The best of 2 worlds

Belgium's number 1 - world class in the Ski World Cup on the piste and on the green

Sam Maes (22) was two years old when he moved with his parents from Belgium to Pinzgau to open a hotel here. Like his two brothers Max and Jack, he inherited his passion for sport from his parents.

Sports enthusiast from a very early age

Dirk, the father, who used to be a Belgian junior basketball national team player, encouraged Sam in multi-sport activities and finally got him to play golf. Even before that, Sam showed his all-round talent in football and tennis. "From my mother, I inherited the will and the tenacious perseverance for daily hard training. Whether on the road bike or running, she is always full on. Basic training is not for her." It was his mother Katrin - herself a ski instructor in Zell am See-Kaprun - who taught him how to ski. "Every winter I was off-piste with her on the Schmittenhöhe, no mogul slope was too bumpy for us, no deep snow was too deep. At Tatjana Mittermayer's mogul camps, I think it was the enthusiasm for skiing that really got to me.“

David Shaw, the head pro at the Golf Academy of Zell am See-Kaprun, took Sam under his wing at the age of 10 and encouraged his talent."With David, we have got far from the beginning. I can only advise young golf talents to join an experienced coach like David." With this support, a handicap of 3.1 was quickly achieved. 
But when success comes quickly, sometimes the great passion gets lost. Between the age of 16 and 19, Sam left the bag in the garage more often and devoted more and more time to skiing as a competitive sport - which turned out to be a decision for success.

After the first two semesters, his engineering studies now have to wait. The focus is on the Ski World Cup and giant slalom. "In this discipline, I am now number 46 in the world and number 1 in the Belgian team. This allows me to start in all 10 World Cup races in the coming season. I will also be competing in 8 European Cup giant slalom and 8 slalom races.“

"In the giant slalom World Cup, I will be attacking full on this year!“

"My best result last season was 12th place in the Kranjska Gora race. I would like to follow up on that this year, and I will give everything in my power to achieve that. Together with 7 other racers, I am a member of Paul Epstein's private Global Racing Team. 2-3 weight and endurance training units are on the agenda every day. Together with my personal coach, I work 1-2 times a week on the fine tuning. Race director Eric Wolf and the Völkl team service offer me top conditions.“

Ski-Golf World Champion 2018

Luckily, skiing and golf have been combined in Zell am See-Kaprun to create a first-class sporting event. At the 2018 Ski & Golf World Championship, Sam sensationally won the title after an RTL run on the Kitzsteinhorn and 36 holes on the golf course in Zell am See-Kaprun. Here pictured with Eva Kozeluhova, the winner in the women's event.

"When I play golf today – and I prefer to do so on my home course in Zell am See-Kaprun – I look for special challenges. Doing a tactical round of golf is not my thing, I'm keen on that extra kick. My goals are birdies and eagles. Today I am able to tackle every par 5 and drive onto the green on a par 4. Hole 15 on the Kitzsteinhorn course my favourite! For good reasons…

An ideal power place for me

"To me, the golf course in Zell am See-Kaprun is an ideal place to switch off and recharge my batteries. It's the perfect diversion after a strenuous week of skiing training. That's why I often like to go out alone for a round of golf. But you rarely see me on the range.“

Wordrap with Sam Maes:

Nutrition: At home mostly vegetarian, when travelling so-so. Many shakes (proteins and recovery)

Breakfast: To start with, only muesli and a smoothie, then exercise and at 10 am an egg dish, avocados, hummus, etc. As a finish, it always has to be something sweet.

Favourite dish: Pancakes

Favourite drink: Water. As a child I had Osgood-Schlatter's disease, which is an irritation of the patellar tendon. Back then, the doctor recommended to only drink pure water, and that has stayed with me.

Music: Old-school Hip-Hop

Swimming in Lake Zell: At the yacht club, the most beautiful place for it

Greatest success: Coming in 12th in the RTL of Kranjska Gora

Biggest failure: I would have to think for too long, I live in and for the present

Girlfriend: Bernadette Lorenz, slalom skier in the ÖSV A-Team

Place of power in the region: The golf course and uphill to the Mitterberg (ideal for interval training)