerle. Photo by Alessandro Belluscio

How are you Markus? Where are you at the moment?

Hey man! The best part of the season just started. Slushy snow and no stress, so I couldn't feel better! Right now I'm at home in Italy relaxing a bit and enjoying the sun with my friends, but I can't wait till the glacier in Val Senales opens.

Every time I see you, you have a big-ass smile on your face. How much fun are you having in your career right now?

A lot! Traveling around, meeting cool people and just skiing gets me really excited, even though I was feeling kind of over skiing at the end of the season after all the comps I did. But I recently didn’t ski for about ten days, so now it’s all I can think about.

Spring Gingerle. Photo by Harald Wisthaler

What was your favorite event, trip or experience that you had this season?

That's a tough question. I’d say the best moment was definitely after my third run at the Red Bull Linecatcher, even though I was pretty ashamed about my claiming all the way down, which was pretty lame (laughs). But the best time I had this year was back home at the F-Tech Spring Gingerle invitational event that my friend Matthias Fabbro and I put on. We were just shredding the whole week with some great riders we met in the last few years and had a bunch of fun without any pressure. The feedback we got from the riders after that week was great!

Spring Gingerle. Photo by Harald Wisthaler

What was it like being on the podium with some of the best big mountain skiers on the planet at Red Bull Linecatcher?

To finish second at Linecatcher between two of my favorite skiers was pretty unreal. I don't know how I managed to land those tricks in one run, because I usually need more attempts to do them in the backcountry. It was pretty mysterious! (laughs)

Red Bull Linecatcher. Photo by Jeremy Bernard/Red Bull Content Pool

Tell us about your first European X Games experience, and in particular the rodeo 5 box transfer you pulled in training.

The X Games were pretty wild. The weather wasn’t too good and because of the wind and bad snow, so it was a mission for us riders to figure out the right speed for the jumps. But I really liked the top section, so I tried to get as many points as I could there. The last obstacle of the top section was a flat box to gap to down box and that was the only feature where I didn't know what to do, so I tried a rodeo switch-up in training and I stomped it two out of three times. But then in qualifiers I totally screwed up and crashed twice. Shit happens (laughs). The rest of the week ended up being just one big party all the way through, so it was definitely a good experience.

European X Games. Photo by Felix Rioux

You have definitely being pushing the freeski scene in your home country of Italy. Who are some other Italian riders we should be looking out for next season?

There are some super good riders like Andreas Bacher, Stefan Schenk and Lukas Schäfer, who can do all kinds of left and right side spins along with some dubs. They just need to travel outside of Italy to compete at some comps, which isn’t so easy for them because they’re still dealing with school. We don't have any sport schools in Italy that support the freeskiing scene like in Switzerland and in Scandinavia, but we definitely have a lot of potential. The biggest mountains in the Alps, some damn good parks, and some really talented kids.

Photo by Harald Wisthaler

Tell us about your Spring Gingerle event, and how you think it can help freeskiing in Italy.

Our goal was not to make it a high level comp. We just had a great end of season shred combined with a night shoot, a sick sunrise shoot, and a cool cash for style session with great people we met in the last few years. The whole week everyone was just skiing to have fun and nobody knew about the prize giving or the awards for the best three overall riders at the after party. Even though McRae Williams was sick and puking for two days straight he was still skiing the best. I got second and the wild Scandinavian Klaus Finne got third. Unlike other European countries our sport is still pretty small here in Italy, because we have at least ten times more snowboarders. But I hope that our event will motivate some kids to make the switch to twin-tips!

Photo by Harald Wisthaler

What are your goals for next season?

Well in the summer I’ll be shredding the glacier in Val Senales and then head to New Zealand for the World Heli Challenge and the NZ Open, and after that I’ll go to Chile for the Skiers Cup. Right now I don't have any plans for next winter yet. I just want to ski the best I can, and the rest will come by itself I hope!

Photo by Harald Wisthaler

Any shout-outs?

Oh yeah! I want to thank all my friends back in my home valley just for being such good friends. Every time I come back home to ski and party with them it feels like I never left. Also big shout-outs to my homeys Matthias Fabbro, Franz Perini and the whole F-Tech Crew, who do what they do with soul! Thanks a lot to my parents, my sister and my sponsors as well for the great support, along with anyone else I forgot. And thanks to Newschoolers and Skye for this interview!

Kronplatz F-Tech SPRINGgingerle ´11 DAY3 from GMRPROD on Vimeo.

Follow Markus on his blog at markuseder.blogspot.com