Alpina was created to craft strong, robust watches capable of resisting the challenging environment of the Alps. Inspired by this vision, Alpina specializes in rugged watches for outdoor use, as we’ve seen with their latest flagship collection – the Alpiner Extreme. As the brand has renewed its partnership with the Freeride World Tour for the 5th consecutive year, we had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Verbier to attend the season’s final event. If the competition at the impressive Bec des Rosses was cancelled amid ongoing snow and wind, it was the opportunity to discover the watch released in the frame of this partnership and to meet the team of Alpina skiers – in particular Max Palm, a rising star in the discipline.
Born in 2002, Max Palm is already one of the most awarded freeriders, whilst being only twenty years old. In 2019, he won the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championship, becoming the youngest skier to ever win this legendary competition in its 28-year history. In 2020 and 2021, Max was crowned Overall Freeride Junior Tour Champion, and World Freeride Junior Champion in 2021. In 2022, the freerider left a mark on history as ‘‘Rookie wildcard’’ by winning the first stage of the FWT in Baqueira Beret, Spain, with the first-ever double backflip!
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – What is your background, how did you end up competing in FWT?
Max Palm – I am Swedish but have lived my entire life in France. My parents are mountain lovers, my dad is a mountain guide and my mom is a ski instructor, my uncle is Sverre Liliequist, one of the pioneers of free-ride skiing in Sweden. My family has always helped me and pushed me to where I am today. I have always loved this sport, and I have found so much joy in what I do. The adrenaline you get is crazy and I want to keep that.
You’ve really made a name for yourself with the first double backflip in world tour. How did you decide to try this unprecedented trick and how did you feel about it?
Last year I got a wild card for the first part of the FreeRide World Tour. My dream had always been to do a double back flip and that day was the perfect day. Everything was right. I found this line and landed perfectly… I won the competition. It was the most insane feeling I have ever felt. I could not be happier and prouder about what I did that day.
How do you feel when you are going to start a run?
Just excitement! It is a bit scary, you get some butterflies but the feeling you get at the start is insane. You have so much energy. The only thing I’m thinking of when I am at the top is getting down. I can’t wait and just want to ski!
What is your relationship with time?
In our sport, time is very precious. Every detail counts, you cannot waste any time. The snow is there just for the winter. For instance, we always have to be on time, and ride at the perfect moment. The same goes for competitions, you have to be on time in the morning.
How did you come into contact with Alpina and what does it mean to you?
I got in touch with Alpina last year. My agent has been working with the brand with other athletes. Many friends have been riding for Alpina and I have seen these beautiful watches on their wrists. I love these, I think they are super cool. I was lucky enough to get into the team, I am super proud!
Which Alpina do you wear?
The new Alpina Extreme. I love it. It is simple, classic. I like that it just shows the time and the date, it looks very good with a bit of vintage style. Super sick!
What is your next challenge or your dream?
My dream is of course to become the World Champion of the Freeride World Tour. But most importantly, I just feel my biggest dream is to never lose the joy of skiing, and just feel like a kid even when you are 40 years old. I just want to be that happy person when you put your skis on!
The Alpiner Extreme Automatic Freeride Worldtour
The Alpiner Extreme is a do-anything go-anywhere outdoor watch inspired by a model from 2005 and reintroduced in 2022. The “FreeRide World tour” edition comes in a 41mm x 42.50mm steel case. Its black dial with a triangle pattern is emblazoned with the competition’s logo. You can read our introducing article here.
Quick facts: steel case – 41mm x 42.50mm x 11mm – AL-525 automatic calibre (Sellita SW200-1), 4Hz frequency, 38-hour power reserve – rubber strap and folding buckle – EUR 1,595
For more information, please visit www.alpinawatches.com – Credit for Max Palm pictures: DomDaher