The underlying meaning of the word ‘Salud’ is ‘good health’ which is an important part of our mission. In addition to producing healthy products in a sustainable way, we also encourage our employees, customers and consumers to be health conscious. Sport is a high priority for us. Not every talented athlete has the financial means to launch a professional career. We also know how difficult it is to build a foundation and keep the momentum going. That's why Salud Foodgroup has developed the initiative ‘Together we make their dream come true’. Each quarter, we are going to shine the spotlight on an athlete and provide them with financial support—with the help of customers like you—to make their personal sporting dream a reality.

Portrait Richard Amacker low res in artikel

2nd edition: Switzerland – Richard Amacker
We will be selecting athletes from the countries where we export our products to. This quarter, it was the fearless Swiss freeride skier Richard Amacker (30) who caught our attention. We talked to him about his sporting life.

‘Sport is not part of my life. Sport is my life.'

Who is Richard?
My name is Richard Amacker and I am 30 years old. I come from Switzerland, in the Valais Alps and more exactly from Nendaz in the heart of the ski resort of the 4 Valleys.

What sport do you practice?
I ski freeride. Around the world it is a relatively unknown sport, but in the world of winter sports and extreme sports it is very popular. It has the distinction of having two very interesting facets for a professional. On the one hand, there are competitions, and, on the other hand, there is the production of photos and videos. I started to practice this sport in 2008. I am lucky to have grown up in the heart of the Alps, which is an incredible playground for freeride skiers. I have also had the chance to ski on most continents. Skiing in Argentina, Chile, USA, Canada, Greenland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Russia, Slovakia, Andorra, Norway, Japan and New Zealand are experiences that are as enriching as they are different from each other.

What does sport mean to you?
Sport is not a part of my life. Sport is my life. When you ski more than 220 days a year, it’s hard to think of anything other than your sport. But, when I have a few days off at the end of the season, I do like to get totally away from this world.

When did you decide on pursuing a career as a professional athlete?
My parents put me on skis at the age of two. After that I did alpine skiing for about fifteen years including five FIS. In 2007, I stopped alpine skiing due to lack of results. At the age of 19, I participated in my first freeride competitions. The results showed right from the beginning. So, I quickly made the decision to throw myself into it and do everything I could to succeed in this discipline.

‘I started to become aware of the sacrifices I needed to make to succeed in this sport.’ 

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Who affected you in this decision?
My father was the influencer. He was always an example for me. He put me on skis, trained me in alpine skiing, and always supported me even in the most difficult times. He would have loved it so much if I had succeeded in alpine skiing. My success in freeride was a way of returning the favour, even if it wasn’t in alpine. The proud look he would have on his face after a good result brought me immense satisfaction and a reason to keep on going.

What steps did you take to pursue your dream?
After quitting downhill skiing I lived in uncertainty. Everything was done for me when I practiced this discipline. My parents paid for everything. I trained because I was told to. I skied according to the advice given to me. At the age of 19, I decided to change my discipline. I was forced to take responsibility for myself. In other words, I had to pay for my training, competitions, loss of earnings and trips. That’s why I started my own company, began acquiring sponsors and took care to foster my image. As well as these activities, there was also marketing via sponsors, communication with the media, social networks, physical preparation with a private coach and a great deal of skiing to refine my technique. In short, I started to become aware of the sacrifices I needed to make to succeed in this sport.

‘I beat opponents I used to watch on TV when I was young.’

Which titles are you most proud of?
In 2012, after a complicated start to the season, I won my first World Cup stage. I beat opponents I used to watch on TV when I was young. The season ran like clockwork and I won the title of best rookie of the year.

What has been your worst experience so far?
In the summer of 2012, I left for a trip to Argentina and Chile. I went there to shoot my first video content. Our living conditions were very hard. After several weeks of waiting, the snow appeared like a ray of sun piercing the clouds. The day was perfect until the terrible event happened. From the top of the mountain I checked the situation down at the foot where my two colleagues were standing. Incredibly light snow; good to go. A corridor opened up to me, but unfortunately the snow was not as I expected. I accelerated uncontrollably. Falling was inevitable. Conclusion; torn cruciate ligament of the knee. Repatriation to Switzerland  followed, where I had to undergo surgery and then rehabilitation for over nine months before I was able to get back on the skis.

How do you prepare for a match?
My routine is to watch the slope for hours, choose a line that suits my abilities and take pictures to study the evening before the competition. 
As for my ritual; this makes me stand out from my opponents. During the warm-up, I spend an hour doing giant slalom turns to reassure myself and find my feelings on the skis.

What do you hope to have achieved in five years’ time?
In five years’ time I hope to have produced beautiful projects of videos and photos shot in places where I haven’t yet been. I am currently already preparing my professional retraining. I have opened my academy, the "RA Ski Academy" where I have various offers like the "RA Freeski Team". I coach two groups of eight young skiers who want to perform in the freeride world. I train them on track technique, I work with them on the judging criteria and during the season I accompany them to some competitions. I also offer the "RA Avalanche Course". These are classes where I educate participants on the right conduct to have on the mountain.

Want to know more about Richard Amacker? Follow him online:
-Facebook: Richamacker
-Instagram: Richardamacker
-YouTube: Richard Amacker

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