Name: Marco ‘Fichtl’ Feichtner
Sponsors: Ride, 686, Level, Coal, Deeluxe, Electric, Slytech, Power balance, Clast, Sajas Skate & Snow shop and Pirates
Stance: Goofy +15, -12
Home Mountain: Montafon
Marco putting in the hard yards. He has worked his Austrian ass off to get to where he is. Pic: Ludschi
Hey Marco, How are you? Where are you at the moment?
Hi Chriso. I am fine thanks! I am back home in Montafon now. I have just come back from a short wellness and snowboard trip with my girlfriend. We stayed at Werni Stock’s hotel in Hintertux (Hotel Bergfried). I had an amazing time on the mountain and in the hotel. I had a few mellow months this summer as well as some hectic months. I was twice at the beach, once in Portugal for a week and another week in France. I trained a lot over the summer (biking, lot’s of moto-X and climbing) to get my body in a good shape for the new season. Also every summer I try to help my parents out as much as possible. I bought a Harley Davidison motorbike this year which was a life dream. I had some good times on the bike over the summer. I also had to organize the new season contracts, but all in all it was a great summer.
When and how did you first get into snowboarding?
I started snowboarding in 1993 in the backyard of my parents house after I saw some snowboarding magazines. It got me super excited to try it and couldn’t wait. I haven’t stopped since.
Marco sending a monster Bs 5 Indy off this slab. Pic: Ludschi
What age did you get sponsored and how did it happen?
I think I got sponsored at the age of 14. I got sponsored because of Ludschi (Art director of the Pirates). He introduced me to a local snowboard shop called Hotshop, now the shop is called Sajas. I got my first free stuff there; boards, clothing and goggles. Good times!
And this led to you being introduced to the Pirates crew in 2003, your first filming production company, how was that year filming?
When I finished my apprenticeship I got a call from Ludschi asking if I wanted to come on a snowboarding trip to Scandinavia. The crew was Basti, Flo, Ludschi (the brains of the Pirates) Bugs and Gigi. Of course, I said yes. Up in Scandyland we met Björn Hartweger and Jonte Edvinson. We shot some action in 8mm for the first Pirates movie. After 5 weeks of traveling we had some cool Pirate moments and I think that was the begining of the Pirates project! The Pirate concept was that we wanted to start something different because at that time it was not easy to grow in the snowboarding scene as a European rider. One year after that trip the first Pirate movie came out called Shoot Your Friends. For me it was a dream come true! I grew up in a small village and up until then I didn’t really have the chance to travel around the world, but with the help of the Pirates I got out. Everything was a new experience for me, filming, different countries and new sponsors. Without the Pirates I never would lived my life as a snowboard pro.
Marco is a true Pirate. Stylish front 5. Aaarrrgggghhh! Pic: Ludschi
Then you featured in Method TV in 2004 as a Fresh Meat?
I was so stoked when I got my first shots in Method Mag. I always wanted to become a professional snowboarder. I was young and trying to explain to my parents that I wanted to become a pro snowboarder. It wasn’t easy, especially if you grow up in a working village like I did. I had a deal with my parents. First, I had to finish my apprenticeship and then I could do what I wanted. I would say I gained a lot of respect from my parents because I worked so hard for my dream and now they are really stoked about what I am doing. I wouldn’t say I had it easy in my career though.
At this stage how important did you think competing was? This was the time when Nico Müller, Gigi, Fredi Kalbermatten were really blowing up? What were your thoughts?
I never really competed. I did some contests in China, Japan and Europe but I never got into the whole contest riding and when I did do one I always ended up gehurt. Filming with the Pirates and with my riding style somehow my sponsors never really pushed me in the direction of competitions. I always looked up to Nico, Gigi and Fredi and tonnes of other riders and I still do, the only difference now is I have met most of them and also got the chance to snowboarded with them. They still push me the same way as they pushed me when I saw them in the magazines or in videos in the early days but they are normal people just like you and me.
Fichtl huge Cab 5 in Montafon. Fuck competitions! Pic: Ludschi
Coming from Austria, having a winter playground in your backyard must of been great, how did you find traveling overseas to go snowboarding?
