An 18-year-old freestyle skier from Switzerland took the internet by storm this week when a video of him honing his strength and balance on an indoor obstacle course went viral.
Andri Ragettli, from Flims, the neighbouring village to freestyle haven Laax in Switzerland, posted the video on his Facebook page on Sunday. At the time of publication the video has had 1.5 million views.
It’s not the first time Ragettli has made the headlines. Late last season he became the first skier to successfully land a quad cork 1800 – that’s five full rotations and four off-axis flips in one jump.
“I didn’t plan on doing this trick, but it was the perfect day and the biggest and best jump that I have ever jumped. I was feeling it and I am super happy that it worked out right away,” said Ragettli at the time.
More recently, the young Swiss skier joined Great Britain’s Winter Olympic hopeful James Woods on the podium in second place, behind Woods in first, at the Freeski & Snowboard World Cup in Cardrona in New Zealand.
Despite having a long list of titles and podium places to his name on the professional circuit, including overall world champion in 2016, it seems the video of him practising parkour in his local gym is the thing to have propelled him to global fame – and to be fair, it is pretty impressive.
Well what a start into the new season!!! Sooo happy to end up on 🥈place!!! Congrats to my teammate @buhsch for 🥉what a comeback and @jameswoodsy 🥇! #swissfreeskiteam #worldcup #cardrona #second #place #happy #skiing #thankstomycoaches
A post shared by Andri Ragettli (@andriragettli) on Aug 27, 2017 at 1:20am PDT
It’s 48 seconds of sheer balancing brilliance, but many social media users might not understand the link between the relatively unheard-of sport of parkour and freestyle skiing.
“Balance training is always good for free skiing,” Ragettli explained. “It’s one of the main trainings I do besides cardio and weight training.”
Parkour is an increasingly popular sport that developed from military obstacle course training. The aim of a parkour course is to get from one point to another by running, climbing, swinging and rolling, often over obstacles such as rocks, walls and tunnels, without any assistance or equipment – it requires almost perfect balance.
“We do parkour indoor training at my school in Engelberg,” said Ragettli. “When I uploaded a normal parkour training video for the first time last year I couldn’t imagine that people around the world would like it [my latest video] so much that it would go viral.”
Ragettli shot the video with his brother in his school’s gym in Engelberg on Saturday, with an aim of improving on a similar video he made in 2016 and to share a unique look into his training for the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, next year with his followers. “It took 20 attempts to get the video in one take, but we did some more for better footage too,” he explained.