Markus “Kogs” Kogler is a true jack of all trades on skis, especially on fat ones. The Open Faces organiser answered a few questions about freeriding for us.
Mogasi: Freeriding offers not only fantastic photos but also competitions. How well is the sport received by the general population? Which nations participate the most in freeride competitions?
Kogs: I see freeriding as a “high end” product in skiing. All well-known areas want to show that they have good freeride terrain. Somewhere that is also a seal of approval for a ski resort when they have great and varied terrain. All nations are represented at our competitions but the most common ones come from alpine countries.
Now guests, who were trained really well in ski schools in the 90s, come to us
Mogasi: Freeriding is one of the most original types of skiing, as the “White Rush” shows. The pioneers of skiing were freeriders. From hay transport to nature experiences to sport in front of a great backdrop. How will freeriding and freeride competitions further develop?
Kogs: I believe they will develop more and more. Now guests, who were trained really well in our ski schools in the 90s, come to us and bring freeriding skills and of course also pass these on to their children.
Mogasi: What freeride events have you contributed to?
Kogs: I am part of almost every event in Austria. I have been organising freeride events in Fieberbronn with my friends since 2005 and have been head of security for the FWT for 6 years. OpenFaces stations are when we start in the west: Silvretta Montafon *** – Kappl/Paznaun ** – Obergurgl **** – Axamer Lizum *** – Skijuwel Alpach * – Gastein ** – Hochkar * and I am also a part of the Xover Ride in Kaprun as a FWQ Advisor.
Mogasi: How are Tirol’s freeride areas different from the rest of the world?
Kogs: They are much nicer….
Mogasi: What are the freeride hotspots (and hidden gems) for you in Tirol and around the world?
Kogs: I can’t actually tell you any favourites because somehow all different areas have their own charm.
Mogasi: Which ski boots do you prefer to ski in in off piste terrain?
Kogs: This season I used the Scott SuperGuide and was very happy with the setup. This boot meets the demands of both the accent and the descent.
The stress keeps me fit!
Mogasi: How do you keep fit for the stressful winter?
Kogs: The stress keeps me fit!
Mogasi: Do you rent equipment or do you have everything at home?
Kogs: I am fully set up by my equipment sponsor, Scott!
Mogasi: In back country, LVS devices as well as probes and shovels are mandatory for all freeriders. Many also ride with an ABS backpack. Nevertheless, there are always some avalanche victims who are riding without equipment. How much can the top athletes and competitors influence freeriders to have basic equipment readily available and possible to use?
Kogs: Every rider is required to carry all the emergency equipment during competition. ABS is not yet mandatory at our competitions but it is at the FWT!
Mogasi: Hunters and conservationists complain that skiers disturb animals during hibernation season, which can even lead to the death of animals. How can you get skiers and snowboarders to respect the hibernation zones despite the beautiful powder?
Kogs: This is where we need to strive for coexistance… I think you can find a general consensus in every area. It is easier when you talk to each other rather than cursing each other out.
Markus “Kogs” Kogler, 40, from Fieberbrunn is a freeride expert, Open Faces Organiser, training director for the ÖSSV avalanche course, Mountain and Ski guide, expert witness and mountain rescuer.