PRO OF THE MONTH: OCTOBER '21
POTM OCTOBER: JAKUB HANZLÍČEK
21|22 October Pro of the Month : Jakub Hanzlíček
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 here.
Jakub Hanzlíček, is a snow park shaper for Shape Academy and is our October Pro of the Month. Growing up and working in the Czech Republic, Jakub took his career to the mountains to pursue his passion. He sums up his job on the mountain, experiences over the past season and gear of choice to shred the mountain.
WHAT'S YOUR JOB ON THE MOUNTAIN? AND WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL?
I am a snow park shaper for Shape Academy. My job is to build and take care of the snow park.
Behind the ski jumps and many features of the snow park, are the daily efforts of a team of shapers, supported by snowcat drivers and snowmakers to ensure the best riding conditions. Before the upcoming winter season, I have to decide where I would like to work. I always choose between Austria and Switzerland.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS PROFESSION?
I grew up as a ski racer in our small village of Pec pod Sněžkou in the Czech Republic. My parents didn't have enough money to buy me new equipment every season, but I was glad I could still be with my friends on the slopes. When I was 15, I decided to stop downhill racing. I worked with my dad in the kitchen all summer and used my paycheck to buy my first pair of freestyle skis. It was one of my best life decisions and freeskiing became a lifestyle for me.
For many years I worked as a ski and freestyle instructor. There I tried the work of a shaper for the first time, but at the time, it never occurred to me that I could ever make a living out of it. I had a pretty normal job, an apartment, and a girlfriend in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately (now, thank God), everything went wrong, and as they say: "one minute you're up and the next you're down" and at the time I was at the bottom. My family and friends helped me a lot and I started planning with a calm head what to do next. I wanted to work in the mountains and found a job at Hintertux resort. That was probably the second best decision of my life. I really enjoyed the work and thanks to my job I visited and saw a lot of places and I hope that there will be a lot more.
WHAT ARE THE ASPECTS OF YOUR JOB THAT MAKE YOU FEEL PROUD TO WORK IN THIS ROLE, AND IN THIS INDUSTRY?
I really enjoy every day in the mountains. It's great to explore new places every season and meet new people. It's a joy to be the first and last person on the slope each day. I'm happy when we have the perfect park and people love it. I am glad that I can pass on my experiences and motivate other people not to be afraid to make a life change.
DO YOU HAVE ONE OR TWO SHORT STORIES TO DEMONSTRATE HAPPY OR NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS ON THE JOB?
My friends Fabian, Lara and Julika from Germany decided to visit me despite strict restrictions. I counted down the days and looked forward to them coming. The first day when they arrived we went skiing right away, and I showed them the whole ski resort. I worked in the afternoon and they stayed and waited for me until I finished for the day. When I finished, we sat side by side on the rail, opened a couple of beers and enjoyed the view of the Matterhorn.
Suddenly, every day was amazing. Every day Fabi helped me open the snow park, the girls would make some snacks and come to find us a bit later. One day we built a backcountry line together and rode it for another three days. This happy week was full of shaping, riding, beautiful weather, crashes, German swearing, laughing and cooking. The best week of the whole season.
WHAT DO YOU SKI ON AT WORK?
WHAT DO YOU SKI ON "AT PLAY"?
WHAT KIND OF SKIING DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
I like to ride with my friends all day long in the snow park. When fresh snow falls, we build various backcountry features and ride the powder. If I ski alone I like to cruise the piste, riding switch and improving my skills and style. I like to finish off the day with a barbecue in the snow park with my homies.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK DURING THE OFF-SEASON?
I return to my hometown for the summer. For the last two years I have been working as a porter at a hotel. I park cars for guests, fix broken things and sometimes I help at the bar. I have a lot of days off and I enjoy spending time with friends I haven't seen all winter.
LASTLY, WHAT SUMMER SPORTS ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
In the summer I’m always in the mountains! Most often I hike alone on the peaks and enjoy nature. Sometimes I take a longboard and go for a ride. I like mountain biking and running. But no matter where I want to go, it's always uphill.