AI Members in Vars, France

I have been in France for almost a month and a half, what an awesome experience and awesome time. I arrived on December 16th and spent 10 days in La Plagne and then on the 26th it was off to Vars to prepare for the Redbull Linecatcher Event. We had two weeks to get ready. We would hike an hour and a half, day in and day out to shovel, shape and construct jumps to add even more possibility to the already feature speckled terrain. In order to keep the venue in as pristine shape as possible, we were never able to ski down at the end of the day, instead we had to traverse, side slip and even hike down. I had to laugh, I have never hiked a pair of skis to the top of a mountain just to hike them back down, completely absurd, and yet completely necessary. Through all the time I spent on this mountain I certainly created a bond with L’Eyssina, the Yeti Couloir where the event was to be held was merely a small portion and I looked forward to the day when I was able to freely explore and play amongst L’Eyssina’s grandeur. Although my main title was shaper, on certain occasions I was teamed up with Vincent, the French guide responsible for making sure the venue was absent of obvious danger. This was a fun experience as I was able to take what I have learned in Jackson and Alaska and apply it to completely new terrain, while watching and learning from another, more skilled, French certified mountaineering guide. Julien, Mathieu, Gretchen and I logged hours getting everything ready, and we did so in time for perfect conditions, which in turn led to an amazing comp. The jumps where awesome, the terrain was incredible, the conditions where perfect, but it was the athletes who truly made the event spectacular. To lay witness to the skill, the finesse and the love these guys embody was a joy and inspiration to watch, even more so than watching the greats of professional sports leagues. Seeing these guys perform in person with only three runs to perform their best, where there is no editing, no picking and choosing of best lines is to clearly understand the work ethic these guys have and to understand how truly difficult what they do is. It was incredible. I admire each and everyone of these guys and on this day hats off to Candide Thovex, Sean Petitt, and C.R. Johnson, whose best was that much better. Because we were fortunate with the weather and the comp ran smoothly and quickly it meant we had some time to freely explore and ski in Vars and the magnificent L’Eyssina. We spent almost another two weeks in Vars, sometimes helping these guys set up and prepare for a shoot, but mainly enjoying the mountains in which we had spent so much time. Julien, JP and crew were busy, so Gretchen and I hiked L’Eyssina daily, usually twice daily and were able to ski the lines we had been eyeing each and everyday while helping to set up for the comp. Feel free to check out the links below and catch some of the footage and photos from the comp and for even more check out