Matthias Giraud grew up skiing in St Gervais-les-Bains France. He was inspired by the mountain legends of Chamonix who set the bar for mountain sports and following their passion. Matthias went from ski racing to freestyle skiing and moved to the US with the aim of becoming a pro skier. He got his skydiving license and started base jumping. He wanted to Ski BASE Jump since he was 9 years old and was lucky enough to meet Shane McConkey who steered him in that direction. Adding a parachute on your back was the perfect solution to turning big mountain skiing into double XL mountain skiing.
Matthias has gone on to ski BASE Jump some of the world’s first descents. Including Mt Hood in Oregon, the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Mont Blanc the highest mountain in the Alps.
Tune in to the podcast below to find out what drives Super Frenchie, dealing with loss, family, sponsors, following your own path, making a documentary and loads more!
Oli Russell-Cowan: Where did you go from skiing, did you start mountaineering and climbing at the same time as ski racing?
Super Frenchie: Yeah, I was always intrigued by it. But I was a horrible climber. When I was in the ski academy, a lot of my friends parents were guides or ex climbers. So they just kind of took me along. I ended up starting to climb but I was never really good at it. I did what I could to get by to get enough of the skills to have a foundation. I was never a classically trained alpinist. Through free skiing and doing free ski comps and ski BASE jumping and accessing more and more difficult things to ski I ended up falling into the realm of albinism without being a classically trained Alpinist.
Next thing you know, you have crampons and ice axes and a harness and you’re like, if I slip and fall I’m dead.
You’re like, Okay, well, let’s go that’s what we have to do to ski. You just end up kind of doing it. I have a hard time even calling myself an extreme alpinist because that’s not my classical background. I became an alpinist by default and an endurance athlete by default. Just because I was a skier.
Oli Russell-Cowan: You went from racing and then you started doing freeskiing competitions. Did you think you could make this your career. What was the journey?
Super Frenchie: Being a pro athlete was always a dream but I never really thought that it would actually happen. I went to ski academy and raced. I knew I wasn’t National Ski Team material because I wasn’t placing enough in comps. I got on a few podiums, but I was always third place, I wasn’t the guy winning.
Somehow I knew there was something with my skiing that was developing. By age 16, I would just rip the face, make big turns and throw a big backflip in the middle of the line. Then 360 over a bunch of trees and just do that over and over again.
I just had this hardened fire inside of me to ride the mountain like a huge racing course, and throw a bunch of stuff in the middle of it.
By now that’s completely normal. But I’m 38, 22 years ago not many people were doing this. I’m not calling myself a pioneer. That spirit of skiing was fostered by my ski coach and things like that.
I was just exposed to the right people and then just had this hard desire inside of me to make that happen. Somehow I ended up making the whole mountain a playground. You start jumping off cliffs and doing tricks. Then you just go one step after another it’s just a natural progression.
I always wanted to BASE jump. And then later on, I started to ski dive and BASE jump. I want to ski BASE jump since I was nine. I was lucky enough to meet Shane McConkey in the US who kind of steered me in that direction. Adding a parachute to it was the next logical step because the landing started to hurt, but I wanted to go bigger and bigger.
Adding a parachute was just a perfect evolution to turn big mountain skiing into double XL big mountain skiing.
By adding a parachute on your back, you can explore terrains. Like big wave surfers. They started getting towed into waves that were too big to paddle into. Well now I just thrown on the parachute to ski things that are too big to survive. All of a sudden you can do it perfectly. The technology works, just chill make it look good and go fast. Speed and confidence.
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