SVEN KUEENLE

The rider

Being a pro skier means you travel a lot, can you tell us about a travel experience?
I was like 19 years old when I traveled from Vancouver down to Mammoth for some spring skiing. I called up my team manager at the time to see if my sponsor would have an athlete apartment in Mammoth. He told me they don´t have a house anymore, but I should call Rory Silva or Chris Benchetler who were both in the same team, except that I have never met nor talked to neither one of them up until then. So there I am, this 19 year old german boy, calling some random skier guy, who I never talked to before. I called up Chris and Rory and told them that I was this skier kid from Germany who wants to come to Mammoth and needs a place to stay. Neither one was there at the time so Rory connected me with his friend Gustav. So I called up Gustav to tell him the same story. Gustav was like, " cool, just come to Mammoth and give me a shout when you are there". Sweet- I thought. SO I get on the plane and fly to Reno. When I got there I was trying to figure out how I would get to Mammoth while I was waiting for my bags. I looked up the bus schedule and had to realize that the next bus to Mammoth will leave in 3 days. In the meantime I also realized that my ski bag did not make it. In order to give the airline an address where they would ship my ski bag to, I needed to call Gustav to ask him for the address. It took me many tries to finally get an answer. Some guy answers the phone to tell me, that he has just found this phone in a bar. So, I didn´t have my ski bag, I didn´t have an address where I needed to go to and I also did not have a plan on how to even get the 3 hours drive to Mammoth. And it was 9 30 pm by now.
 After wondering around the airport for a while, I started asking people, who looked like snowboarders or skiers if they are on their way to Mammoth and if I could get a ride. I soon realized, that I need to expand my target to every person I can find. About an hour later I found myself in a family rental van with 4 kids and their parents.
Luckily my skibag didn´t make it because there would have been no way to make it fit. So there I am driving the 3 and some hours with a random family I just met, who payed for my food and didn´t even ask for gas money. When we finally got to Mammoth it was about 1 am. I still had no idea where I would have to go. But since I really didn´t want to bother the family any longer I told them to just drop me off at the first gas station. I have never been to Mammoth, not even California or the USA and obviously had no idea where I was. So i just started walking towards where I thought the town would be. The part of Mammoth I was in had barely any street lights and was really dark. I wondered around with my bag and felt pretty lost. This drunk guy, who came down the street must have thought so to and asked me what my story was and what I am doing here. I briefly explained him my dilemma. The guy was very helpful and told me to just come home with him. so, at about 1 30 pm I was at some random drunk person´s apartment and told him the story. When I told him, that I was supposed to stay with Gustav he said " I know Gustav, I just partied with him, he is in this bar, come on, I will bring you there". I wasn´t too sure about him wanting to drive me there but in the back of my head I just thought, it´s already a big adventure, what more would go wrong. Drunk guy went into the bar and came back with Gustav. Gustav gave me the key to his place and I could not believe that I have finally made it. Totally exhausted I went to sleep in this empty room, which had absolutely nothing in it but a air mattress.
The next day I was busy trying to get my ski bag. Nobody could really tell me where my ski bag was. Suddenly Gustav came home with my ski bag. I couldn´t believe that he had my ski bag. It appeared that Gustav saw this guy in a big van, who seemed to be lost and asked him what he is looking for. The driver told him the story and Gustav realized that the driver was trying to find me. So Gustav took the ski bag and brought it to his house. After two days of travel after effects I finally had all my stuff together and could go skiing.
 
 
What makes Legs Of Steel a unique and special movie project for you?
Legs Of Steel is a movie company which is 100 % riders driven. The 4 Innsbruck based skiers, Tobi Reindl, Paddy Graham, Thomas Hlawitschka and Bene Meyer decided to make a movie one day. Legs Of Steel´s first short movie was "The Pilot" and showed the fun in skiing and the good vibe among the crew. Legs Of Steel will start their third project this season. What makes it so unique and special for me is, that unlike most other ski movie companies LOS is 100 % riders driven, which means that sponsors are selected by the riders involved and not the other way around, where companies buy their athletes into the movie. This keeps Legs Of Steel the most fun and tightest crew to work with for me. It is a bunch of really good friends who create a project together. It is not about the individual athlete, there are no rider segments, it is about the crew and the whole team effort. I think this friendship and team effort is what makes it possible to come up with ideas like the final park segment in "Nothing Else Matters". I am really honored that I have become very close with Legs Of Steel and look forward to the season and our new project.
 
 
What is your favorite summer activity?
This summer was my first summer, that I really got into motorcycle races. It looks like I am officially hooked and I am afraid next summer will be even worse. I just love the speed and how close to the ground you get racing on the track.
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Name: Sven Kueenle
 
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