Five seconds. That’s all the time Philipp Aschenwald has to prove himself. The 21-year-old is a ski jumper from Ramsau near Mayrhofen. This small window of time means everything to Philipp: he uses it to jump distances up to 216 metres. Since 2011, the young high-flier has been on the national ski jumping squad and training with the SC Mayrhofen. Philipp discovered his sport at eight years old through his father, a former Nordic combined athlete. As a small boy, he began his career jumping from the ski jump in Mayrhofen. Today, Philipp is a professional athlete. “As a professional you have to be very dedicated and always give one hundred percent in your training.”
During the winter season 2017/2018, from the first week of December until March, Philipp will once again have the chance to demonstrate the results of his training. The sportsman from Ramsau has some ambitious goals: “jumping in the ‘Vierschanzentournee’ and at the World Cup opening are real highlights.” To maintain his fitness, he trains five times a week and sometimes more. “We normally train from Monday to Friday, mostly at the state sports centre in Innsbruck. We also have jump training in Stams.” Philipp is a student at the specialist ski grammar school in Stams.
The Rush of Flying
The 21-year-old works hard to continuously improve his performance. In order to do this, he also has to recognise his weaknesses. “There was a time when I go too caught up in ski jumping. I wanted to perfect every aspect.” Today, he has learnt his lesson. “The most important thing in ski jumping is to have the right technique. I have to be relaxed and make sure I don’t think about ski jumping 24 hours a day.” That’s why Philipp has developed a second passion, although it’s not much of a relaxing alternative: paragliding. “I love the thrill. All top athletes need that adrenaline kick.” For two years he has been paragliding from the mountains around Mayrhofen. Why? “To switch off!”
Apparently, the young sportsman has no fear. “I’m never scared to jump from anywhere.” Usually, Philipp Aschenwald speeds down the ramp at about 90 km/h before jumping. “If it’s a bit windy, then I put my trust in my trainer. When he gives the okay, then I know it is safe to jump.” You have to have faith. Philipp lives for his sport, in both his professional and private life. “I just love every aspect of jumping. If it’s a bad jump, I notice that there is too much pressure on the ski, just under the binding. But, during a good jump there is almost no pressure. I glide through the air really fast. It feels like I am flying.” It’s these moments of success that keep Philipp motivated through his training. And, if for some reason he can’t succeed in his chosen career in ski jumping, the boy from the Ziller Valley dreams of perhaps becoming a policeman or a physiotherapist. It seems there is a down-to-earth side to him after all.