Inspire: Producer and skier Sandra Lahnsteiner

Meet Sandra Lahnsteiner, pro freeskier and producer of the award-winning Shades of Winter movies.
© Patrick Orton
By Jojo Cook

Through her award-winning all-female movies, Sandra Lahnsteiner pushes women’s freeskiing to new levels.

We catch up with her in Alaska, where she's both skiing and filming big lines for Shades of Winter II.

What have you been up to this winter?
My movie production has been keeping me busy and I was once again lucky enough to travel the world with friends, chasing pow and filming for the second Shades of Winter movie, coming fall 2014.

My big goal is to establish Shades of Winter as a platform for female athletes from all over the world to share their passion and showcase their skills

Besides that I am super stoked I got to ski some really cool new lines without the cameras. I couldn't really ask for more!

Sandra Lahnsteiner in action.
Sandra's favourite part of the job © Klaus Polzer

How is Shades of Winter II shaping up?
We want to step it up in every aspect of movie making. We started our season once again in Niseko, Japan. Natalie Segal, Caja Schöpf, Evelina Nilsson and myself enjoyed the super dry pow Niseko is famous for. An incredibly deep winter made it pretty easy for our crew and we pushed each other a lot.

Back in Europe things got trickier, as winter wasn't really shaping up in the Alps (except for the southern parts) so we had to change a few plans. But all in all we got some sweet days for the freeride and freestyle girls on different locations.

Currently there are a few shoots happening at the same time. Nadia Samer and Suz Graham are filming in BC, Nico Zacek's legendary Nine Queens just happened in Livigno and I am currently in Haines, Alaska with Matilda Rapaport and Janina Kuzma. The last set up this winter will follow Melissa Presslaber and Nadine Wallner to some steep skiing in the western Alps. Stay tuned…

Sandra skiing in Alaska.
Sandra in action in Alaska © Patrick Orton

Aside from skiing, where do you find inspiration for your films?
In general, being authentic in all the things I do is the most important rule I follow. So, every day, life is my inspiration. The story of my first film, "As We Are", was simply about the friendship and the fun ski roadtrips that come along with it.

My second film, "Shukran Morocco", was more a documentary about a freeski trip to Northern Africa capturing the mix of skiing and a different culture

My first "Shades of Winter" movie had its roots in "As We Are", but this time my big goal was less the story but putting the performance and the action of us girls in the foreground.

With Shades of Winter II we want to reach the next level of freeskiing and story telling. I again want to showcase the best female action but carried on by a smart little story that inspires.

Everyday experience once again was my personal inspiration for the upcoming movie. Once I had the idea in my head I couldn't stop thinking of it and together with director/filmer and editor Mario Feil we developed the story.

Sandra skiis through trees in Niseko, Japan.
Sandra slaying pow in Japan © Aaron Jamieson, Niseko Photography

Who is the biggest inspiration in your life?
Well, I never really had a single role model I followed. I remember watching Ingrid Backstrom in Matchsticks ripping sick AK lines, that was for sure an inspiration to push my own skiing forward.

Other than that I have quite a few different inspirations, from sports, business etc. But it’s those people who are authentic and truly follow their passions and goals that inspire me.

Sandra Lahnsteiner in action.
Sandra Lahnsteiner in action © Aaron Jamieson

What advice would you give to any aspiring female ski film makers?
Just believe in yourself and make it happen! Don't wait for your dreams to come true, live it!

Check out Sandra's part of the new Shades of Winter II in the player above.

And, if you want to get to know more girl skiers from Shades of Winter, read our features with Lorraine Huber, Nadine Wallner and Matilda Rapaport here on

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