freeskiing females


Q&A: Sandra lahnsteiner's new film pure, and the rise of female skiers

By Amos Horn

Flying just below the radar, Sandra Lahnsteiner has quietly worked her way up in the freeski industry by dominating giant lines and creating some of the best female action on film. Sandra has been featured in ten movies, four of which she produced herself featuring all female athletes. Her most recent film, Pure, is the second film she produced with her production company Shades of Winter and has solidified her spot in the industry as both an athlete and a filmmaker.

What inspired you to start Shades of Winter and make these films?

It all started in 2009, when I made my first movie. I was out all winter with guys in 2008. At the end of the season I said, “Hey, what do you think, can I put it together with girls?” This was the start of my first movie and, in the end, this was the start of everything. I wanted to create a great ski movie to showcase the best female freeski action, but I also wanted to tell a story inspired by the feelings of everyday life.

Why all female athletes?

After the first all girls ski movie I did in 2009, it was more of just a fun thing to do. I thought, “Okay, I can do female ski movies.” And then after that, right before Shades of Winter, there was my freeski documentary, Shukran Morocco, which is about a freeski trip in Morocco with a friend of mine. It’s was only two girls and that was so motivating.  All the media, athletes, friends and sponsors said, “Sandra, you should just push it and put it all together.” It’s not super important to have it be entirely females. We are trying to make one of the best ski movies with female athletes featured.

In 2009 there wasn’t anything like this and, since then, we have seen a huge explosion of female athletes in the sport. How have you seen the industry change?

We earn our places with performance, which wasn’t always the same. The media and the sponsors put us in the spotlight because the female side of the sport inspires them. They really like how Shades of Winter is showcasing some of the best female action. It was great, in the past, to have a ski movie with one or two female athletes, but now there is high demand for more female athletes. We are all pushing it and I hope we inspire more girls to do it.

What does the future of the sport look like for female athletes?

These are professional athletes who are really pushing the limits. This is what helps us improve our credibility in this scene. For me, the important thing is that we try to be professional and performing athletes—without even focusing too much on the girl thing. Sure, there is a difference between men and women, but that’s not a problem. We have different abilities and different strengths. We like to feature more about what drives these girls and why are they willing to push their limits.

What does the future look like for you?

We said last year that we wanted to step it up in every aspect of filmmaking with Shades of Winter 2, and that was our goal for this year. Now, we have even more in mind. We are going to do a two-year project. My goal is to step it up and make something different, something new.

Pure is available on iTunes and more information on the film can be found at