Nicolas Huber Our Favorite Exhibitionist

The FIS finished up their season in Corvatsch, with three Swiss riders putting down solid runs in the finals. Jonas Halser and Jeremy Denda showed that they have a bright future, and Nicolas Huber proved that he’s still very much a top contender. Contributing phographer, Jonas Gasser, took the opportunity to catch up with Swiss Snowboarding’s favorite exhibitionist. From humble beginnings to viral fame, we were stoked to find a true snowboarder who’s endless energy is only eclipsed by his creative drive. 

© Jonas Gasser

Hey Nicolas, how did the comp go for you?
Every year the Corvatsch World Cup is such a great experience. I feel totally at home, here in Silvaplana. Of course there’s also some pressure that comes with having the World Cup at my home resort. But I bailed the day before the finals, so the whole pressure was kind of released. Instead of going all in, I just wanted to get a clean run. It wasn’t the dream run, but I was pretty happy about the result since I felt like I was 90 years old after the bail that I took in the pipe the day before.
It is also great to finish the season with a clean run. It leaves me with a great feeling. It also gives me confidence for the World Championships next year.

These days it seems like everyone on the Swiss Team starts super young and goes through a sports school, before landing on the national team. But you actually started in Corvatsch as a shaper. How was it for you, taking such a different path?
I really was a late starter in that whole competition circus. I always dreamed of it in my teenage years. When I went to high school I only thought about the mountains and snowboarding. At the start it was really crazy. I had the nickname “Sendolas” because of my tendency to just try tricks that I wasn’t ready for. I would watch videos and then go try those tricks in the park. Luckily I didn’t really hurt myself during that time. Of course I had a lot of smaller injuries, but never a serious accident.
But the times before I joined the Swiss Snowboard Team were crazy. I was so loose, partying every weekend and living the dirtbag snowboarder lifestyle.

© Christian Stadler

So what was the turning point?
I was super lucky when the team gave me a chance back in 2017. The course at the World Championships really fit my skills. So I took a chance and tried tricks I hadn’t really learned yet… Still today I have no idea how I managed to bring that run down. After that, everything changed. Being a part of the national team offered a lot of support – not only for training, but also financially.

How was it for you to switch from learning the tricks on your own to having to listen to a coach?
At first it was difficult for me. Suddenly someone comes and tells you what to do. But it was important to change a lot of my habits, since I really had a lot of mistakes in my technique. That was a game changer in my progression since having a good base is necessary for bigger spins.

© Jonas Gasser

Now you made it and you’re here as a rider, not a shaper. But as a local you already mentioned the pressure. How do you handle it?
Absolutely, there was a lot of pressure, especially in qualies — it was crazy! I really wanted to get into the finals in front of my friends but I was on the bubble for the whole second run and was really stressed that I would miss it. It was an emotional roller coaster ride. I really wanted to perform at home in front of the local crowd and show my best snowboarding. Now that the contest season has ended the pressure really went off my shoulders. So I’m looking forward to a great spring and next year’s big World Championships, here at home.

How are you feeling about the upcoming season?
For me, the World Championships are almost more important than the other contests coming up in 2025 and beyond. I’m also super hyped about being an ambassador for the event. It’s a privilege to have it in my home resort and to have the possibility to ride it in my prime. I want to do my best and really plan my year so that I can deliver at that event. Being 1st is not the main focus. It’s performing at my personal best.

© Jonas Gasser

It’s really noticeable that you always want to show your best… Especially when things don’t go as planned. How do you deal with those emotions?
Yes, I’m fully in my zone when I complete. After the qualies I freaked out a bit and threw my board around. But sometimes I just need that. I put so much pressure on myself. So then I have to let the emotions out. And it’s better to focus my aggression on my board than to take it out on other people.

It’s rough, but it’s also is what’s so interesting about competitions. All those ups and downs thrill me the most. In the end it’s like taking drugs. You pump yourself up, as if you took a face full of coke. It’s such a sick moment to have a run in your mind and just put it down perfectly. I guess it’s also the reason why I love competitions so much. It’s so intense and that’s really addictive.

It’s not just the competitions that seem like a similar experience to drugs… Your image on social media has its own touch of craziness.
Snowboarding has so many parts… not only competitions. There are also video parts or social clips. The opportunities are endless and there is no right or wrong way.

© Christian Stadler

As a full time snowboarder all those social media obligations take a lot of effort. How do you manage your time and focus?
It’s not easy. This season I felt that I had a lot of obligations for sponsors, and in the end I also have my own expectations for the content that I deliver. I’ve also had the experience where doing this social media work affected my job as an athlete. Sometimes when I have a creative idea I can’t sleep anymore until I do it. It makes it hard to chill and turn off my thoughts. But at the same time, I love it. It’s a great feeling if a clip works and the result is fun.

Is doing those clips similarly addictive to you? Kinda like your relationship to the contests?
Absolutely – it’s definitely comparable. If you have a video in your mind and it works out it’s fulfilling. A good example is the road gap in France. It was so gnarly! It was 15 meters with high consequences and I just had to do it. For me there was no other way.

How do your coaches feel about that stuff?
My coach isn’t really feeling it. But I also understand his perspective, since it occasionally takes a lot of my energy, which I can’t use for training or the contest afterwards. It’s a challenge to keep the competitive focus and also have the opportunity to realize my creative ideas.
The hardest part for me is to shut down my head and just chill without thinking about new ideas or snowboarding.

With so much energy do you even have to take time and recharge?
For sure. Not as much as other people, but I also have to fill up my batteries. Sometimes I need my peace and take a moment for myself, not being distracted by my phone and just having a break from all of the pressure. That’s also a skill that I want to improve for next season. Having more time for myself. Part of that is also to just say no and take a day for myself without the pressure of hitting the next cliff.

© Jonas Gasser

So now that the competitions are over, what’s your plan?
Now the best part of the season starts. Spring is my favorite part of the year. I can just ride for myself without the pressure of competitions. Of course I have my goals to learn new tricks and also get better in the pipe. But overall I just want to improve my riding!

Big thanks to Nicolas and Jonas for the interview and to the crew at Corvatsch for having having us. We’re looking forward to coming back for the World Champs next year!