Meet the Local

Anna Pixner: speeding to the stars, making it happen

Anna Pixner moving fast Ericeira Living

Photo: Reichl Haas Visuals.

World Cup, here she comes! We interview Austria’s fastest downhill skater, who lives right here in Ericeira, Portugal.

When Anna Pixner started downhill skating, she found her place in the world. Ten years later, as one of the world’s best in the sport, she is aiming for the IDF World Cup. The skater is reaching for the stars and inspiring others on her way up there.

Doing what Anna does involves riding down very steep hills at lightning speed while maintaining complete control of the board.

Yes, she is fast and, as Tony Hawk puts it, fearless. Because in downhill skating, you have to have the confidence to nail the technique at high speed, all the while keeping yourself safe.

Despite supreme confidence in these high-pressure, high-adrenaline situations, Anna Pixner is surprisingly shy. Nevertheless, the downhill skater is determined to speak up and let the world know what she’s up to. Her current aim is to attract sponsorship that will support her to complete the world cup tour.

With that goal in mind, Anna Pixner has recently published her story in a book “With own Power”, alongside five other extreme sportswomen. She went on to translate her story from German to English and is currently looking for a publisher.

Anna Pixner downhill skate in Ericeira, Calada beach
Anna Pixner downhill skate in Ericeira, Calada beach. Photo by @sunitakaurphotographer

She has filmed with the Ericeira-based filmmaker Octavio Scholz and producer Jaz Levis to make a short that tells her story. She also features in a documentary Woolf Women, in which Anna showcases her talent during a downhill skating pilgrimage to the Turkish mountains. The short is due for release soon and the much-anticipated documentary in 2022.

As well as her films, to help to spread her message, the Austrian has been collaborating with other, local projects here in Portugal, where she lives. This includes working with the newly formed but influential community Ocean Sisters and the lifestyle blog Ericeira Living.

Anna has accomplished all of that while still doing her master’s degree in sociology, gender, and current affairs. Are you feeling inspired yet? And there is more.

Ericeira Living interviews Anna Pixner.

Anna Pixner, speeding to the stars, making it happen. What does it mean to you?

It means that I am learning to shift my focus from the obstacles to the prize. I am learning to set higher goals and to work towards achieving them. I am not shying away, I am not hiding.

It hasn’t always been like that, though. In the past, no matter how well I could do something, I used to think that I still needed to improve before I could put my head above the parapet.

Luckily, I have come to realise that I have no more time to lose by being a shy perfectionist in the shadows. Life was happening while I postponed fulfilling my dreams, and I was missing out. So, I rolled up my sleeves and got down to work.

Downhill skater in Ericeira
Downhill skater in Ericeira. Photo by Bettiol Rodrigo @bettirodry

What is your dream and how are you making it reality?

My dream is to skate full-time. There is nothing else I would rather be doing right now. So, I have decided to invest my energy in making that happen.

Right now, I am working on finding a sponsorship that will allow me to complete the world cup tour. I have done parts of the tour in the past, but have never been able to complete it because I didn’t have a sponsor to cover the costs.

What has inspired Anna Pixner to reach for the stars?

I have had a serious accident a few years ago, which has been great for putting things into perspective.

The accident happened far from home, skating down a road in the desert in Israel. I crashed into a guardrail, broke two vertebrae, four ribs and damaged a lung. I wasn’t sure if I would live or if I would ever skate again. And, I was completely reliant on the help of strangers to get through it.

Since that happened, not only am I’m back to skating with more commitment than ever before, but I have also changed my mind about showing myself in public and about social media.

And how do you feel about sharing your story and inspiring others?

I used to see no point in sharing my story, my skills and my thoughts. I didn’t believe I could be anyone’s inspiration, because I didn’t believe enough in myself.

But then, seeing first-hand how quickly and easily my skating and my life could be over, I hit reset. Suddenly, there was no time to waste being hyper self-critical, hiding from people and saying no to opportunities. I am acutely aware of that now.

Nowadays, I want to connect with people and inspire others who might be going through similar challenges. I want to inspire people to believe in their abilities, to see their value, and to appreciate their own body and mind, even if these don’t conform to ‘the standards’. I want to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone.

Anna Pixner downhill skate in Ericeira
Anna Pixner downhill skate in Ericeira. Photo by Ricardo Silveira @rickywsphotos

What is your message to inspire other people/girls?

For most of my life, I felt that I was not the way I should be. And it is terrible not to be comfortable in your own skin. So, my message to other girls is this:

Be yourself

Be yourself, don’t try to fit into social media standards. These are often misleading or even just plain false. I truly believe that we should appreciate every single person for their unique characteristics. We don’t want clones.

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself. Even if you are not naturally confident, even if you still don’t know what your skills are. Believe that, with practice and time you can achieve your goals. Set your goals.

Give yourself time to develop your skills

Give yourself time to develop your skills. Nobody is born self-confident and with a lot of impressive skills. These take time to develop. 

Make it happen

Be proactive. Make it happen. For a long time, I did not believe that I could fulfill my dreams. Lately, however, I have noticed that the more energy I put into these dreams, the more likely it is that they will come true.

Keep on dreaming, keep on believing, and keep on working towards fulfilling your dreams.

Anna Pixner moving fast Ericeira Living
Anna Pixner speeding forward. Photo: Reichl Haas visuals.

If you enjoyed this article, you will also like our blog posts on downhill skating in Portugal and Mindful skating for personal growth. Both coming soon. Keep a lookout!

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And last but not least, follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Just as Anna suggests, we are letting go of our shyness. Ericeira Living is on social media now and there is no going back. Our life is an open book. Other than sharing the details of our daily lives, we actually use the space to spread some useful information on local events and services. Keep an eye out for our stories!

Anna Pixner's webpage
Anna Pixner’s webpage print screen. Photo by Ricardo Silveira @rickywsphotos

Last-minute addition: visit Anna Pixner’s brand-new

webpage here and follow the downhill skater’s adventures around the world, her projects, thoughts, and many aspects of her adrenaline-fueled life, as she promises to share.

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