The region of South Tyrol, already well known for producing world-renowned skiers, now holds the rare distinction of harboring two concurrent Skiers of the Year. Markus Eder, 28, from the valley of Ahrntal, and Arianna Tricomi, 26, of Alta Badia, are the winners of the 2018 European Skier of the Year poll presented by Monster Energy.
The winner of the first ESOTY poll back in 2014, Markus Eder has grown from a head-turning grom crazy about skiing into a head-turning man, still just as crazy about skiing. Even while making a name for himself in slopestyle and competing in the Olympics, Markus was branching out as a skier, filming banger segments with Matchstick Productions while seamlessly switching gears to freeride competition.
Markus is already something of a Freeride World Tour veteran—he’s been on the tour since 2013, but took last year off to film. This year, his freestyle game augmented by a growing depth of big-mountain awareness, Markus climbed to the highest he’s been yet on the Tour totem pole with a second overall ranking. That was due in large part to an awesome run at the final stop in Verbier, where he linked up a 360 into a nose-butter 360 and, for a few brief moments, made the imposing flanks of the Bec des Rosses look like a playground.
Photo: Tero Repo
Markus´ 3rd-place run at the 2018 Verbier Xtreme.
Even while competing at the highest level, in 2018 Markus found time to film for no less than three separate projects: the Stelvio Pass Road Gaps and the short “Alptopia” on his home turf in Italy, and a short-but-sweet appearance in Matchstick’s new film “Hoji,” where he gets a big shoutout for being “the future.” We’re here to tell you: Markus Eder is the now.
Switch 5. Photo: Daniele Molineris/Red Bull
Hailing from a from a few valleys to the south, in the heart of the Dolomites, Arianna Tricomi speaks at least four tongues fluently, but speaks most of all with her skiing. Like Markus, she went from cruising slopestyle courses to navigating freeride lines, working her way up the Freeride World Tour ranks. In 2018 she knocked out three straight wins to claim the overall title, and put down the first 360 in a women’s ski FWT event along the way.
Despite her new clout as world champion, Arianna doesn’t fully fit the “freeride” label. She is just as apt to be found lapping the park or building backcountry booters, looking for playful hits and looking at the mountain from a freestyle-informed angle. Her own 2018 video project “La Luce Infinita,” filmed in May during a laid-back soul-shred trip with her crew to Norway, shows off that side of Ari’s skiing and some of her shred pals who inspire it.
Photo: Dom Daher/FWT
"La Luce Infinita" from Arianna Tricomi & Troublehaus
Arianna and Markus won the poll ahead of 2018 ESOTY runners-up Henrik Harlaut and Sarah Hoefflin. Both had the credentials to take the win: Henrik with his X Games double gold and two-year project, Sarah with Olympic slopestyle and X Games Big Air gold medals. ESOTY always provides interesting match-ups from different sides of skiing, and this year the favor of the public swung towards our multi-talented winners from South Tyrol.
Arianna laying tracks in Hakuba, Japan. Photo: Mark von Roy
Big thanks to everyone who voted, shared and participated in this year's European Skier of the Year poll, and congratulations to our two champions!