Shades of Winter Athletes | Sandra Lahnsteiner

To celebrate our sponsorship and the athletes involved in the Shades of Winter project we sat down with each of the athletes to chat through what the film means to them and what inspires them to get out every day to unleash their remarkable in their sports.

Fourth in the series is professional skier and the brains behind the Shades of Winter series Sandra Lahnsteiner. The 35 year old founder of the Shades of Winter series has created a unique platform for female action sports athletes from all over the world. Sandra is currently one of the most experience female athletes when it comes to big mountain skiing and filming. Everything Sandra does in life has one thing in common, a true love and passion for skiing, which comes to life in the Shades of Winter series.


“I feel really fortunate to be able to combine both my passions for skiing and film-making in this project” 


Biggest Achievements: Shades of Winter, Nominated for IF3 Best Female Freeride athlete 2013 & 2014, Line of the Year Award 2015, Femme Fatale Award 2014

Ski Focus: Big mountain


Check out our interview to get some behind the scenes information on the highs and lows of filming the series and what it’s like being best friends on tour.

Q. What was your first experience of skiing?

Sandra. I started skiing when I was slightly over 2 years old; on plastic skis behind the house; I never went to a ski-school as my dad taught me to ski from the first moment on.

Q. What is your life motto?


# believe in yourself and make your dreams come true

# everything happens for a reason

# push through

Q. What inspired you to begin the Shades of Winter film series?

Sandra.  I’ve been featured as the only female athlete in a freeski film back in 2008. That season with the guys was awesome and fun, that’s for sure; but at the same time I was questioning why there is no such thing as an all female ski film out there, by then there was a couple of Swedish free ski girls (friends) who had just done an all-Swedish piece and this was my final motivator to start up with – AS WE ARE, a girls ski movie back in 2010

I then filmed a few years with other productions where I was just an athlete but I always had in mind to do it again; I wanted to do it big, globally with girls from all over the world; establish a platform for the best freeski girls; to show our progress, friendship, to capture the perfect moment; push everything to the next level; every year; and this is where we are now;

After the first Shades of Winter film in 2013 we had another successful film with PURE 2014 and now we are at BETWEEN 2016 – with everything again pushed to the next level.

Q. How close are you with each of the stars of the show?

Sandra. We are all friends, for real! Skiing connects us and even with the surfer Carissa Moore it’s the mountain (Mauna Kea) that is our connection.

Athletes connect pretty easily. We are all there to push, to perform, we all live our dream. There is no competition out there because we are out there as a team and we want to inspire and get other athletes, women but also men, out there through the way we live, the way we ski and the way we are as people.

Q. What does Shades of Winter mean to you?

Sandra. At the moment – Shades of Winter is my life. 365 days a year, non-stop.

Due to me being an athlete, the Producer and the Director of the whole thing there is nothing I’m not part of, which is great but also exhausting.

I’m doing it for my love to the sport and the mountains and for the friendship out there. Furthermore I love to travel and Shades of Winter simply combines everything I want: skiing – nature – performance – friendship – emotions (all kinds) – organisation – creativity – lifestyle – life – travelling – exploring – adrenaline….

Q. What has been your favourite experience while filming for Shades of Winter?

Sandra. I can’t really nail one down to be honest. All the laughter, all the fun moments out there with all the friendship that will last longer than any of our athletic careers! Shades of Winter connects us all and that’s just amazing!

Q. What has been the most challenging experience while filming the Shades of Winter video projects?

Sandra. I’m like the little shepard trying to keep and get all athletes and crew members at the right time to the right spot 🙂

Q. What do you love most, skiing or film making?

Sandra. I simply love both.

I will always ski. Probably there will be a point where I’m not throwing back-flips or rippin’ AK spines but I will always ski in a way – maybe with my kids / family one time.

Skiing got me into film-making and I simply love that just as well and everything that comes along with it and hopefully I can keep making films. There is so much to explore and I want to capture it on film to share it with other people!

– being creative and creating a concept / story

– “selling” it to partners and athletes

– the travelling with the athletes and the crew

– the meeting new people and exploring new places

– the discussions with my DoP and film crew

– the creative…tons of hours in editing and directing the film with my editor

– and then the reward of seeing your tiny little idea on the big screen and hopefully inspiring people all across the globe with it.

Q. Who has been your biggest inspiration in your skiing career?

Sandra. I simply don’t have a single inspiration. Ingrid Backstrom was a initial inspiration that got me into freeskiing I think and Matilda Rapaport was a true inspiration along the way.

I get inspired every day out there by the locals, by other athletes, by the mountains, by filmers ….

Q. What is your favourite app to use while out skiing?

Sandra. I’m using Bergfex for weather, I use Instagram to tell my friends where we are :-)) I used Fatmap and Spotify to always have a great sound with us! Check out our soundtrack on Spotify!

Q. What is your next big goal?

Sandra. See the film on the big screen! 🙂


Be sure to follow Sandra on Instagram to keep up to date with all her adventures.

Stay tuned for the next athlete feature in the Shades of Winter series.


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Alan Lund

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