24. Francine Moreillon


Dec 1, 2000
Outside Magazine

Age: 31 Specs: 5-feet-5, 128 pounds
Home: Verbier, Switzerland

THE CASE: Moreillon summed up her competitive identity last January at Mammoth Mountain, California, during the Gravity Games. Unaware that the event required a second run, she had to hustle back to the top of Paranoids and—without scouting another line down the 50-degree chute—ski it again. Before starting, she looked into an NBC camera and, with a shrug, said: "I don't know where to go." Didn't matter. She blitzed thin powder, uncorked 15-foot cliff-jumps in untracked patches others hadn't even considered, and carved nonstop liquid turns to the finish.She's a natural, which was obvious even in her introduction to freeskiing. Working in the press office at the 1997 Chamonix Extremes, she was asked to forerun the course. The organizers were so impressed, they invited her to the 1998 European Championships. She won the event—her first ever—and claimed the next three World Freeskiing Championships in Valdez, Alaska, to boot.

SECOND OPINION: "When you ski with Francine, it's glaringly obvious that she's constantly going for it," says top American freeskier Kristen Ulmer. "Even when she's skiing if-you-fall-you-die terrain, where other pros are cautious."

MOST HARROWING MOMENT: Getting trapped with Ulmer under a rock buttress in the French Alps while a series of avalanches cascaded overhead. A helicopter eventually reached them.

WHAT'S NEXT: She hopes to go to Lebanon and Iceland to film sequences for a Swiss adventure-travel television pilot.

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