• 12/4/2014

Winter Universiade in Granada:

Gold for Freestyle-skier Fabian Braitsch

Gold in Granada: If this makes you think of holidays and sunsets, you’re wrong in this case. A few days ago, the world’s University Games, the Winter Universiade, took place near the Andalusian city. TUM student Fabian Braitsch won the gold medal in Slopestyle-skiing. TUMstudinews reporter Verena Pongratz asked him a few questions about his exciting sport.

Victory in Spain: TUM student Fabian Braitsch wins gold in the “Slopestyle”-contest at the Winter Universiade (here with Stefanie Mössler). (Photo: Tanja Swietli, Unisport Austria)
Victory in Spain: TUM student Fabian Braitsch wins gold in the “Slopestyle”-contest at the Winter Universiade (here with Stefanie Mössler). (Photo: Tanja Swietli, Unisport Austria)

How come you are a TUM-student in Munich?

A good friend of mine is a Master’s student of TUM-BWL. He was always very enthusiastic about studying in Munich. Since I visited a technical school and have always been technologically adept, the course of studies just seemed to fit. At first, I had thought of Innsbruck because it’s so close to the mountains – but the good reputation and the TUM’s willingness to support athletes quickly convinced me that I wanted to study in Munich.

How do you manage to balance your studies and the sport?

Unfortunately, I missed three tests while I was at the Universiade. I wrote one test right the next morning after I was back from Granada. There will be one more next week and there’s an alternative date for a test I missed at the beginning of April. You have to be organized. Also, I don’t think I’ll manage to complete the Bachelor’s degree in six semesters, but many others don’t either.

When did you start Slopestyle-skiing?

This is now my seventh season. I used to take part in races and was at a skiing-school. When I was 13 years old, I took part in a shooting for Head. As a reward, they gave me a set of freestyle-skis. A friend of mine asked me what I wanted to do with it, as I didn’t really know how to use it. That’s what motivated me – and after one and a half years, I enjoyed freestyle-skiing so much that I decided to quit racing.

What is so special about this sport?

The focus is mainly on the fun. There are no tight structures and you don’t have to train in the ski club all the time. You simply go out skiing with your friends and have fun, which you could also notice at the Universiade. We kept giving each other high fives and congratulated each other on a good “run”.

What is Slopestyle exactly?

You ski through a special course with rails and kickers. You can choose your route freely and do whatever tricks you want to do. Then, the tricks are judged based on difficulty, creativity and the flow – not the time.

Did you expect that you would do so well at the Universiade?

Honestly, I was surprised that it went so well. Especially since I had torn my ACL in March last year and could thus no longer go skiing. Ultimately, there are always times when everything works out and times when things don’t go so well.

What was the atmosphere like at the venue?

Granada is really a beautiful city in which you can go out to party and enjoy good food. The proximity to the ski resort is ideal. I was really impressed by how professionally the whole event was organized, almost like Youth Olympics. There was a live ticker, an App, taxis for each country and the event even has its own mascot. Fortunately, there was no Olympic Village, because we couldn’t have smuggled any alcohol inside. (laughs)

What are your goals for the future?

The 2018 Olympics, of course – for which I need to reach the Top 30 of the world. But I will also participate in many small contests and make more movies and photos. Of course, one of my goals is to take part in the European and the World Cups. But above all, I don’t want to lose the fun of it and enjoy skiing even if things don’t work out too well at competitions. It’s important to me that I keep up with my studies.

Fabian Braitsch (22) – who is from Vorarlberg – is in his first semester of TUM-BWL. This year, the Nordic disciplines of the Universiade, such as cross-country skiing and biathlon, took place in Slovakia – and the disciplines of alpine skiing, snowboard, freestyle, curling, figure skating, speed skating, ice hockey and ski jumping took place in Granada/Spain from February 4 to 14. Every team took part in the Universiade with the country’s top athletes. Svenja Redeker (19), who is a student of Health Science at TUM, reached the 7th place in mogul skiing. 39 nations were represented, all in all.

More information:
Website Fabian Braitsch
Fabian Braitsch on facebook

Technical University of Munich

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