Pushing the limit and going where no one has done before. That statement has always been present in the World, but it also applies to the Ski World. Many people who have been presented in these Friday Night Videos have explored to push the limits of their element of skiing. From last week’s Fridtjof Nansen skiing across Greenland in 1883, Roald Amundsen expedition to the South Pole one hundred years ago. in the Northeast Charley Proctor in the 1930s did the first descent over the headwall at Tuckerman Ravine. People thought it was crazy at the time. Once the 1970s arrived, it was the European pushing the limit with combining mountaineering with skiing; skiing impossible lines in the Alps and the rest of the World. From the 1960s to the 1980s Sylvain Saudan, Anselme Baud, Patrick Vallençant, Pierre Tardivel, Jean-Marc Boivin and others suicidal lines. In North America, the movement started with Bill Briggs and continued through Scot Schmidt and Canadians Trevor Petersen and Eric Pehota. These pioneers pushed the barriers and combined two sports.
Recently Shane McConkey and a few others combined the sport of BASE jumping with skiing.
Mountains, Snow and Flight
The combination of these three elements. This week feature is on Antoine Montant born on February 15, 1981. Antoine had become in a few years, a world reference acrobatic paragliding and speed riding (combination of skiing with paragliding). A new combination of skiing with other sport; mountaineering, Base jumping and now Paragliding. The first time I witnessed the sport was in Argentina back in 2008 where some French skiers from Les Arcs did their sport. Montant dominated his sport, having won the Speedflying Pro at les Arcs for three seasons.
Some of his exploits includes speed riding off the face of Eiger with François Bon back in 2006 when he was 25. He collected a few first off the massif of Mont Blanc. He was also part of Matchstick Production movie Claim and French movie Apocalypse Snow – le Retour.
As many of his predecessors, Antoine died last Sunday, October 23 2011 at the age of 30 in a Base jumping accident in France.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
From the RedBull site:
His talent was matched only by his imagination for ways to get back down to the valley floor. Even though he achieved some amazing feats, Antoine’s exploits in alpine skiing were not widely known. But unlike many extreme skiing purists, Antoine was first and foremost an inventor. He liked finding unlikely routes and blending types.
“I started out on skis but I made my name in acro paragliding, because there’s more room in that than in skiing, and yet I spend 80% of my winter skiing,” Antoine once said. “I’d like to do more to get the word out on this way of mixing: freeriding, steep slope skiing and speed riding.”
Antoine Montant’s Red Bull Profile (in French)
First off an excellent profile on Antoine. The video last’s 15 minutes, but talks and shows some of his life and exploits. The second video has him speed flying off l’Aiguiile du Midi and rides part an old cable car cable.
Portrait of Antoine Montant by Red Bull (in French)
Unbelievable cable car speed flying – Antoine Montant in Chamonix, France by RedBull