As a passionate adventurer Christoph Höbenreich has long been drawn to the world’s most inhospitable places. Among other achievements he has traversed Greenland and Franz Josef Land, lead expeditions to the North and South poles, and has climbed the highest peak in Antarctica, Mount Vinson (4,892 m) several times. For his last ski expedition to the South pole in January 2015, we gave him a pair of our guide backcountry skins: "The frozen snow there is so weather-beaten it is virtually like sandpaper. It has sharp edges and is really hard to negotiate. The polar-grade contour skins stuck perfectly to my polar skis even at temperatures of -30°C and glided well over the snow to make it easier for us to drag our pulks."
Images: Christoph Höbenreich
contour skins was a long-standing partner and supporter of Austria's National Ski Mountaineering team and all its athletes. In 2014 ski mountaineering was assigned its own division within the Austrian Ski Assiciation (ÖSV).
Image: Willi Streitberger
Neil Williman comes from Blenheim, New Zealand. He spent a lot of time with his parents at Mount Robert, and as soon as he was able to stand on skis at the age of just three, his parents would take him ski touring in a back carrier. At the age of 16 he left Blenheim and went to Wanaka Mount Aspiring College. There, he focused all his energy on skiing and it wasn’t long before he found sponsors to help further his career.
Neil has spent the last few years dividing his time between Europe and New Zealand and spends his European winters in the Austrian Alps. Both sides of the partnership seem to be pretty happy with the deal:
'contour skins are made locally in Tyrol with as many natural materials as possible, and they're always looking to innovate too, something I'm proud to be a part of!’http://www.neilwilliman.net/
Image: Elias Holzknecht
Sandra's been on top of the game for years. Her skiing performance has earned her international recognition and got rewarded with nominations for "Best Female Performace" at 2016 POWDER Awards and at IF3 2013, 2014, 2017 & 2018. Her filmmaking career kicked off in 2010 when she produced the first ever all girls ski movie AS WE ARE. Ever since the sportscientist has committed her life to skiing and creating inspiring movies highlighting female athletes. She has found her passion at the intersection of pushing her own skiing performance, travelling, coaching, organizing and filmmaking and works withcompanies like Red Bull Media House, BMW, J.Lindeberg and Fischersports. Sandra is the founder of SHADES OF WINTER, a multi media platform celebrating female action sport athletes in her films and providing women from all over the world a place to connect, get inspired and empower each other at her camps.www.sandralahnsteiner.com
images: Colleen Gentemann
Mountain guide for the Austrian Armed Forces, he has climbed several ice climbs graded 6+ (e.g. Hannibal in the Zillertal Valley, Austria), the direct route on the north face of Laliderer, the Cima Grande di Lavaredo, Dolomites via the Comici route, the Großglockner north face via the mountain guides route, the northeast face of the Großer Löffler (Monte Lovello), the Ortler north face via the Ertl route, free solo, among others…
Images: Philipp Brugger
My name is Benjamin Chamoux, I am 23 years old and I practice competitive ski mountaineering for 4 years.
I am member of the Espoir French National Team, and a high level sportsman in this sport. In winter 2017, I won sprint French championship and I got ranked third in the sprint world cup.
I love mountains and be in the mountains, that's for sure the best place for the training.
Roman Rohrmoser was born and raised in Zillertal, Tirol. His dad put him on skis at the age of two. Until he was 15 years old, he was an alpine racer and won a lot of national and international races and competitions.
Then it was time for a change and he followed his passion. Skiing off-piste, skiing powder and jumping off cliffs. His parents weren´t that happy at first, but soon they changed their mind when they saw how talented Roman was and got his first sponsor deals under his belt.
Roman skied on the Freeride Rookie Tour for the first 2 years, before the Freeride World Tour had been developed. When he felt he had enough of competitions, he decided to focus on photo and filmshoots and just freeskiing.
Over the last few years, he can boast segments in dozens of ski films with nearly every major production company on the planet, like Warren Miller Entertainment USA, Nimbusindependent.com> USA, Junkies on a budget, ...
