Seb Michaud im Gespräch [Teil II]

Seb Michaud im Gespräch





Prior to last years Verbier Contest, just the day before the contest, some of the competitors have been nearly buried in a spontaneously triggered massive powder avalanche. PowderGuide is providing knowledge for backcountry risk management therefore I am very interested in the preparation of the contest safety. How is it done? Are the riders involved into the risk assessment?

As a professional freeskier we expose ourselves to alpine dangers but we are prepared and try to minimize the risk wherever possible. The avalanche danger is always present; even during a freeride contest. For a contest the mountain is under long term monitoring and for everybody safety is the first rule to respect. The mountain guides are working hard for us. Usually the faces are cleaned off avalanches by bombing but it happens that some parts of the mountain are closed.

From contest to contest it seams to be different. In some the competitors are having backpacks (with safety gear?) whereas during some others you don?t see backpacks. I assume you all are wearing an avalanche transceiver and a harness for fast rescue. Please tell us how you prepare yourself for a freeride contest.
The day before, I check my line perfectly. I always have two lines to be able to choose. Which line I take I decide at the start. My backpack is filled with all needed rescue materials and one extra goggle as well as my bib number. In any case, my main resion for continuing doing contest is because I never forget to enjoy it.

The evolution of extreme skiing events is clearly visible. In the past the main focus was to ski close to the impossible taking high risks because of no fall zones in the lines. Meanwhile more flow and faster runs can be seen. Which is the future way of freeride contest?
This year, some of the freestylers take part on the FWT 2009. It?s a good thing for the development of this sport. They bring new style and different tricks into the big mountain. Last year the Henrik Windstet – well known freestyler – has won the title for his first year on a freeride tour event. I hope more big names will come soon to join us.





It is hard to judge a contest. Which are the judging rules for such events?
We have three judges and one head judge on each event. The general impression including fluidity, control, technique and the line are taken into account. Time is not a criterion. If you decide to take a big cliff, you need to stick it.


As a young rider you started to participate at contests. How can a young unsponsored rider get the ticket for such an event?
To participate in a FWT event, you need to be in top 14 of FWRanking. You need to start on the qualifying tour. For sure many riders want to participate and there is a waiting list on each event. If you know riders or organizers, this is the best way.

Year for year you are exposing yourself objective alpine dangers. Which is your personal risk management? How are you getting prepared for a nice, private, freeride day?
My experience helps me a lot. I wait for the good conditions to have a big day. It always depends which snowfall we had, with wind or not. Prior to start I try to asses the local dangers with the ski patrol and last but not least I ski almost every time with a friend.

Almost at the end of the interview I kindly ask you for some words to our user: Which advise would you give a freeride novices?
The winter is long so ski safe. Try to ski in all snow conditions. Freeride, good vibes!

Seb, thanks heaps for the opportunity to ask you these questions.