EPIC OPENING DAT AT MT BAKER WITH GRANT GUNDERSON AND DREW STOECKLEIN

November 10th, I get a text from Grant: “yes, I want to ski. Wasted at a bar… call me tomorrow”.
On the 11th, I call Grant and it is game on. Mt Baker has 67inches of fresh and we are fired up. Drew Stoecklein is flying in the same day from Boise, ID and the madness is on.

I arrived on the 11th at night, woke up at 5am and headed to the hill and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Mt Baker generally gets no sunlight from November to March. I, personally, have NEVER seen sun at Mt Baker in the last 2 years. We had a perfect blue sky and 4 ft of fresh powder on top of the rest that fell before.

Grant fired the camera and we got EPIC shots. Skiing with Drew was a great experience too – humble, passionate, and fun.

Here are a couple links below for Grant’s shots and an article from Skiing Magazine.

I just arrived in Portland and I am about to pick up my new Smith, Elan and Dabello gear at The Ski Chalet. Great store with a very prefessional staff. So, come over and check out their gear. I heard Mt Hood got snow too… time to go back to work…

Mt Baker: http://www.mtbaker.us/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=8092

Skiing Magazine: http://www.skinet.com/skiing/resorts/2009/11/mt-baker-opens-with-a-hefty-base 

TWITTER

Just arrived in Seattle to hang out for a few days before heading down to Portland and make some turns at Mt Hood which got DUMPED on! My new skis are ready to rock and I can’t wait to start flying on snow.

I just created a Twitter account so follow me and stay posted on a life of endless fun!

Twitter: www.twitter.com/matthiasgiraud

FIRST TURNS OF THE SEASON AT ALTA/SNOWBIRD

A few days ago, we got a nice dump in the mountains around Salt Lake City. A couple days later, the snow settled nicely and we had 2ft of fresh on top of Mt Baldy. So, I decided to take my gear and boot pack to the top on October 6th to make the first turns of the season!
Check out the link below on the Freestyle Watches blog to know more about it!

Freestyle USA: http://www.freestyleusa.com/team/blog/2009/10/12/monday-blues-breaker/

I/0 BIO CATALOGUE

I got back from Boise, ID not too long ago to shoot the new I/O Bio catalogue. I/O is a yound company with a very promising future. Their products are made from the finest merino wool but they were able to combine it with amazing style, cool colors while creating innovative pieces.

I have been skiing and BASE jumping with I/O Bio products for the last 3 seasons and I have been sold on the products since day one.

I traveled to the French Alps last season and wore the same I/O Bio Merino piece for 2 weeks straight. I traveled with it, slept with it, skied with it, partied with it everyday and guess what? No smell and the feel was the same. The quality speaks for itself so try it out and check out the new products on their website.

Inside/ Outside, you decide… A great company with a great concept ready to explode!

I/O Bio Merino: www.io-bio.com

INSIDE OUTSIDE MAGAZINE – SHANE’S CLIFF

I just got back from a little vacation in Costa Rica where we attended our friends wedding. This place is amazing and we got to surf amazing waves for 10 days! The jungle was beautiful with toucans flying around, howler monkeys, white face monkeys, crocodiles and many more interesting creatures. Good times…

Got an email from photographer Scott D.W. Smith saying we landed a publication in Inside Outside Magazine about the Ajax ski BASE. Check out the link below to read the article.

I am back in Salt Lake City, UT where the weather is not cooperating so far but it’s ok, that gives me the oppotunity to start planning new adventure in the mountains.

Inside Outside: http://www.insideoutsidemag.com/issues/2009/June/Voila_Shanes_Cliff/

FILMING WITH JUSTIN WIEGAND AT NIMBUS INDEPENDENT

I just got back from shooting with Justin Wiegand at Nimbus Indenpendent right in his backyard also known as Mt Hood! Justin and I got in touch a few months back. He wanted to film some ski BASE jumping off Mississippi Head – a 250 ft cliff on the south side of the mountain. After trying to coordinate it for a few months, we finally got a window and everything fell into place!

This jump is one of my favorite because this is where I did my first ski BASE ever. Moreover, the scenery is amazing with Portland on the west and Mt Jefferson on the east. All this made me think about Shane one more time. It hadn’t been long since we lost THE MAN. Shane actually came here last year after we opened this cliff and ski BASEd it a few times with his best bro Miles Daisher. He showed us what could be done and if any of us skiers are ski BASE jumping now it is because of him. He gave me some very valuable pointers in the past such as “don’t die” or “don’t turn on the sink with your wipe hand” and everytime I jump, he is on my mind. We lost the master but the art is not dead and we have to keep pushing it.

Hanging out with Justin was awesome. He is one of the most passionate person I have met about the mountains. We also had a very deep conversation about his recuring dream of being chased in the forrest by werewolves and other magical creatures, jumping off a cliff to escape and stomping his landing everytime! In fact, his dream keeps getting better and better over the years. Everytime the werewolf is chasing him, he doesn’t even bother outrunning it, he goes straight for the cliff because it is just too much fun to fall. This requires skills. In fact, his skills are soooooo great that I am pretty sure Napolean Dynamite was referring to him when he was explaining how girls like guys with skills – werewolf fighting skills, cliff jumping skills, computer skills, editing skills, snowboarding skills, sledding skills, snowball throwing skills – I could go on and on…

Anyway, the point is: keep checking these updates, watch these webisodes and new movie coming out called “Contrast” because shooting with these guys is a BLAST and Nimbus Independent makes some of the best movies out there. You can feel the stoke, the energy and it will make you want to go fight a werewolf with your bare hands.

