Red Bull X-Alps

Out of the woods: Huber emerges to reveal his 2016 plans

Sebastian Huber was the surprise outsider who dared to threaten the reign of Maurer during the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps. Coming 2nd, he proved himself a formidable athlete – both in the air and on the ground. Six months after the race, he’s back working the woods as a forester, but he put down his chainsaw long enough to tell us about his plans – and what he’d like to be different next time..

© Markus

So have you recovered from your newfound celebrity status?

There were a lot of articles in the local newspapers before and after the competition and I’m recognized out and about quite often. It's too much sometimes! You always have to say hello and chat. The people in my village all followed the race on live tracking. My sister was at home during the competition and she phoned and said it was dead quiet; there was no one around in the village because all the people were at home watching the live tracking! 

Will you compete again?

It's like flying – you wait and see what happens. The motivation for this competition is the distance and the adventure. If I take part a second time, it doesn’t change my motivation – finding the limits of my body and mind. We will see what happens when the applications officially open.

If you could make one rule change, what would it be? 

The best thing for the next Red Bull X-Alps would be if the athletes didn't have any supporters, just themselves and only a little support from the organizers. It would be wonderful. Fans and spectators would understand that it's only the athletes that are competing and they would help. You’d be able to sleep and eat here and there. Crossing the Alps by yourself, not with three or four cars and 10 people and someone showing you where you can fly before starting. I don’t need any of this. 

Any big adventures on the cards?

This summer I want to explore parts of the Alps by myself that I haven't been to before, just cruise, with no time to beat. Sometimes you need some time to learn things, and not always rush rush rush because then you don't have time to take things in. Sometimes it's good to spend more time looking around, perhaps you can learn new things, not only about yourself, but about other people. If you have the time to speak to people in other countries, it's great, they often have a different mentality and that’s interesting. 

I'm also competing in the Bordairline Biotech Adventure Race. Athletes have 33 hours to hike and fly as far as they can, make a turnpoint and return to the start line. 

Tell us about working in the forest?

I’m a forester so often I work alone but sometimes with one other person; this is also great because it's fun to work on trees as a team. Most of the time I'm alone though. It's training. You must see it as training. It's for all, both strength and cardio. Sometimes I'm six hours in a tree and I'm also climbing and I have to concentrate but I like that. It's good training and you can earn money from this. It’s great!  

We also have a forest at home on the west side of the Danube. There I make wood with my brother and father for a few weeks. My father is lucky because his sons work with him, which is cool. I like to see how the forest is growing and changing. You look at the floor and the new trees are growing. It's interesting.

Did you learn much from taking part last year? 

That's an interesting question. You always learn something at such a competition. But I think my supporter and I had a very good preparation. I didn’t have any unnecessary pressure because we knew what to expect and because we saw the competition as an adventure. I was also well prepared. I had good shoes, good food, everything. Good fitness from the army and since 2009 I’d been running in marathons, half marathons and ten km races and I have a very good trainer. I learned how to train and what you need to reach a good condition at a high level.