Whoever wants to be one of the big names should take it step by step. Especially if you want to enter the World Cup circuit at the age of 17 when its full of big names you have looked up to in the past.
Markus Schairer did so and prepared himself not only physically, but also mentally, for the task of being a top boarder crosser. And this strategy paid off.
In 2004, the year of his first World Cup appearance, he grabbed bronze in his first-ever snowboard cross Junior World Championships. The next year, “Max” placed second and added another runner-up title to his belt in 2007. The same year, he also celebrated his first top ten result in the World Cup by placing 4th in Lake Placid, USA and 6th in Stoneham, Canada.
The next season, everything was set for the man hungry for success. Indeed, everything looked fine in the 2007/2008 winter when things started off with a sixth-place rank at the season’s opener in Chile. In addition, after some disappointing WC results in Europe, the St. Gallenkirch resident got his first taste of how it is being on a podium and thus in the focus of the international media by securing second at the X Games in Aspen.
But then, a cruciate ligament rupture forced him to take a long competition break.
However setbacks sometimes make you stronger, especially if you are as focused of an athlete as Markus is. At the beginning of 2009, the rider blessed with good constitution, strong will and the never give-up attitude celebrated an impressive comeback. Within just a few months, he not only took the scene by storm earning his first two World Cup podiums - second at Arosa (SUI) and Bad Gastein (AUT) - but also claimed his first big title. In Korea, Schairer crowned himself 2009 World Champion by edging off one of the scene`s super stars, Xavier de le Rue, crossing the finish line just a few inches ahead of the Frenchman.
A new man was born as Markus also started off an incredible series claiming back-to-back wins in Canada (Cypress and Stoneham) and also adding another triumph in La Molina (ESP) to his belt.
But once again, another knee injury suffered already in Sunday River, USA, overshadowed his incredible season which was topped with the SBX World Cup title.
Luckily, Markus was able to fight back again during summer always having in mind his big goal of an Olympic medal at Vancouver 2010.
Everything looked good when the friendly and outgoing rider came back from his second injury break. In four World Cup races, he made it to the big finals twice, but then Austria’s hope for an Olympic medal suffered a setback again at the X Games. Schairer went down hard in a horrible crash in his quarterfinals, suffering five fractured ribs only two weeks before the Vancouver Olympics took place. However he managed to compete, disappointingly ending up 23rd.
But looking at his snowboard cross history, with all those setbacks Schairer was forced to handle at quite a young age, one thing was always sure: after a down comes an up!
And once again, the Vorarlberg rider made to the top of the world claiming silver at the 2013 World Championships, underlining that he is back to business - maybe stronger than before - right in time for the 2014 Sochi Games.
- 2013 FIS World Cup, Lake Louise (SBX) - 1st
- 2013 FIS World Cup, Montafon (SBX) - 1st
- 2013 World Cup standings (SBX) - 2nd
- 2013 World Championships (SBX) - 2nd
- 2011 World Cup standings (SBX) - 5th
- 2010 Vancouver Olympics (SBX) - 23rd
- 2009 World Cup standings (SBX) - 1st
- 2009 World Championships (SBX) - 1st
Things to Know:
- Schairer has a chance to achieve a measure of history in Sochi as the first Austrian Olympic snowboarding champion.
- He hails from the ski resort community of St. Gallenkirch, Austria. His family’s home is less than 500 meters from the resort’s gondola.
- He started snowboarding at the age of six. According to Schairer, "My brother made a course near our house and I felt like I had to try it."
- He started racing at age 12 but switched to snowboard cross in his mid-teens.
- He grew up playing tennis.
- He serves as a federal police officer during the offseason.
- His mom tends to get overly nervous during races and has threatened that one of these days she won’t watch anymore.