Lorraine Huber is a pro skier with the good fortune to be based in both Austria and Australia. While spending the ski season in New Zealand, she placed third in the NZ Freeski Open Big Mountain competition, then proceeded to win the next three events she entered, including the K2 Big Mountain Chill Series, the Black Diamond Big Mountain at Temple Basin, and the Export Gold Xtreme in Mt. Ruapehu. Not too shabby. This winter, she’s gearing up to guide trips for Kästle Adventure Tours, a new program from Austria’s Kästle Skis that offers guided trips to places like Norway, Italy, British Columbia, and Switzerland, where clients get outfitted in the newest gear and are coached by pro team athletes.
So explain this: You’re Australian, but you live in Austria, yes?
I was born in Lech am Arlberg in Austria, my Dad’s hometown. My sister and I grew up in a winter paradise. My Mum used to send us to ski school instead of kindergarten, and Dad, who’s a ski instructor, spent a lot of time with us on the mountain. At the age of eight, I moved to Torquay, Australia, with my family and didn’t return to live in Austria until I was finished with high school, but I still managed to get six weeks of skiing in per year. And of course I loved surfing back in Torquay, which is one of the best places to catch a wave in all of Australia.
But you spent last summer in New Zealand now, yes? I heard you’ve been doing some ski mountaineering on Mount Aspiring?
I made my dream happen and spent the season skiing in New Zealand this year, mainly Treble Cone. On the 30-kilomter drive from Wanaka to NZ’s best ski resort you can see Mount Aspiring on a clear day. We started planning a descent on skis from the top of this beautiful mountain early during our NZ stay, knowing it was a long shot. There are only very few days in the season where conditions are good enough to ski the steep west face. The snow wasn’t cooperating—it was still much too cold in the springtime and we needed the sun to get in there, so we climbed and skied Mount Brewster instead, which ended up being more of a mission than Mount Aspiring would have been.
You filmed with Warren Miller Films in Norway last year for their film, Dynasty. What was that like?
It was an honour to film with a company like Warren Miller, so rich in ski film tradition. We filmed in the Lyngen Alps, north of the Arctic Circle, famous for its ski touring possibilities, and I was blown away by the beauty of the place. Everywhere you looked there where mountains soaring up out of the fjords with 3,000 vertical feet of descent waiting for us. Of course, you have to hike up with climbing skins before you can ski from summit to sea. The tours are reached by boat, which is a great experience.
And you’re filming with an all-women film crew this winter?
It’s a girl’s European freeski movie. We’ll be touring and skiing the best resorts in the Alps, filming and shooting with some upcoming Austrian talent in filmmaking and action sports photography. Then I’ll also be filming at Skeena Heliskiing in April, which will be amazing, because we’ll get to do heaps of heli-skiing for ourselves too.
Let’s say I have enough money to go one big trip this year and I’m deciding between a ski trip to Austria and a surf trip to Australia. What would you recommend I do?
Wow, that’s a tough question. I couldn’t decide so I recommend both—that’s what I do.
You can sign up to be coached by Lorraine at one of the following Kästle Adventure Tours: Women’s Freeride & Yoga Camp in Sölden, Austria, from January 22 to 24, and the Skeena Heliskiing Camp in BC from February 25 to March 5. Find out more at www.kaestle-ski.com/en/kaestle-experience.