Pro of the Month: Eva
Our Pro of the Month column celebrates the remarkable individuals within The Pro Collective. Enjoy inspirational stories shared by your fellow mountain professionals and see how Faction Skis allow them to thrive on the front lines. To be featured as a Pro of the Month, or to nominate someone you know, fill out the form linked at the bottom of this page.
Our very first Pro of the Month is in fact not one, but two pros: the power couple, Eva Eskilsson & Wolfgang Huber. Hailing from Sweden and Austria, respectively, these IFMGA-certified mountain guides follow the snow from Chamonix in mid-winter to Northern Scandinavia in the spring, and way up to Svalbard—one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas—for the final turns of their season.
Read on to meet the adventurous duo; discover their backstory; learn about their go-to skiing equipment; and see how they get their kicks in the off-season.
Pro of the Month: Wolfgang
E: 38; W: 42
E & W: IFMGA Mountain Guides, owning and operating Mountain Spirit Guides
WHICH RESORT DO YOU TYPICALLY WORK OUT OF?
E & W: We travel to different places throughout the winter, visiting each of our favourite places in their prime season. From December to the beginning of March, we spend the majority of our time in Chamonix, with some shorter trips to Japan or Austria. At the beginning of March, we move our family to Lyngen until end of April. Lyngen has been our second home at that time of year for many seasons now and we really love it there. The month of May we spend in Svalbard, an island which sits between mainland Norway and the North Pole, and at the start of June it’s finally time to exchange our skis for climbing shoes.
WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL?
E & W: It’s about sharing adventures in the mountains with our clients. Finding good snow and good skiing is a big part of our work, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Understanding each client, what he or she wants to achieve and finding out what their dream adventure looks like is the first and most important step. Some of our clients are very strong skiers, which enables us to take them through some serious terrain – therefore, managing risk is a big part of our work. Other clients are not as strong skiers, but each client has something special they are looking for and it’s our job to make that happen.
Some clients are looking for a big challenge or to ski their dream run, others search for a day away from people, or simply want to learn about the mountains.
Many of our clients are regulars and have become friends over the years. There are so many clients that we very much look forward to guiding through the winter. A big part of our work lies on the administrative side of running a business, taking care of logistics and pairing clients with guides who work with our company: Mountain Spirit Guides.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS PROFESSION?
W: I didn’t find university very satisfying as spending my life indoors was rather difficult for me. During that time I took the entry exam of the mountain guide education, passed the exam and a very fun education followed. In 2001 I finished my guiding education. I was very young then but from the very start I loved working with people in the mountains and I still do today.
E: Before finishing university, I started working with Wolfgang, helping to manage and expand his guiding business. We had already spent many years exploring the mountains together all over the world. During the years that followed I spent most of my time skiing and climbing in the Alps. Starting and completing the mountain guide education became a natural progression for me. I already knew what the profession entailed, and that I would love my work. I became one of the first women in Sweden to complete the guiding education through the Swedish Mountain Guide Association and the IFMGA.
WHAT KIND OF SKIING DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
E: Finding the best snow and smoothest lines is usually the goal of my personal ski day — either a big-mountain line, or through deep snow in the larch tree forests.
The social part of skiing is important to me and I love sharing adventures with my friends. When skiing with other people who are also very experienced, group mentality can influence your judgement, therefore teamwork, communication and discipline are crucial to make safe decisions together. But this dynamic is still a refreshing change from when I’m at work and leading the group.
W: Ideally good snow and an aesthetic line on a beautiful mountain, or face shots in a steep forest. I like to ski fast and fluidly in steeper places, when the snow conditions permit. I enjoy the process of exploring mountains in great detail so that I learn about which weather conditions provide the best ski conditions for each place.
I really like looking at mountains and thinking that someday I will ski this exact line. But I am also open minded and rather than focusing on just one run when I start my day, I am happy to change plans and ski wherever we find the best snow and best conditions. Photography is another passion of mine and so I love taking pictures of the mountains and other people skiing.
WHAT SKIS DO YOU USE AT WORK?
E: Dictator 3.0. I find this ski perfect for what I am doing most days. I have also tried the new Agent 3.0 for ski touring this spring. This is a great option that doesn’t compromise the downhill performance but allows me to save on weight for the uphill.
W: Dictator 3.0 and Dictator 4.0 are my very favourites. I really love those skis. I have also really enjoyed touring on the 2021 Agent 3.0, which I got to try for the first time this spring.
WHAT SKIS DO YOU USE AT PLAY?
E: I still ski the Dictator 3.0 most of the time. I also have a Candide 4.0 that I bring out on the deep powder days. For bigger climbs, I take the Agent 3.0.
W: The Dictator 3.0 and 4.0 are the best skis I’ve ever skied on. For ski touring, the Agent 3.0 is a great option as it’s the same shape as the Dictator 3.0 but with a lighter core for climbing up.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IN THE OFF-SEASON?
E & W: Summertime is also a working season for us, we’re always busy guiding clients mountaineering and rock climbing. The off-season is normally autumn. We spend much of that time organising for the coming season: planning and developing our company through October and November. To spice up that shoulder season office work, we pursue our own climbing objectives, preferably in a warm place close to the sea or doing some nice multi-pitch climbing in the mountains.
WHAT BOOTS & BINDINGS DO YOU PAIR WITH YOUR AGENTS?
E: I want to have one boot for all the skiing that I do throughout the season. I have been experimenting with many different options without finding a perfect solution. Touring boots have always been tricky for me as I have such tiny feet. This season I’ve skied in the Atomic Hawx boot with an injection liner. The liner compromises the walk-mode, but really improves the skiing performance, and that is the most important thing for me. To have a fun and satisfying ski day, I must be able to ski at my best: fast and in control. Bindings are where I can save the most weight without compromising my skiing, and therefore I have Dynafit Superlite bindings on my touring skis. For lift-combined skiing I use the Atomic/Salomon MTN.
W: For skis and boots, I don’t like to compromise much when it comes to performance, but I also do not want my gear to be too heavy. I use Dynafit Hoji Free ski boots. The downhill is always the most important part of my ski day so I like to have a boot that skis well. I also like to use one boot for everything, from lift skiing to touring.
I have skied quite a few seasons on the Dynafit Superlite 2.0 bindings, and I have not had any problems. I also replace them each season, which I think is important when skiing on light bindings.
COVID ALTERED YOUR PLANS FOR WORKING AND SKIING THIS PAST SPRING, CAN YOU LET US KNOW HOW IT HAS BEEN TO BE STUCK IN NORWAY?
E: As long as travel restrictions remains in place there is very little work for us, which is a bit worrying. Almost none of our groups this spring could come to the north and we had many weeks of cancelations. I spend a massive amount of time in front of the computer negotiating cancelation fees with our logistic providers and finding suitable solutions for all of our groups that have not been able to come.
That said, I was also very lucky to be in a place where we still could go to the mountains and ski throughout this craziness and I felt very sorry for my friends in Chamonix who were locked up in their homes for two months. We were in a very isolated place and finding ski partners was not always an easy task. I made new friends but also spent a fair few days skiing alone. Even though we could not work, it still did not feel like a real vacation either. I was very glad to be with my family.
DESCRIBE THE MOST EXCITING LINE THAT YOU’VE SKIED THIS SPRING.
W: There were many very exciting days this spring. March was very stormy and we seldom saw the sun, but skiing in the south couloirs of Sultind and Storgalten was very memorable. I also got to ski a very nice line on Trolltinden, which is rare to find in such good conditions. There was a lot of exploration and probably some runs that had not been skied before, but that’s always hard to know and not so important for me.
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