Growing up in the Alps is the best! I have a 5 minute walk to the gondola station and 10 minutes with the car to two other ski resorts. For sure, in this case I am super spoiled. If the winter is good in Europe you don’t need to travel around the world because you have everything in front of your door. Although for different stories you need to get out of your country, not only for coverage but it’s important for growing in life and in snowboarding. Four years ago I changed my view on traveling. I missed lots of stuff because I stayed in my home place. When we started with the Pirates we always got a flat in Montafon and there was no need for me to travel around. Now I know that I missed some parts of being a pro from not traveling. One example is my English. In the beginning I had a super hard time since I didn’t travel. Life is here for learning. I had the chance to travel to China, Japan, US, Canada, Russia and all over Europe. I never traveled with the same crew so I ended up growing as a snowboarder and a person. But in the end home is home for me!
What are the best things about being Austrian?
Wow, good question. I would say the mountains, a big thing in Austria is our lifestyle. We can drink the water out of the taps, great healthcare system, good air, there are a lot of positive things. Most of the people in Austria have a really good life and they don’t even know how good they actually have it.
All Austrian steeze. Switch Back 1 in the home turf. Pic: Ludschi
You have had crazy amounts of media coverage over the years, how difficult is it to stay on top of a congested list of snowboarders these days?
Well, you know how the industry runs! This year I experienced it more than previous years. Lucky for me that I got the cover of the new Pirate dvd and they are doing a big promotion with that shot. Also I got a lot of ads from my sponsors. Without these things my coverage would look different. If you are not in the competition scene you need to get coverage in mags to bring your name out. I never expected that I would get so far with my snowboarding, everything I get is a highlight for me. I got a interview with Method Mag, MBM, Onboard, Playboard, Doski Mag (Russia), shots in a Chinese mag and some shots in US and Japanese mags. I also got my pro-model boot “the Deeluxe id Fichtl”. Last year I had signature clothing with 686 and next year you can find a MF glove and a Marco Feichtner signature goggle. I am so happy how everything turned out!
You also filmed for Absinthe Films, how were those times?
I filmed for two years with Absinthe films. I had some good moments and some not-so-good moments. The good moments were that I found some new friends, traveled to new spots and got the chance to ride in Alaska. The not-so-good moments were that I expected more outcome from the time with Absinthe. But that’s life and I have no regrets.
One of the good moments! Front 7 melon. Pic: Ludschi
Then you continued filming for Pirates for the next 6 years, how do you still manage to get creative and how hard is it to log a legit film part each year?
As I said before without the Pirates I would of never become a snowboard pro and I feel so good when I am with that film crew. You have to step it up every year because the other riders are doing it and you have to show your sponsors that you deserve the support and the money you get, but honestly I just like to push myself.
You scored the ender in this year Pirates movie “Bottom Line” How stoked were you?
I am so stoked! I really needed a solid part for my future in snowboarding, basically so that my dream stays like this for some more years. My last season was super painful because I got hurt three times. I stayed one and half months in the US and I got super lucky with snow and the weather but I got injured at the end of that trip. I came back home in the middle of Feburary to recover then went for 5 days shooting in Montafon with Werni and got hurt a second time. I had another few weeks on the couch and after this I shot some stuff with Gigi and on the third day I slamed super bad on my neck and my season was over and it was only the second to last week of March. So I am so stoked how everything turned out.
The bottom line is Fichtl is an Austrian ripper. Front 3 staley. Pic: Ludschi
What are going to be your plans for this year and where do you want to try and take your snowboarding?
I would love to film again with the Pirates. Traveling plans nowadays depends on the snow conditions. I am always trying to be where the best snow is. I think if my body holds up and my sponsors are stoked I can continue doing this for the next couple years, but I already have some plans for after snowboarding.
Which young Austrian kids should we keep an eye out for this year?
You should keep a eye on the Djudes crew (Werni, Peter, Mario, Benni, Klocker, etc) Also Sebi Muller, these are the guys I know but there are for sure some other outstanding young riders in Austria.
Thanks Marco, Shout-outs?
Method, family, friends and sponsors. Thank you so much for everything!
Danke Fichtl. Macht’s gute! Pic: Ludschi
Big thanks to Ludschi for all the sick shred pics. Check out his blog here
Follow Marco on his travels at www.marcofeichtner.com
Check out the new Pitate’s film Bottom line here or the bookDvd where Marco also has engravings in there: https://www.pirate-movie-production.com/products/bottom-line-dvd-artbook