Kai Mahler: My Biggest Mistake of the Season

The rising Swiss freeski star on the highs and lows that have made 2014 such a memorable year.
Kai Mahler at Nine Knights 2014 in Livigno, Italy.
Kai Mahler © Nine Knights/Klaus Polzer
By Raphael Jansen

Kai Mahler had to make his way back from a long injury, and so he was stoked when he qualified for Russia, but his biggest mistake of the season made him miss the finals.

1. Give us three words that sum up your last season!
‘Hard’, ‘good’ and ‘awesome’. It was a hard season, but things went well, and I had fun.

2. Which moment of last season you’ll never forget?
There were many good moments. But it was especially cool to go riding with my friends in Laax after the games. It was also cool to participate in the European Freeski Open. This was the second time I participated.

3. What goals did you set yourself at the beginning of the season?
My main goal was to qualify for the games in February. Because I had been injured the previous season, I didn’t have any points, so I had to collect a lot of good results. The second goal was not to get hurt again.

Kai Mahler at Nine Knights 2014 in Livigno, Italy.
Kai Mahler on the second day at Nine Knights © Nine Knights/Klaus Polzer

4. Did you achieve your goals?
Well, I managed to qualify, and I also didn’t injure myself again. But I wanted to win the slopestyle finals in Russia, and that didn’t work out.

5. Your biggest mistake last season?
I didn’t land my last trick in my last run – a Switch Double Misty that I normally stomp 10 times out of 10. That made me miss out on qualification for the finals.

6. Your best moment last season?
That was my first triple cork 1260. I stomped it at the X Games, but unfortunately only during training.

Kai Mahler at Red Bull 2014
Already training again. © Enrique Castro Mendivil/Red Bull Content Pool

7. What have you learned over the last few months?
I learned some new tricks, Double Cork 9, Double Cork 10. And some other tricks, which I could already do, I now do more smoothly and stylishly.

8. In which areas do you wish you could improve?
I could go for it a bit more on the rails.

9. Did you ever surprise yourself last season?
In autumn I went onto a big kicker for the first time after my injury, on the Stubai Glacier. And I stuck my first attempt at a Double Cork 9 Blunt – a trick that I hadn’t done in five years! That was a real surprise.

Kai Mahler slopestyle at Stubai Gletscher
Kai Mahler back in action on the Stubai Glacier © Colin Frei/Red Bull Content Pool

10. How did you reward yourself this season – or is the big reward yet to come?
The biggest reward is to go riding with my friends after the contest season and just have fun. That’s all I need. This is also how I spend my vacation: riding with my friends and spending some time at home for a change.

11. What are you looking forward to most?
I’m a sports pupil at the Hotel Management School in Engelberg. This summer I’ll pass my final exams, and I’m looking forward to the moment when I’ll have that in my pocket. But I have to get into gear with my studies a bit now, because I travelled so much during the winter.

12. What are your goals for next season?
None yet. I need to take a break first, finish school, and then the next season will already be starting again. Then I’ll see which contests there are, which tricks the other riders are working on. And that’s when my new goals start to emerge.

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