Sewer design and freeride

Working Volks Freeride

By: Downdays January 16, 2019

We aren’t quite sure how Neil Williman does it, but somehow he’s managed to hold down a respectable office job in Brighton, England, at the exact same time that he’s also a well-known freerider in the Innsbruck scene. How is this double life possible?

International man of mystery, sewer design and freeride: Neil Williman.

“With planning, dedication and cheap direct flights” is the short answer to the question. For a longer answer, click play above to watch “Working Volks Freeride” and see Neil and friends tearing up the great freeride terrain at Axamer Lizum outside of Innsbruck. After watching some of these spectacular lines, it makes a whole lot more sense why Neil is intent on “living” in the Austrian Alps — even if his job is located on a faraway island. Viewer beware, because this video contains highly motivational content for those who live far from the mountains.

Not your everyday workingman’s weekend. But Neil is not your everyday workingman. Photo: Tove Kockum

While the attention-grabbing headline of Working Volks Freeride may be that Neil is a weirdo who lives in two places at once, the undisputable real plot line is this: Axamer Lizum offers access to some seriously gnar-gnar terrain, and there are a bunch of other weirdos out there ripping it up alongside Neil. If it wasn’t already on your calendar before, the “Ugly Ski Day” at Axamer should be now.

Neil in the Hochtenspitz couloirs. Photo: Tove Kockum

My name is Neil Williman. And if that’s not funny enough, check out my job description: I’m a sewer design engineer in England. But there are direct flights from there to Innsbruck, which together with Axamer Lizum ski resort has hosted the Winter Olympics — twice! And then it seemed like everyone kinda forgot about it until I turned up in 2012, or that’s how it felt anyway. Of course, there were actually freeriders there already, and they were kind enough to show me around. So I wanted to make a movie to show how good this place and these people have been to me, and this is it. This is Working Volks Freeride.

Know that feeling, when you drop into your “dream line”? That’s what Neil is feeling in this moment.

Neil calls this one the “Life Goal” cliff. The name fits.

Skiers: Jochen Mesle, Sebastian Huber, Manuela Mandl, Anna Smoothy, Tove Kockum, Verena Fendl, Kyle Smaine, Niki Salencon and Neil Williman

Cameos: Rob Palmer, Pete Oswald, Tom Von Platts, Tim Comyn, Andrew Needs, Jack Parsons, Simon Reeves, Leo Rauch, Anne Wangler, Jeremy Smith, Danny Tucker, Sam Good, Julian Zenzmaier, Joe Stadler, Hampus Cedarholm, Raphael Webhofer, Adrien Corier, Ugly Skiing Day Innsbruck, Ludwig Dengg, Skiers Left

Filming: Midiafilm, Florian Albert, Will Alright, Fabi Hyden, Peter Kaiser

Additional footage provided by: Innsbruck Tourism, Fischer Skis, Ben Segal, Pete Oswald

Music: Benedict Ammann, Civilian Sol, Heartbreak Kid, Utah