re-sized Thibaud Duchosal

Free-skier Thibaud Duchosal

Thibaud Duchosal grew up at the foot of the Aiguille Rouge in the village of Les Arcs so it’s hardly surprising that he became immersed in slalom competitions from a very early age.

Being passionate about ‘la glisse’, it was inevitable that he would pursue this sport before all others and, having tried the ‘flying kilometre’ – if you’ve never heard of the Flying K, it’s a fairly formidable 54 degrees descent at the top, grading down to 45 degrees and shallowing out at about 35 degrees for most of the kilometre – skiers travel at such a speed on the Flying K that it sounds like a fighter jet when they pass! It has moguls at the side of the slope which are deliberately large to stop anyone stupid enough to venture on to it.

Les Arcs is home to this legendary descent, the speed bug had well and truly bitten. Being surrounded, constantly, by picture perfect powder fields the next step on the ladder for Thibaud Duchosal was to try his hand at freeride.

At the age of seventeen Thibaud signed up for the Les Arcs Freeride event. Equipped with ordinary piste skis, he incredibly managed to finish third place in the first heat, but then had a major wipe-out on the next run which knocked him out of the competition. Youthful eagerness and error were to blame for the crash – and possibly his ordinary piste skis!

He was soon back. However, despite his sensitivity to his environment, (“We should respect the mountain; it is a school of life which brings both pleasure and rigour. We have to show her respect and never underestimate her”),  his intelligent safety consciousness, and his knowing how to choose the best lines, his career has been dogged by bad luck, and injuries have limited his success.

But you can’t keep a good man down…

Eye of the Storm – Part 1

He is back on the freeride circuit now… but more on that later.

feature photo courtesy of Global Skipass


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