Since he was a kid, Benjamin ‘Benni’ Karl has shown real aptitude on the board. By the time he was 10 years old he had already decided that he was going to have a professional snowboarding career. Focusing predominantly on alpine slalom, Benni’s skillset developed quickly. But his pro snowboarding dreams were almost shattered in 1995, when he broke three thoracic vertebrae in an accident. After a short but intensive period of rehabilitation, Benni blazed a trail back onto the competition scene to win the regional championships later that same year.
Unable to fault his determination and verve for the sport, Benni’s parents had little choice but to send him to the Skihandelsschule snowboarding haven in Austria, where athletes go to receive academic teaching and physical training. There he perfected the parallel slalom (PSL) and the parallel giant slalom (PGS).
The 2008/09 season was undoubtedly one of the highlights of Benni’s career so far. In 2008, he claimed another Austrian National Championship title and added the overall World Cup to his trophy armoury. In 2009, another injury made it look like he would have to forfeit the World Championships in Gongwon, Korea, but once again he made a speedy recovery and came back to claim the first ever PSL world title.
The 2009/10 season finished with Benni taking silver at the Winter Olympics and another World Cup title. And since such successes, the Austrian pro has continued to dominate the podiums of... well, pretty much any competition he enters. In 2014 he took home yet another Olympic medal after winning bronze at Sochi.
In his "spare" time, he can be seen on his bike just for fun or at events such as Red Bull Dolomitenmann. It's clear Benni has no intention of hanging up his board any time soon... or ever.Read more