Freestyle family. A history of freestyle in the Engadin.



In the winter of 2025, St. Moritz will host the FIS Freestyle World Championship. This reputedly young discipline actually has a long history in the Engadin. Nick and Sabrina Nussbaum helped shape it. These days, their son Nalu continues to write history as an upcoming talent on the freestyle scene.

St. Moritz

The Engadin is considered the cradle of winter sports. Endless sun, snow and slopes – and, for freestylers, a park with a world-class reputation on the Corvatsch.

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Helicopters, stunts and passion.


The twinkle in their eyes could make the whole Engadin mountain world shine brightly in the darkest night. When Nalu and his parents Nick and Bina browse through photo albums from the past, one story follows the next. There are pictures of wild ski runs for film crews, daredevil jumps and pure joie de vivre. If you listen to Nick and Bina, you will soon realise: They share a special gene. The sport they found so exciting in the 1980s is now called freestyle. And their son shares their passion today. But let’s tell the story in chronological fashion:

When Nick came to the Engadin in the early 1980s at the age of just under 20, he already had a lot under his belt with several hundred somersaults and “helicopters” – a twist around his own axis. At home in Ticino, he and his brother were co-founders of the “Sci Hot Dog Ticino” crew. This was a group of wild, young skiers who celebrated acrobatics on skis. In fact, Nick was just planning to earn some money as a ski instructor in Engadin for a few years. He never left again. “It’s just like paradise up here”, he says, beaming. The mountains provided the perfect playground for people with the same hunger for action as Nick.

When something new and cool came along, we tried it straight away.
Nick Nussbaum

Bina also found it impossible to leave the Engadin at this time. As a person who enjoys being active, she is a gifted skier and windsurfer. But that’s not all. “Snowboarding came along at that time, followed by carving skis – and we were always the first to try new things,” Bina recalls. Of course, it didn’t stop at just trying things out. The two were so talented that they were soon among the best in many sports.

At the time, advertising for sports brands was also changing. Filmmakers and designers like Willy Bogner became aware of Nick and Bina and invited them to participate in his film shoots. “Given our size, you could dress us as you wanted and we were familiar with every kind of sports equipment. We were perfect models for action-packed shots”, says Bina. From breakneck chases on skis in the ice canal, playful skiing choreography for two, to infernal snowboard races for Bogner films, to powder snow runs for promoting the Engadin – Nick and Bina cut a great figure wherever they went.

Corvatsch, Engadin: Then as now, an idyllic playground for people with a hunger for action.

With their film appearances, virtuosic stunts on all kinds of winter sports equipment and legendary jump sessions after work as ski instructors, pioneers Bina and Nick have helped shape the freestyle scene in the Engadin. “Freestyle actually means doing things your own way. That’s exactly what we did back then”, Bina muses. Being a bit wild was certainly part of it – at least in the eyes of outsiders. From their own point of view, however, they have primarily lived their passion, never losing sight of the fun and joy of playing with creativity and acrobatics. This attitude to life is also what they have passed on to their son Nalu.

It’s not about making the best time – it’s about having a good time.
Bina Nussbaum

Flying high can mean falling far.


“The boys today are actually doing exactly the same as we did back then – it’s just that the dimensions are much bigger”. Nick looks at his son Nalu. The 20-year-old is considered one of the up-and-coming talents of the Swiss freeski scene. The Freestyle Park on the Corvatsch is his playground. The park is seen as one of the best in the Alpine region by many freestyle professionals. Every year, the world’s top athletes meet here in the Engadin to compete and train. The big showdown is scheduled for 2025: that’s when the FIS Freestyle World Championship will be held here.

Freestyle means: Having fun, being yourself. You can do everything you want, just don’t stress it.
Nalu Nussbaum

“Freeski freak”

That’s how Nalu describes himself. Raised in the Engadin and Ticino, he has just graduated from the Swiss Olympic School in Tenero. He is considered one of the up-and-coming talents among Swiss freeskiers. Freestyle is his passion, but having fun while doing it is his top priority – whether on skis, snowboard, skateboard, bike or surfboard.

MMS ESTM Winter 2022/23 Freestyle

the big fall

Everything was going splendidly for Nalu: He had achieved good results in the competitions and a place in the Swiss Ski scouting squad. It looked like he was set for a successful professional career. But then came Corona – a winter with no competitions in which to gain a reputation. The following year, the previously good results stopped coming, and Nalu struggled to stay motivated. Then came an even tougher setback: at the beginning of the following winter, the young freeskier suffered an injury, ending his season before it had really begun. To make matters worse, this happened in the run-up to the World Cup on his own doorstep.

However Nalu would not be Nalu if he had allowed a new setback to defeat him. The disappointment of missing the winter was greater than the pain of the injury: but he pulled himself together and soon managed to face the situation calmly. “I was greatly helped by what my parents had taught me my whole life: you can’t control certain things – but it is always possible to find something fun”.

As soon as the doctors allowed, Nalu threw his crutches aside and built up his damaged knee with mountain biking. Of course, he was drawn to the mountain. So he was soon back in the Corvatsch Park. Not on skis this time, but as an coach for younger freeskiers. Up to 60 children attend the ski club freestyle groups in the Engadin. Nalu is a great role model, one of their own. Pushing them during their workouts and offering them advice gives Nalu almost as much joy as jumping himself. “I used to be right up there with those kids. So I know what they can achieve. That’s really very cool”.

2025: Freestyle comes home.


Nalu’s big dream? To show the whole world what he’s got at the FIS Freestyle World Championships in his “home” park. “I’ve got quite a lot of work to do until then”, he cautions. “But I’m going to work hard for it”. His parents are also looking forward to the big event. “We’ve always dreamed of something like this”, Nick admits. And now we will have the chance to introduce our home to freestyle enthusiasts from around the world. Mega!”

The Engadin is where Nick and Bina were among the pioneers of freestyle in the valley. This is where their son continues their passion for this freedom-loving discipline and competes with the world’s best freeskiers. This is where the next generation of freestylers is growing up, celebrating the joy of playing with gravity, acrobatics and style. This is where the whole freestyle circus gathers to meet. You could almost say freestyle is coming home. Have a good flight!