Pros & Profiles: Freeskier Dennis Ranalter
The first thing you’ll notice on freeskier Dennis Ranalter’s Instagram page is the sense of fun.
You’ll find a few still photos, but most of the posts are video clips of the skier, clad in a dark ski suit. They are short; most of them less than 20 seconds. Sometimes the soundscape consists merely of the raw sound of the wind and the slap of skis on snow. Sometimes, however, there’s a quirky musical soundtrack, such as some upbeat pop soul or even, memorably, the Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody.
There are backflips, big spins and mischievous smiles. No words, no explanations, no context just flowing skiing.
Of course, like all pro skiers, his list of sponsors is always carefully linked, but the videos themselves don’t feel like product placements, just little glimpses into a life where enjoying the mountains seems paramount.
The Flying Toddler
“All I wanted to do as a child was to go skiing, skiing, skiing,” remembers freeskier Dennis with a fond laugh, “I probably drove my mother crazy.”
She was probably slightly alarmed by his self-confessed propensity to climb up things and jump off them as a tot but I imagine she was relieved that by the age of three he was exhausting his energy by messing about in the great outdoors on skis.
Growing up in a small village in the Stubai Valley, surrounded by a theatre of snowy peaks, and with a snowboarding older brother to look after him, it was clearly the sanest thing to do.
Now skiing is his profession and he has 27,000 followers on Instagram. That’s a remarkable popularity for an athlete who never really hit the big time in competition freeskiing. In the FIS years, he has a few top ten places on the second tier Europa Cup to his name but in the main World Cup he never made the breakthrough.
“I never really wanted to be competing,” he told me, over a beer at a bar in his native Stubai valley, “and if your heart is not 100% into it, you can’t get good at it.”
Clearly rather than the judges it is the cameras that love Dennis Ranalter – and he loves them back. “For me skiing was all about getting out and filming. I grew up with that feeling. As a kid I watched all the ski movies I had maybe 200 times or more.”
Maybe that’s where his aesthetic sense was developed. He himself has no key to offer to unlock his social media presence. You have the feeling that Dennis goes with his instinct rather than any fix plan or sense of duty to his sponsors.
“I think my sponsors just want me to be myself,” he laughs, “and being yourself, well that’s an easy thing to be.”
A Wet Start
And if you want 27,000 followers, don’t worry if the beginnings of your Instagram career have been unspectacular. I can’t think of anything more mundane than one of Denis’s first post. It was, he remembers, a scene on a bus on a rainy day with a “crazy filter and the text saying it was rainy.”
There’s been an improvement in the output since and you can follow the season of a freeskier through the changing seasons from the hard snow on the glacier snow parks in the autumn to the fun to be found among the trees in the snowy depths of midwinter.
Spied through the eye provided by Ranalter’s Instagram world, the life of a professional skier looks like a jolly jape.
Does he ever worry about how long it will last or what happens afterwards? No, says Dennis, “I always think something will come up.”
Don’t worry. Be Happy.
Publiziert am 02.02.2019