Ueli Kestenholz

Ueli Kestenholz

First name: Ueli
Last name: Kestenholz
Home: Thun, Switzerland
Homeresort: Jungfrau-area
Snowboarding since: 1989
Year of birth: 1975
Favourite board: Cashew & Cashew-Split 167W Stance
Stance: Regular, 58cm, +21, -6
Best results:
> > X-Games Gold, Boarder-X 2003 & 2004
> > ISF-Worldchampion 2000 & 2001
> > Olympic Bronze Medal 1998
> > First Descents in Alaska since 1996
> > Speedriding First Descents in Switzerland
> > Own Movie's "Playgravity 1 & 2" 2007 & 2010

If I cash 1.000.000€ in the lottery then...
I would invest the money and continue living my dreams...

Your house is burning...
Get everybody out and if I really wanted to go grab some thing, I would try to save irreplaceable things such as hard drives with footage and photos...

An Affair to Remember...
Being a professional Snowboarder has allowed me to travel the world, meet great people, good Partys, ride amazing mountains - simply tons of great memories! If I have to choose one, I think discovering the true pioneers of snowboarding on a couple trips to Turkey is probably one of the most memorable things of my career!

What means snowboarding to you?
Freedom! It's simply a great way to surf down the mountain, like a (almost) never ending wave. I like it's creativity of drawing lines into untouched powder, using all kinds of terrain-features!

Has your life changed beeing a snowboard pro?

Of course, it's not just a job but a way of making a living through my passion!

What kind of rider are you?
I do like the diversity of snowboarding and therefore like riding all kinds of disciplines. But my true love is riding powder in the backcountry and big mountains. I usually ride directional Boards with some Setback but still centred enough to play around on slopes and ride switch...

What do you like most about Völkl Snowboards?
With their great Boardrange it's easy for any Rider to find a Board that suits his needs/style. With a smooth Rocker-Shape and slightly Convex Powder Base, the Freeride-Boards are very manoeuvrable but can still handle high speeds off-and on slope!

The place to be?
Alaska, it's unbeatable with it's countless steep runs and unique snowpack!

Your signature trick?
Big old Frontside-Powder-Spray! It just never gets old. It feels great coming in at super high speed, knowing the spot of the turn has the perfect powder to send a big curtain in the air...

What kind of style is up to date? What trick is done?.
I think after some years of bigger and more technical tricks it's time to come back to clean, stylish tricks, preferably using the natural terrain.
I've never been a big fan of city-rail-jibbing and Bomb-Drops into flats, but hey, as long as I don't have to do it, I could care less...

Which trick do you want to learn next?
Double-Cork, ok - just kidding...

How do you motivate yourself and learn new tricks?
In my case it's more about choosing challenging lines. I often try to start the day with some easier stuff to get a feeling for the snow and to feel comfortable. Before hitting a big, technical line I like to study it, take photos to look at on top and to go through the whole run mentally before hitting it.

You had any dangerous situations on the mountain so far?

On my AK-Trip last year I tumbled down a 60°+ face. My gut feeling told me it wasn't a good idea to ride this face but the beauty of it and the good snow-conditions made me try it. I knew there was a tight spot in the top section where I couldn't escape my own sluff. Trying to move through there quickly didn't work out and the sluff took me down...Always listen to you feeling, it's there for a reason!

Highlights of last season?
First highlight was the cold February with perfect snowconditions even at lower elevations, offering some great tree-runs. The second one was my Canada-Trip including a nice road-trip, and great conditions whether at the Ski-Resorts, hiking and at Cat- or Heliski-Operations...

Blue bird & perfect conditions – who should be in your riding crew?
My brother Reto. We each have our own projects and schedules and don't get to ride together often. But if we do, it's always fun and inspirational...

The best Snowboard trip ever was..
Maybe my first ever Alaska-Trip in 1996. This opened up a whole new world to me. I knew right then that I wanted more than being successfull at competitions but one day being able to focus 100% on freeriding which is what I'm doing now!

What stuff is in your backpack when you head up to ride or travel?
I'm now using the new DaKine-ABS-Backpack with a shovel and probe inside, water, food, extra layer clothes.

What is your favourite contest & why?

I've done so many contests in my life so right now, the only contests I would still do are some chilled Freeride-comps with no pressure...

What do you do when you are not riding?

I'm still riding Boards (Surf, Kiteboard, Skateboard) and I fly through the Sky (Skydive, Speedride, Wingsuit, Paraglide) and some Mountainbiking as well...

In five years I want...
Staying healthy and happy. Still riding challenging faces, there are still so many mountains to be ridden!


Snowboarding is fun, enjoy it but be smart and safe out there!