The Growing up in Zermatt, Switzerland, in the shadow of the Matterhorn, Sam Anthamatten was surrounded by esteemed mountain guides, world-class skiers and accomplished mountaineers—including his two older brothers. It’s no surprise Sam pursued mountain guiding and achieved UIAGM certification by the ripe age of 24. All three brothers are UIAGM mountain guides with resumes that include first ascents in the Himalayas, speed records on the Matterhorn, overall World Cup ice climbing titles and iconic climbs, like all summits of the Cerro Torre and Fitzroy chains in Patagonia. Yet the way in which Sam skis down big mountains is a great departure from the hop turns that are characteristic of the guides he used to emulate. With a background in ice climbing, mountaineering, competitive big-mountain skiing and filming, the 32-year-old has the skills and experience to ski high-altitude, high-consequence mountains with fast, fluid Super G turns intermixed with progressive tricks. Sam selects his lines differently than even the best skiers in the world. Where many big mountain skiers might think twice about a sketchy or technical entrance to a run, Sam’s mountaineering background affords a comfortability in no-fall zones that opens up possibilities in the mountains. Then, he sends the line as aggressively as anyone.
When Matchstick Productions sent Sam to Peru’s Cordillera Blanca in June 2013 to attempt to ski Alpamayo and Quitaraju for the film Days of My Youth, Sam faced 50-degree boilerplate conditions, and his teammates remember him cracking jokes and as relaxed as if he was sipping an espresso. While filming in Zermatt for Faction’s film, This is Home, Sam rescued the film’s director and lead cinematographer from a crevasse. After working as lead guide for the Freeride World Tour (FWT) in 2010-2011, Sam was climbing on El Capitan in Yosemite when he got a call offering him a wildcard entry into the 2011 FWT. The newcomer won the stop in Sochi, Russia, placed 13th in Austria and finished fifth at the finals in Verbier, ending his inaugural season on tour as the overall runner-up. As Sam says, he went from alpinist to freerider in four months.
Sam says he done with the “crazy competition stuff” and wants to return to his roots. “With my freeriding skillset, I want to go back to alpinism again,” he says. “Combining those two, there is so much more that is doable.” In Sam’s world, “doable” means skiing a first descent on the steepest face of a remote, high-consequence peak without compromise. One peak at a time, Anthamatten is carving a name for himself among skiing’s elite.
- Breithorn, north face, Supersaxo
- Weisshorn, south face
- Matterhorn, east face
- 2nd place overall, Freeride World Tour 2011
- 1st place, Sochi, Freeride World Tour 2011
- Film segments in two MSP films
- TNF video project: Ushba, My Playground