A fearless freeride skier and a fully qualified mountain guide, Sam is uniting his twin passions for skiing and alpinism to create unique adventure expeditions on big mountains around the world. His ambition is to explore high-altitude locations and test his skills on steep slopes everywhere from Bolivia to Nepal. It is in these extreme environments where he feels the greatest sense of adventure. He likes embracing the conflicting feelings of being in control of his actions but also having to front up to the unexpected challenges of nature.
Date of birth: 28th Sep 1986
Favourite Book: The Stonemasters
Favourite Movie: The Blues Brothers
Favourite Meal: Salmon steak with rice and spinach
Favourite Music: Wolfmother, Led Zeppelin, Rammstein, Stiller Has…
Best advice: You cannot control everything so listen to your gut feeling.
What inspires you? Intense challenges
Words to live by: Do what you want, but do it right!
Favourite fitness exercise: Trail running and mountain biking
Growing up in Zermatt, Switzerland, he learned to ski at a young age with his older brothers Simon and Martin, but unlike the other kids he always wanted to venture off-piste. This spirit of adventure soon led him into the world of mountain climbing. As a boy his heroes were alpinists like Erhard Loretan and Walter Bonatti as well as extreme ski legends like Heini Holzer and Sylvain Saudan.
After a period spent focusing on alpinism, he has now ascended the Matterhorn over 40 times and climbed peaks around the world from Yosemite to Patagonia. A highlight was his daring first ascent of the south face of Jasemba (7350m) in the Himalayas in 2009.
In 2009 he shifted his focus to freeriding, in search of a new challenge. He says joining the Freeride World Tour was the real game-changer, helping him to sharpen his skills and focus his mind. In 2011 he finished second overall and he continues to compete today. However, his goal is to combine his freeriding skills with his love of alpinism by ascending difficult peaks with his sleeping bag and tent and finding new lines to ski down the mountains. Instead of taking hard lines down easier mountains, like in competitions, he prefers the adventure of taking simpler lines down bigger and harder mountains.
In the future he wants to push his projects further to see how he can combine his two passions in exciting new ways. He is happiest when looking at maps and finding new destinations to explore with expedition-style skiing trips. Keen to return to Bolivia, Peru and Japan, he is also determined to seek out original adventures in the Himalayas where the high mountains and extreme terrain offer some of the purest ski adventures on the planet.