A skier is drawing an impressive line at high speed over the steep flanks of a glittering ridge. He jumps over rocks and whips up a cloud of snow during a tree run. This audacious backcountry skier also happens to be a young Austrian star on the World Cup circuit, the country’s great hope for downhill skiing in the coming years. Young Max Franz, 25 years old, is evolving from a carefree ski enthusiast into a professional athlete in his own unique way.
No other ski racer puts “living on the edge” into practice quite like Franz. His youthful ambition and talent were put to the test right from the beginning of his career, as he frequently crossed the boundaries of what’s perceived as reasonable risk. On 24 November 2012, he took second place in the downhill race at Lake Louise, only to sustain a serious concussion, a nasal bone fracture and abrasions on his face a mere seven days later when he crashed during the Beaver Creek super-G. After just six weeks he made his comeback in Wengen, and his fifth place in the 2013 Streif downhill race only one week later. But Franz is a ski racer who still needs to find that fine line between brilliance and madness – by gaining as much experience as possible.