The calm during the storm: The Frederik Kalbermatten Interview
Burton Snow Porn: Fredi Kalbermatten – Superspines
Words: Josh Ruggles
For over a decade Frederik Kalbermatten has dominated mountains from his hometown of Saas-Fee to Alaska and everywhere in between. The Swiss local is bordering on legendary levels of riding, but he would never tell you that. Known for his mellow approach to some of the least tame terrain known to snowboarders, Fredi casually shrugs off lines that leave others in awe.
Although he appears calm, Fredi approaches his passions with intense ferocity. From blasting silky smooth switch 9’s in no-mans land, to getting entire clubs in riotous harmony — Frederik Kalbermatten is anything but calm and quiet.
Where were you 10 years ago?
10 years ago I was in Valdez Alaska. It was my first time to AK
Where are you now?
I am in Haines Alaska and the conditions are pretty much all time.
What are you working on in AK?
Filming for the new Standard Film`s video, 2112.
What tricks have you been working on lately?
I landed a couple double corks; some are new tricks for me, so I am stoked. Since I am in Alaska right now I am focusing on riding big lines more, as well as reading the terrain.
Growing up in the Swiss Alps, has it always been about being on the mountain?
I grew up in the mountains, in a ski resort. I have been surrounded by mountains all my life, and yes.
Was there a conscious decision that you made to become a pro snowboarder?
Oh yes. By the mid 90’s snowboarding had hit Saas-Fee in a big way. There were summer camps on the glacier and all the pros came to ride Saas-Fee in the summer and fall. There was a good park and pipe, and it did not take me long to get hooked on snowboarding. I was 14 years old my first time on a board and by the age of 18, and after a lot of dedication to the sport, I was signed up by Burton Snowboards.
You have been with Burton since day one right?
Actually, my first sponsor was Santa Cruz. I got on Burton at the age of 18 and have been on Burton for 13 years.
Who inspires you the most on and off the mountain?
That can be different people for different reasons. I like watching Terje, Nicolas and Gigi snowboard and I look up to my friend DJ Stylewarz when he is making music.
So you DJ a lot, how did you get into that scene?
I started mixing back in 2005 when a friend of mine traded me his turntables for an old snowboard. I grew up listening to Rap music and was always inspired to mix my favorite tunes together.
In the beginning I spent my time spinning the typical underground and old school hip hop classics from the early and mid 90's in the legendary Popcorn Bar in Saas-Fee. As my experience evolved, I began exploring funk breaks, soul, reggae, dancehall, drum & base and dubstep. I also have a close friend, DJ Stylewarz, who I have learned some tricks from. We DJ together at parties a couple of times per year.
Currently are you more into doing gigs or snowboarding — is it simply a balance?
Well, snowboarding is my main focus for sure. But there is so much off time during summer and fall, which makes a pretty good balance. And I use the down days in winter to dig for new tunes on the World Wide Web.
How often do you get DJ gigs?
Quite often actually, and I have to cancel a bunch of gigs because I am so busy snowboarding during winter; which is good because I obviously love to shred and I haven’t reached the peak of my career yet.
I tour a bit around Switzerland and Europe playing at different clubs and parties when snowboarding isn't consuming me – mostly around the end of the season and especially in autumn as that’s when there’s a lot of parties going on. Nowadays, Serato (DJ software) has made it easier to travel and I can DJ pretty much anywhere on the globe. So far, outside of Europe, I have been DJing at clubs in New Zealand, Russia, New York and Seattle.
What is more rewarding? Getting props from a fan about snowboarding or having a club go crazy because of your DJing?
I like both, but when a club goes crazy it has more impact for sure because more people are stoked at the same time.
If you could choose any super power, what would it be?
Cat power [laughs]. I have two Cats, Sheriff and MIA, and they are so cool!