From X Games to the Backcountry: The Benedikt Mayr Profile

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The Bene Mayr Profile

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Freeskier Magazine. For more from this issue make sure to pick up a copy at your local newsstand.

Words by: Shay Williams
Photos: Nate Abbott

Who is Benedikt Mayr? Literally, he’s a laughable, likable and unassuming kid who loves to ski. But more symbolically, Bene is a representation of the change that is going through freeskiing. Hailing from Germany (and skiing in Austria), Bene said “nein” to the status quo of racing to pursue freeskiing years ago, as so many youngsters are nowadays. But rather than becoming a park rat, where he’d no doubt be successful, Bene is — please excuse the cliché — taking his park tricks to the backcountry. Joining a small, yet elite corps of skiers who aren’t afraid to bring double flips to the backcountry, Bene is casting the mold for pros. One week he’s at X Games, the next he’s in St. Anton pushing the envelope of the sport. Freeskiing had better get ready because Bene is ready to make his mark.

FS: You’re from Germany… I can’t believe the elders let you stop ski racing to freeski. Isn’t that illegal there?

It wasn’t that easy. It took me a while until I didn’t have to make turns around gates anymore, but I got lucky and joined the mogul team, which led me in to freeskiing. So a pretty classy ski background, I guess.

Austria. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Be honest.

In America, no one even knows where it is. Definitely thumbs up. Austria might be a small country but it definitely is the place where skiing was born [laughs]. The mountains are awesome and all the American ski race teams train in Austria. And the girls are pretty cute, too.

You’ve been called one of the best backcountry jumpers in the game. How is that working out for you?

Well, I am not sure if I can take that; I don’t know. For me it works pretty good landing in powder. It feels awesome and natural to me, it’s hard to explain. Tyler Hamlet from PBP always talks about ‘landing gear.’ I still don’t know what that is, so I just said yes all the time.


You went on a trip with vets Simon Dumont, TJ Schiller and Jossi Wells. Intimidated or stoked? Or both?

We’ll if I say I wasn’t intimidated in the first place, I would probably be lying. At the same time, I was super stoked. All of them are amazing skiers and you can learn a lot from everybody you ski with, especially if they push the boundaries of skiing like Simon, Jossi and TJ. We had an amazing, super fun time. And one of the best backcountry jump sessions ever.

Last year was your first year at X Games. Will that be a stepping stone for competitive-slopestyle Bene?

X Games was an awesome experience, the whole week there was amazing for me. I’m really going to try to get more in to competitions and be better prepared for them, which wasn’t the case this year. There was a lot of powder, which kept me in the backcountry. But there could be a competitive-slopestyle Bene in the future.

Are you going to get over to North America more next year?

Yeah, for sure! I’ll do pre-season in Breckenridge, hang out at Woodward for a bit and do the Dew Tour there. Then I guess I’ll see where the snow is falling and head out into the backcountry. Of course, I would love to do X Games, I hope they would like to have a German competitor.

For more of the October Issue of Freeskier. Click the Cover!