In my life, I’ve gone to two extremes One of these was certainly in speed skiing, where you travel 100m in just over 1 second. You find yourself in a bubble, completely focused The other extreme was in the K2 of 7500m-8000m heights. In that situation, to climb 100m you take about an hour, possibly more. You take 4 or 5 steps and you have to stop for a rest You’re there and your mind ticks slowly. You have all the time in the world to think about all sorts I find certain situations when climbing far more dangerous than those you encounter in a speed skiing race In the last race for instance, I was merely afraid of performing badly and it’s very unlikely that before a race I fear injuring myself I didn’t think I would start that way, 17th is an excellent result In the mountains meanwhile, the fear is more present, it can last for several minutes, or in some cases even hours. I have to admit, I go get more afraid Making mistakes in certain situations in the mountains can prove costly while in a speed skiing race you can even fall and nothing really happens The K2 experience taught me about the importance of friendship between your team-mates and the importance of mental strength and determination. In short, believing in the things you do Interestingly, the K2 wasn’t something I had prepared for. The expedition was already planned. But a fortnight before it started, one of the two mountain climbers had a problem so they called me as a last-minute replacement I had to act quickly. Getting ready for a K2 in such a short space of time was a bit of a shock! I was very afraid and worried. Even at the start I was afraid, but after a while, you get into the swing of things and you get used to it However, I still had a lot of fear inside: I was in contact with my friends and family
much more than before I didn’t reach the summit because going that far you risk never coming back down… and when I started to feel ill, I was far from the summit threshold It’s incredible how much your performance drops at those heights. At 8000m your performance drops by 80%. To give you an example, you’re reduced to the strength of an 80 year-old man! It’s hard to say what is the limit. I’ve skied four times over 250 km/h. They’re incredible feelings In our sector, if you want to set a record or achieve something special, you have to go beyond all sensible limits, ignore that voice inside that says ‘hang on, you’re putting yourself at risk’ In that moment, you have to grit your teeth, put your foot on the accelerator and push even harder! Time is everything. It’s from the time.
calculate our speed. There are two photocells in the space of 100m, your time is registered between the two, and from that they calculate the speed You really feel the impact on your body. You feel the air. At 250 km/h speeds, the air becomes almost solid and we’re on two skis that move about So, keeping them as still and straight as possible, while you try to stay as compact as possible is not easy There was a moment during the race in which I set the record before the photocells that I could feel the air lifting me up! It lifts you! You have to battle against it. It’s enough to move just a centimetre and you can compromise everything You can’t make a living from speed skiing. I work as a climbing, a skiing instructor and a rescuer I have always been fascinated by sky running. Athletes like Bruno Brunod, Jean Pellissier who took part in mountain marathons and set records As an instructor, and spending all that time on Monte Rosa, and seeing all those peaks, I had the dream of climbing them all, one after the other in just one day In September 2007, I did all the peaks of Monte Rosa plus the Matterhorn range, 21 peaks above 4000m, in 17 hours and 40 minutes For several years I tried to keep doing both activities. In the winter speed skiing, and in the summer these climbing feats. But in the end it wasn’t possible Looking back on my K2 experience, there were times when we would all look at each other and we would say ‘we’re never going to be dragged into this again!’. It’s so tough there However, afterwards you forget all the bad and difficult things. Speaking for myself, I really want to do it again. But this time, having done thorough preparation I’ve achieved what I have in the KL thanks to my training and background in alpine skiing.
When I first started in KL, it was all about having a lot of fun But I brought the discipline learned from alpine skiing and I changed the sector
Many people think it’s just about skiing in a straight line. It’s not that easy! Going downhill isn’t hard for anyone, but winning, that is very hard indeed At the moment, we are still far from our limits as athletes. The limits depend on the condition of the piste and not to mention the skiing equipment. Perhaps in 10 years, they will have made better performing insoles.. ..A more aerodynamic ski suit and so we could go faster. Alternatively, they may find a piste of 2.5km in length, steeper and we could go at 270 km/h I would like to go at 255 km/h. That for me would be a great result. Records are there to be broken and sooner or later someone will come along and shatter mine! But my records will always be there in the history books