Nimbus Independent: http://www.nimbusindependent.com/blogs/detail/A-ski-base-with-Matthias-Giraud/66.html

FIRST SKI B.A.S.E. OFF AJAX PEAK IN TELLURIDE, CO ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA

I just got back from travelling through Colorado for the backcountry season. After doing the first descent of the South Face of Engineer Mountain in Durango and the first ski BASE jump off it as well, I got call from my friend Matt Skinner who lives in Telluride. He sent me a picture of Ajax Peak and said “Matty, you have to come over here and do the first ski BASE jump off Ajax. It would be awesome”.

After ploting it for a year, we decided to get it going this spring. I called local ski legend Herb Manning and pro ski mountaineer Kim Havell to see if they wanted to come and help with the project. Both of them were fired up and willing to help.

We spotted a couple cliffs – one off Ajax and one off Ingram. Both faces were right next to each other. After, a couple hours of climbing, we realized that Ingram was a little small so we decided to focus on Ajax.

The cliff was very intimidating with an overhung top and a positive/ angled rock below. We couldn’t get a precise estimate of the height but after throwing a couple rocks, it looked like it would work.

Herb was standing on the edge while Kim was checking out the jump from a side angle and spotting us for potential avalanches or other dangers while climbing.

The wind was perfect as well as the sky and the runway was a little chaotic but doable.

I gave a 3, 2, 1, droping and started skiing towards the edge. It was a bumpy ride but the excitement was at its top. The edge is getting closer and closer and last thing you know, you are flying through the air and you can see your shadow on the rocks several hundred of feet below you.

Once the canopy opened, it was a long ride – over a minute of gliding over looking Telluride in the background.

This jump happened less than 2 weeks after ski legend and BASE jumper Shane McConkey passed away. Shane inspired all of my generation of skiers to take our skiing to the next level. In my case, he made me want to add BASE jumping and follow his foots steps. Shane will always remain a reference and this is why I wanted to dedicate this jump to him. We even named the cliff after him: “Shane’s Cliff”.

This was a great adventure and it gave me many ideas for next season!  I am back in Salt Lake City right now which is my new home and getting ready for more adventures in the Northwest so stay posted! The footage was featured on Good Morning America. This is a great way to show the general public what big mountain skiing is about as well as BASE jumping. This was my second time on the show. You can see last year and this year video segment by clicking on the link below.

Plum TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw52pBgPuHQ
Good Morning America 2008: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4377478
Good Morning America 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBENYzwenZY

FROM THE FRENCH ALPS TO BRITISH COLUMBIA

This season has been a pretty big challenge. On November 28th, I had an accident in Seattle which left me with a collapsed ankle, fractured calcaneus (heel) and a bunch of broken metatarsals. According to the doctors, my season was over before it even started and I should be non-weight bearing for 12 weeks…

Fortunately for me, the beginning of the 08/09 season was pretty dry and the NW did not get much snow on the peaks. But, it wasn’t an excuse to stay at home on the couch eating junk food. I took a bunch of supplements in addition to an all organic diet and healthy meals.

6 weeks later, back in the doctor’s office and the verdict was “start walking with an orthopedic boot, once you feel confortable walking with that, walk with your regular shoes. Once you are comfortable walking with regular shoes, start skiing”. 30 minutes later, I am walking my dogs without crutches and a couple weeks later, the snow started falling again and it was time to go skiing. The first runs were pretty painful but after remolding my intuition liner,everything felt much better.

The NW was still pretty dry and I decided to head to Europe and shoot in the Alps. This season has been really good all over France, Switzerland and Italy. After talking to the sponsors, the plane tickets were taken care of and last thing I know, I am in Megeve, France skiing a foot of fresh powder with Glen Plake and a perfect blue sky.

Brian Robb from Hood River, OR flew over and we shot about 600 pictures everyday. The trip kept getting better and better. After getting all the pictures we needed, we had an 800 foot cliff lined up for a ski BASE. Unfortunately, the weather changed and we got another foot of powder for the last day, wind and flat light. Not good for ski BASE jumping but great for skiing. Brian left the cameras at home and we had an epic day, freeskiing in the Alps.

Right when I get home, I get a call from Albert at I/O Biocompatible to come present my videos and projects during an event called “The Gathering” at Red Mountain, BC with Marko Shapiro, Ace Kvale, John Falkiner, Tom Ericson, Pat Morrow and other young up and coming climbers and photographers. Expecting a fancy event, I call John at Durango TV to put a nice video together for my presentation and hit the road for BC.

This was not what I expected! Red Mountain is totally old school and down to earth! The event turned out to be super low key with only a 100 passionate people coming to share their passion about the mountains and skiing. Guests went from local patrollers to legends such as Eric Pehota.

This event was awesome and very unique. It was organized by skiers, for skiers with a common goal: sharing our love of skiing. I hope this event will become a tradition because it was one of the best moments of the year and to make it even better, we got dumped on and made fresh turns everyday!

This is what I call living the dream and I want to keep living it!

The next session will be at Mt Hood filming some ski BASEing off Mississippi Head and after that, it will be Utah, Southwest Colorado and Washington.

This feels like a short season compared to the last ones but it is for sure an epic one! To all of you out there, keep doing the snow dance for some big spring dumps!

CNN HEADLINE NEWS – BEST OF THE YEAR

2008 has been a very productive year between ski BASE jumping Mt Hood, Engineer Mountain, getting the cover of SKI magazine and getting to do the first BASE jumps with a 360 camera. News to Me on CNN Headline News selected the ski BASE jump segments from this past season for the “Best of the Year”.

I wish you all a great 2009 year. Let’s make it another epic one!

If you would like to see the CNN segment, feel free to click on the link below or visit the Smith Optics website.

CNN : http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2008/04/21/ntm.mt.hood.cnn
Smith Optics: http://www.smithoptics.com/news.html?c=52