22 Summits Stories

Interview with the local freerider Sam Anthamatten

How many times have you climbed the Weisshorn and skied down as a freerider?

That's easy to say: I've been up five times on foot and once by helicopter to film "Treffpunkt Gipfelkreuz". This year I skied the north face of the Weisshorn with the freerider Jéremie Heitz.

How long does it take to get to the top and how long does it take to ski down?

The ascent from the Weisshorn hut takes 4.5 to 5 hours on skis. The descent takes 1 minute and 50 seconds with one stop.

It's like falling or flying!

That is our vision. The Weisshorn north face was already skied at the end of the 70s, beginning of the 80s. We give the descent a different touch, ski it in freeride style: more dynamic, big turns, beautiful lines. In the past, steep skiing was done in difficult conditions. We always look to catch the perfect day when the avalanche danger is low, with good snow on the wall. Then you can ski more smoothly. It also looks better for filming than sliding down there.

Is there anything else special that you experienced on the Weisshorn?

When we were filming on the Weisshorn north ridge, we caught up with two alpinists. It was special: they roped up and rappelled off again. We went on ahead of them and suddenly one of them was gone. Crashed. We called the rescue. These are key experiences. It happens again and again. That's why I go more carefully into the mountains, but I don't stop because of that.


As a freerider, you skied down the Breithorn north face, the Matterhorn east face and the Weisshorn north and south faces. Most of that was a long time ago. Are these walks for you today?

Certainly not. Every descent is planned as well as possible so that the risk is as small as possible. I must have climbed the north face of the Breithorn about twenty times on different lines. It always excites me to go there again. But in steep face skiing, the right conditions are the be-all and end-all. It takes time, patience, experience to be there on the right day.

Have you been able to add more walls in Zermatt to your list in the meantime?

I have skied almost all the walls in the area except Dent Blanche and Obergabelhorn. For freeriders, it's like this: steep wall descents have been around since the 70s. It may sound extraordinary when you hear: "Sam Anthamatten has skied down the Matterhorn East Face!", but anyone who knows the ropes knows: that's nothing special. Three or four people do it every year.

Are you actually still at home a lot? You live from freeriding and many projects are carried out worldwide.

Yes, sure, I'm in Zermatt a lot. Usually it's like this: every winter there's a big project that lasts a few weeks, and then two or three smaller ones from January to March.

Do you like your life as a professional freerider?

It's brilliant and very nice because I can travel a lot. I am very grateful for these experiences. But the important thing is a good base, a place where you can come home and be normal. Where friends bring you back down to earth.

White Frontier beer

Since February 2019, Sam Anthamatten has collaborated with Whitefontier to release his signature beer, which is also sold in our Bar 22.

@samanthamatten on Instagram /Sam Anthamatten on Facebook