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Freeskiing

Go behind the scenes of Markus Eder’s Ultimate Run

Armed with once-in-a-lifetime snow conditions, an all-star crew and full creative freedom, discover how freeskier Markus Eder completed his ultimate run.
By Alastair Spriggs
5 min readPublished on
Over the past two seasons, Italian freeskier Markus Eder set his sights on a seemingly impossible goal – to push the boundaries of three freeski disciplines in one ultimate top-to-bottom run.
The result is The Ultimate Run: a near-perfect ride, where the former Freeride World Tour champ takes us from the high peaks of Zermatt, Switzerland, to the valley bottom of Luttach, Italy, in a display of cinematic excellence and ski mastery.
Go behind the scenes with Markus in the player above and scroll down to read the full interview about the project.
Markus Eder performs at Ridnaun Mining Museum, South Tyrol, Italy on January 28, 2021.
Eder found 'urban Mecca' in this mining town

How did the Ultimate Run come about and what inspired the project?

Markus Eder: I’ve been dreaming of the idea for a long time and even attempted the project in 2015, but I dislocated my shoulder on the first shot – ever since the run has stuck in my head. After winning the Freeride World Tour in 2019, I approached the guys from Legs of Steel media and they were on board right away. From then on, it wasn’t just my project, it was our project.

I’ve always dreamt of finally showcasing all my skiing in one big flowy project. I love riding every discipline, so the ultimate run allowed me to bring it all together.

From mountain peaks to mining towns, the film covers a lot of different styles of terrain. How did you narrow down the spots included in the film?

I’ve envisioned myself riding the castle, as well as my line through Klausberg, for some time now. My dad was actually born in that castle, and I learnt how to ski at Klausberg, so those two spots were extra special.

Most of the other spots revealed themselves. When I was searching for urban features, I stumbled across the mining town on Google street view – which was only an hour drive from my hometown. Finding that urban Mecca was the biggest reveal I’ve had in a while.

Finding that urban Mecca was the biggest reveal I’ve had in a while

It looks like the huge variety of features and terrain helped you envision some unique trickery. Which trick has the best story behind it?

The backflip out of the truck was a funny one. My friend Tofi used a truck from his construction company and the only times I had enough momentum to actually land the trick was when he crashed into the icy wall. He’d have to break late and run right into the wall… The truck was pretty banged up in the end.

Completing the long rail at Klausberg was also a huge hassle, as it took over 200 attempts.

What about that massive 360 send in Zermatt?

I wanted to do a huge air. It didn’t matter how much I back slapped, I just needed a huge air and the gap on Zermatt was perfect. Throughout the season, most of my tricks worked out smoothly. So when we arrived in Zermatt, I went straight into the massive send with no warm-up, but this time it didn’t go as planned. I misjudged the direction of the takeoff and kept landing in a sketchy area full of ice chunks below. It was super embarrassing.

I can usually judge what I can and can’t do, but this spot got the best of me.

Markus Eder building the final piece of the challenge rail in Klausberg ski resort, Italy on August 20, 2020.
Eder puts the final touches to that rail in Klausberg Ski Resort

How did you deal with the pressure that comes with filming a two-year, personal project?

Since all the ideas came from my head and we assembled an all-star film crew, it placed a lot of pressure on my shoulders, which meant I couldn’t get hurt. Every shot had to line up with the next and an injury would derail the entire project.

Usually, you try to land a few bangers on each feature. This time, I’d test the feature, try a difficult trick, hopefully, land it, then wrap up the session. There are many shots that I could have done better, but in the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t push myself unnecessarily because I had to stay healthy.

As a veteran of competition riding and filming alongside larger crews, was it tough being the only skier in the spotlight?

The greatest challenge – but also the coolest part – of the project was that I was the only skier involved.

When filming with a big crew, you’re making decisions together, riding together and struggling together. But this time around, I was having these experiences solo and it was hard to overcome mentally. I learnt that riding a scary rail is much easier when among fellow skiers who are also sending.

I’m looking forward to getting back out there with a crew rather than isolating myself on a very personal project.

Markus Eder about to build up speed for a feature in an ancient castle using an electric winch – in Taufers Castle, Sand in Taufers, Italy on February 21, 2021.
Building up speed with a winch
I’ve always dreamed about assembling a crew to make this vision a reality

The run covers all styles of freeskiing at the highest level possible. How did you stay motivated while transitioning between disciplines?

When I push myself in the backcountry for a month, I can’t wait to push myself in the park the next. I get fired up to do all skiing styles, so when I get bored of one, I’ll transition straight into another. I think that’s the secret to maintaining all my skiing abilities at such a high level. Usually, a rider will transition from the park to the backcountry and ride pow for the rest of their career. But the park is way too sick not to shred. I’ll be riding it forever.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about the project?

I’m most proud that over 80 percent of the segment was filmed in my home region around Luttach, Italy and the majority of that was filmed at my home resort of Klausberg. We don’t traditionally get snow, so we were really lucky to pull it off. In our initial planning, we never imagined filming it in one region. I’m happy to say that everything aligned perfectly.

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