As far back as I can remember I have always been closely connected with snow and the mountains. I grew up in the Zillertal in a “ski family” – parents Ernst and Riki Spieß and brother Uli – and I have always been closely associated with ski instruction and ski racing. These are both facets of skiing that I took on very early on my career.
My penchant for movement on skis has taken me to many slopes around the world. I have gotten to know different ski cultures, different types of snow and characteristics of different types of ski. Especially the fast paced world of downhill racing has bewitched me – the speed that seems to stretch time.
However right from the beginning I could feel the seeds of protest growing within me. Especially with regard to the “established” methods of ski instruction for beginners as well as in high performance coaching. The pure joy of it, and my insatiable curiosity have led me to fundamentally reflect on the processes with the consequence that quite early on I left the path of classical skiing and of competitive sports to take a new tack.
I began to devote myself to the incredible lightness of the sport. The interplay with the snow, the ski edges and gravity, embodied in gentle gliding and the newly discovered feeling of awareness that sets in when the conditions are right.
My scepticism towards established concepts has been reinforced both through teaching skiing as well as in my experience of ski product development. I have discovered and learned a lot, which has confirmed approach. But above all my experiences have inspired and encouraged me to continue to search for new approaches and to be open for them.
Nicola Werdenigg has turned her passion for skiing into her profession. In 1975 she won the Austrian downhill championships under her maiden name Nicola Spieß. In 1976 she finished fourth in the Olympic downhill in Innsbruck and achieved the third place in the overall downhill world cup in the same year. She is a graduate of the ski sport college Stams and was a member of the Austrian Ski Team for six years.
At the young age of twenty Nicola left the World Cup ski circuit because she was more intrigued to find out about the deeper connections between human beings and their mobility on the snow. Since that moment she usually has given her clients the right of way as ski instructor – to track down what they really need. However, there have been times when she could not be stopped to be first in line: she was the first woman allowed to take the Austrian ski guide exam.
She was also among the first in the “inner circle of movement”, who were involved in the development of the carving style in skiing in the early 1990ies. In 2004 she founded a company in Vienna together with her husband, under the motto – wise, wiser, edelwiser. Among other tasks her focus was on ski developement.
She likes to swing down the numerous beautiful slopes all over the Alps always on the lookout for the best conditions. And accompanied by world cup stars and their coaches, ski instructors or absolute beginners, who all belong to her clientele. She also likes to surf the internet where she has found her professional niche. She has her very own website “Kunstpiste” and writes articles for other online media like standard.at, where she contributes a column called “Innenski”. Her topics are turns, snow and people. And like in skiing her style is usually cheerfully buoyant but if necessary her edges are razor-sharp.
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