10 Minutes with Mario Matt

STORY BY
Andy Butterworth
22nd October 2016

Mario Matt is widely considered to be one of the best slalom racers of all time. When you consider his 15 World Cup wins, two World Championship wins and his gold medal at Sochi 2014 (the oldest man to achieve such a feat in Alpine skiing), it’s easy to see why.

In 2009, Matt bought the world-famous après-ski bar, the Krazy Kangaruh, in his home town of St Anton.

Andy Butterworth from Kaluma Travel recently spent 10 minutes with ‘Der Arlberg Adler’ (The Arlberg Eagle) to find out more about this St Anton legend.

What age were you when you first started skiing? 

I was born in the Arlberg. So I was pretty much born on skis. I have skied all my life!

You’ve skied all over the world, but which resorts stand out for you?

I am very biased, I would have to say St Anton and the Arlberg is the best place to ski. In terms of racing, I would have to say my favourite race course was in Sochi.

Your racing career lasted over 15 years. What do you put that amazing longevity down to?

Hard work and training and always wanting to achieve more. I have always tried my best to stay in shape and continue to improve. You need to be strong to be a ski racer, so regular workouts even in the off-season were so important.

You’ve won Olympic and World titles, but what memory stands out best from your career?

Winning the world titles at such a young age was amazing and something I won’t ever forget. My greatest memory, was winning the gold in Sochi – such an amazing experience to finish my career!

Did you always think you would settle in St Anton?

Yes – I’m actually from Flirsch, just down the road. The Arlberg is my home.

How’s retirement?  Do you still find yourself racing gates in your sleep?  

No, not anymore. I enjoy the free time and skiing with my friends. And of course I love my new venture, the Krazy Kanguruh. I also breed and compete with horses and this is a real passion of mine.

What do you think it is about St Anton that makes it stand out as a world-class resort?  

The skiing is the best. Great off-piste, ski touring and lovely pistes as well. There is something for everyone in this resort, from beginners to extreme skiers. Outside of skiing, the après ski is legendary – and of course – we have the Krazy Kanguruh!

You once said that ‘For a perfect day, you need good après ski’. Is that what motivated you to buy the KK?  

I always loved the place. It’s such an iconic bar and the birthplace of après in the alps. A perfect day’s skiing should always finish with the perfect après ski. St Anton has both.

 

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