Matthias Mayr is an interesting character. He is a doctor of sport science. He is an explorer. And above all - he is a skier. He skied some of the most remote mountains of our planet. And he produced some incredible skiing movies.
Which three words would you use to describe yourself?
Never, describe, yourself!
What is your definition of skiing?
Skiing is a unique combination of nature, speed, diversity, power, flow, motion, and elegance. If you’re able to get all this into your skiing, you feel pure happiness.
Did you have any role models growing up?
I’ve had very different role models growing up, starting with MacGyver and Michael Knight - and Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) who made watching soccer amazing and one of the reasons it’s the best spectator sport in the world. I still have current role models as well, since I’ve never really stopped growing up - Roger Federer is one of them, and may be the most impressive and elegant athlete of all time.
How do you cope with fear and danger? Would you agree with the saying: You cannot touch greatness without flirting with danger?
The element of fear is very important to stay alive, it´s the subjective measure of danger. If you’re afraid you shouldn’t ignore it. Danger, in general, is very dependent on the point of view. People often ask us, if it is very dangerous to do big mountain skiing in extreme remote regions? The answer is yes, of course. But a lot of hard work, training and planning goes into every detail to minimze the risks. As a result, up until now I’ve only injured myself skiing on piste (Ha!), and never on big mountain ski missions.
Could you describe your perfect skiing day?
50 centimeters of fresh powder, together with my friends and girlfriend, skiing through the forests of Austria all day long! Afterwards, drinking a beer on a hut with the same crew, then spending the night in front of the TV with my girl and my cats.
What is your best and worst skiing memory?
I have a lot of best memories, so it is hard to say. My worst day was definitely when I hurt my knee on the piste. We skied the famous Pallavicini Couloir, a 55 degrees, 600m altitude, ice climbing route at Austrias highest mountain, Großglockner. It is one of the most dangerous descents, or maybe most, in Austria due to rock fall. Yes and two of those rocks hit me hard recently, now my left arm is twice the usual size, like Popeye :) and my right arm now has 5 stitches ;) it was the worst moment, because you can´t influence the rock fall, it comes down like rockets, trying to kill you...
What would you be doing if you were not a skier?
I would still be Matthias, maybe playing even more soccer and beach volleyball, maybe working on something else with 100% passion. I used to work as a sports scientist, when I was not fully pro skiing, but somehow this did not fill my life. So I hope, that I would find a job that gives me as much as skiing, or, just living on myself with my family in the forest as farmers, that´s what I could imagine doing.
Who would you vote for the best skier of all time?
I guess this is something impossible to vote for. There are so many great skiers: Candide Thovex, Hermann Maier, Ingemar Stenmark.
You’ve skied in some of the most remote places on the planet. How do you find them?
It mostly happens accidentally, browsing through Google Earth, flying above mountain ranges with a jet plane. One trip just leads to the next. For example, when flying home from Kamchatka we spotted the Chersky Range in Siberia, next mission then was The White Maze, you can watch it at www.thewhitemaze.com. We are just working on our new movie "In the Tracks of the First", which will be running in cinemas and TVs. It's about those who first skied the steep north walls in the Alps, and now we ski that again and compare it to the past.
What has been your most interesting and your most scary experience?
For me, being on the island of Onekotan for almost 3 weeks was definitely the most outstanding experience. I have learned so much. Nothing could have developed my character more than that. You learn that the limit of your body and mind is so much higher than you ever expected, I would say, if there is no choice, you will never give up, because second choice is failing, dying. You learn that if you see every problem in a positive way, then you can solve it. Never waste energy in thinking negative, just solve the problem. My most scary experience was when I got caught in a huge avalanche but luckily did not get hurt. I got caught in an avalanche in Austria at Dachstein.
What other sports do you play?
I enjoy hiking, running, fitness, soccer, beach volleyball, and biking.
When winter is over, do you start counting down for the next season or you are looking forward for the summer?
Winter usually lasts very long for me, longer than it seems to last for mosts in Europe. For example, in 2016 I came back from Siberia in mid-May. And this season I am working on a project that will most likely last until July. If that’s not the case, after a season I usually move directly into editing a movie, planning a film tour, and planning new movie. But yes, I enjoy summer a lot, I don’t count the days until next winter, but I always hope for a good one.
What are your favorite summer activities?
Soccer, beach volleyball.
Favorite summer and winter place?
Austria and Austria.
What was your last vacation?
In Greece on Ski-athos.
Where would you go, if you had a weekend, a week, and a month – and money wouldn't be a problem?
When we start investigating for our projects it´s usually that the financial part is the part that could make it impossible. And everyone tells you, this is impossible. But I don´t listen. So I have been on many places you usually just go when money would not be a problem, and the next will be Antarctica. I would buy 2 around the world tickets and go with my girl to show her the world.
How would you describe your personal style?
Sporty, I guess. I do not even have a suit.
Do you wear jewelry or do you have a lucky charm?
What do you do for charity?
I am ambassador for www.outdooragainstcancer.com. I'll try to help this organisation convince people that sports and being outdoors is great preventative healthcare and helps healing cancer.
What do you do to reduce your carbon fingerprint?
I ride my bike as often as I can, and I don’t buy anything that I don´t need. I would say that I’m a low consumer of things. Of course I know that flying around the world for my trips leaves a huge carbon fingerprint, so I don’t see myself as an ecological hero. That said, I hope that showing millions of people the beauty of nature changes the minds of some people to live more green.
Which is your favorite sports team?
Last book, movie, concert, theatre, exhibition?
Some books from Simon Beckett. And the biography of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Do you have any pets?
Two cats, Mogli and Coco.
Do you cook yourself?
What is the best dish you can make?
Marillenknödel (Apricot dumplings).
Guiding principle in life?
Work hard for what you want to achieve.