My Perfect Adventure
The Snow Report
Matthias Giraud was the first person to ski-BASE jump off Mount Hood. Matthias Giraud’s first ski-BASE jump ever was off Mount Hood.
It’s this brand of all-out living that drew him toward what many call the world’s most dangerous sport. Really, as Giraud describes it, it’s two sports: extreme downhill skiing—and then, when the mountain ends in sheer cliff, BASE jumping. Freefalling, that is, until, ideally, a parachute whips open to slow the way down.
Giraud, 29, started skiing when he was just an infant and became a pro skier before he got into launching himself off the slopes. Besides Mount Hood, his first descents include the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Telluride’s Ingram and Ajax peaks, and France’s Aiguille Croche, where he purposely skimmed an avalanche (the goosebump-inducing headcam video is here).
“Super Frenchie,” as Giraud is known, was born in France and lives in Portland, Oregon, but feels a blood tie to Indonesia and a lust for Iceland. In this interview, he’s just as all over the map, touching on everything from the time he ate whale—and liked it—to expounding on why having a passion is so critical. He also extends a heartfelt lunch invitation to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Describe your perfect day, from dawn 'til dusk. Where would you be, who would you meet, and what would you do?
My perfect day would start at the Eiger in Switzerland. I’d be standing on the peak in my wingsuit for an early-morning flight with a friend. After giving each other a high-five and a “3, 2, 1, C ya,” we’d both push off and start falling like rocks until our suits started kicking in and flying us toward the valley below, all while buzzing the rock face.
After landing, we’d change into our ski gear and drive straight to Megève, my home mountain, to catch the last chairlift to the top. We’d climb out of bounds for an hour until we got to the top of the Aiguille Croche’s cirque. As the alpenglow set, I’d drop into the peak’s unforgiving face and ski down the mountain in the bright-orange evening light. My friend Stefan Laude would be chasing me down with his speed-flying canopy [a small, high-performance paraglider]. Suddenly, we’d both go airborne off the 600-foot cliff at the bottom of the mountain. I’d pull my parachute and float safely down to land.
We’d wrap up our gear, ski to the nearest tavern, and enjoy a nice cold beer right in front of the deadly mountain that we just turned into our playground. I would then meet my wife at Le Flocons de Sel for an unforgettable three-Michelin-star dinner before strolling the streets of Megève, the most beautiful town in the Alps.
If you could travel somewhere you've never been, where would you go?
Indonesia. My grandfather was from the Netherlands and lived in Indonesia when it was a Dutch colony. He worked for the government there but had to leave before the Japanese invasion. So I grew up around Indonesian culture, and my oldest sister lived in Jakarta for a little while. I’m really looking forward to going there someday and discovering some of what I feel are my roots. I’d love to surf there too.