He travels a lot, but is always glad to be back home to see his family, friends and enjoy mother-nature. Beeing out there is what he really loves to do.
"Get out there, live life, explore and make memories”, that was Simon’s motto when in 2015 he traversed the length of Norway on skis, pulling a pulk. He used backcountry skins with hybrid glue technology. "The skins were awesome. They worked brilliantly and literally saved our arses on more than one occasion. We would have been seriously stuck without them. Putting them on and taking them off was super easy and the glue always stuck perfectly."
Simon had already completed a traverse of the length of Norway from South to North, on foot, in 2013. His book about the journey was published in 2015.www.simonpatur.de
Images: Simon Michalowicz
Known as the Blind Climber, Andy Holzer is an inspiration to all alpinists. With no vision, he has climbed all of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on all seven continents). His talks aim to ‘open the eyes of the seeing’.
Images: Andi Scharnagl, Erwin Reinthaler
As a youngster, a successful 10 years of ski racing unwittingly laid the foundations for a successful transition into ski mountaineering racing. Alpine ski mountaineering races require a huge amount of stamina and technical ability to help you with the energy-sapping off-piste descents. So although I might not be one of the fastest on the uphill, I make for a formidable opponent on the descent.
My achievements include the South Tyrol National championship title and several wins in the South Tyrol Cup. I also secured fourth place twice in the Italian Championships as part of the team and several top positions in the Coppa Italia, FISI competitions and the Mountain Attack. In 2015, I came 11th (World Cup ranking) for the 30th anniversary of the Pierra Menta race in France, just a couple of seconds behind the racer in 10th place.
Following a lengthy break due to injury in 2016 I was looking to achieve the same rankings as before, and for a big season goal perhaps taking part for the first time in the Patrouille des Glaciers in Switzerland … and placing in the top 10.
Images: De Simone Roberto
Mountain Guide, numerous first ascents on rock and ice, record-holder for the fastest ascent of the three Piz Palü peaks in under 24 hours, climbed the Eiger and Matterhorn north faces aged just 17.
Several times German Ski Mountaineering Champion
2nd in the CISM Military World Games in Cameroon
Images: Toni Steurer
Matthias helped us develop the hybrid free skins – many thanks - and he has used them ever since, taking them on his Onekotan expedition which resulted in the film "The Lost Island) watch the trailer here. His latest film, "The White Maze", released in 2016, is about the first ski descent of Gora Pobeda, Eastern Siberia's highest peak. In 2017 he walks 'In The Tracks Of The First'.www.matthiasmayr.com
Images: Jonas Blum, Matthias Mayr
Photographer and author, Martin Hülle, has spent the last 20 years walking the length and breadth of northern Europe and Greenland. He has also traversed the biggest glacier on mainland Europe, the Jostedalsbreen in Norway and Iceland’s largest glacier, the Vatnajökull. A photo book about his adventures was published in 2017.www.martin-huelle.de
Images: Martin Hülle
Currently based in the French northern Alps & Pyrenees.
'Born in Tarbes, France, my parents passed on their love of the mountains. I started skiing at the age 4, where I already knew that it was going to be part of my life.
New years 2008, I had the chance to try out Telemark skiing and rapidly became addicted. Why? Freedom of movements, aesthetic of turns and community spirit.
Co-founder of Fent'astic Telemark Pyrenees. Our main goal, spread Telemark through our experiences, give advice, create events & travels: www.facebook.com/FentastikPyreneesTelemark/
I've had the possibility to visit a number of places around the world, expressing myself the way I know best... skiing. There are trips that come to mind, reflect good times, like in Norway, Lyngen Alps or Kamchatka peninsula... where runs from summits to ocean became true!
The mountains have given me some of the best experiences life has to offer. I will continue to explore and discover, having fun and staying healthy.
I'm glad to share my passion through contour skins. Always looking for the next powder day!'
Images: Joel Hardy, Max Mermod