“Gris die, einen schönen Tag! First of all, let me introduce myself! My name is Daniela Hochmuth, I am 27 years old and based in Innsbruck, in the heart of the Austrian Alps. I got asked to share my thoughts and experiences as a splitboarder woman.

Five years ago I was working at Mammut Sports Group as a Clothing Developer, that’s when my coworkers introduced me to the beauty of the big mountains. On my very first snowboard / snowshoe trip, I carried my beloved snowboard up to the fourth highest peak of the Austrian Alps, the Grossvenediger (3.666m). Even though it was exhausting as hell, the untouched nature filled my passion.

For the next trips I borrowed a first generation Burton snowboard with an S-Series interface, which did truly drive me crazy! Yeahh and soon after I went on my first splitboard trip to the Lyngen Alps, for which I finally bought my first own Jones Splitboard in a small shop in Luzern. Nine part-time explorers including myself, one mountain guide and my new 156cm Hovercraft departed from Zürich to travel to Tromsø in the Lyngen alps. This crew, the cook and the captain of the boat granted me one of the most magnificent weeks of my life. Perfect snow conditions, silver shining fjords, magic sun downs and the breath-taking northern lights made this week even more special. I was finally hooked on the feeling of freeriding!

One of these special moments, while I was approaching the winter room of the Leutkircher hut in Austria

I reflected about my life and thought about where I would find true happiness, and as you can imagine it was neither in the office in front of a computer, nor in a 5 star hotel on a business trip! During this special moment I was sitting on the top of the mountain with some good friends, enjoying the panoramic view and looking forward to the exciting descent – fulfilled with happiness. So I quit my job and handed in my Master Thesis. I turned my life upside down.

“In this situation I realized, that I never wanted to ride against people but to ride with them, I never wanted to conquer a mountain, instead, I wanted to explore it.”

At this time I just wanted to snowboard, so I started to compete at the Freeride World Qualifier. At my second contest I reached the podium on the 3* Qualifier in Engadin Snow and got immediately sponsored. It took me only 1,5 year to reach the 6 th place in the overall world ranking in the FWQ Tour. But again, after a heavy crash at the 4* FWQ Contest in Obergurgl, I was forced to overthink my life.

You cannot plan the best moments in life. Photo: Johanna Julia Lehtinen

In this situation, I realized that I never wanted to ride against people but to ride with them, I never wanted to conquer a mountain, instead,  I wanted to explore it. I want to tell stories, show the beauty of nature, show that money is not worth fighting for, but our earth is! I am a dreamchaser and I am aware that we, as human beings, can choose our own reality. That’s why I decided to follow the path of my dreams.

“I could complain that as a girl you always have to prove yourself that you “ride like a guy”, so on and so forth. But I honestly think this is not the question. If you wanna make it work, you will find a way!”

Just two weeks ago, one of my biggest dreams came true! I got the chance to splitboard alongside one of my biggest idols: Jeremy Jones. Spending two days on a hut with him and the Jones Snowboards crew was super inspiring, and has reassured me that I am on the right way. Now I could tell you that I am proud that I have been one of two girls on this trip. I could tell you thousands of stories, how hard it is to find fitting gear or the perfect snowboard boots for my big mountain adventures. I could complain that as a girl you always have to prove yourself that you “ride like a guy”, so on and so forth. But I honestly think this is not the question. If you wanna make it work, you will find a way! I, personally, did take a lot of risks. I am also a bit crazy. My best shred buddies know that I always wanna jump higher, ride further and make turns on steeper off piste slopes! At this point I need to reconsider the motivation and why I am doing all this.

leutkircher. Photo: Jakub Sedivy photography

“Splitboarding offers you the chance to capture the most beautiful moments you can ever imagine, like watching a red-golden sundown next to your crew, or when you draw a turn on untouched powder.”

Walking up the mountain offers plenty of time to reflect. Counting the steps on a long way up is like a meditation, sitting on untouched land watching the glaciers, your realize that as a human being, you cannot be stronger than mother nature. Up there it’s only a very small gap between life and death, which makes you even more dependent on your own sense and the knowledge and dynamics of your group. I suddenly feel tiny and within these moments I learn to accept and adapt.

Splitboarding offers you the chance to capture the most beautiful moments you can ever imagine, like watching a red-golden sundown next to your crew, or when you draw a turn on untouched powder. Please don’t be afraid of splitboarding; you really don’t have to be a pro to go on your first trip, however you have to be aware of hidden dangers out there.

You will grow with the challenge, and at the beginning,  you will be able to find some mellow ascents and descents to start with.

Never forget, that the journey is the reward…

February 28, 2017

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