December 2009 Edition
If you want to know how courage looks, then take a look at Matthias Giraud, also known as "Super Frenchie", who certainly knows how to live life to the fullest. Matthias has had an amazing career as a pro- athlete and there are no signs of him stopping anytime soon. He has mastered Skiing, skydiving, BASE jumping, surfing, and skating to name a few. Junior's Cave Sports recently spoke with Matthias who was kind enough to let us enter into his world. Here is what formulated.
Isaac: Thank you for taking the time to complete an online interview with our magazine. I wanted to first start off by asking you to briefly give some background about yourself. I read in your bio from your official website that you were born in Normandie (geographical region - situated along the coast of France south of the English Channel) on September 24 1983. Elaborate on how you first begin to have an interest in skiing.
Matthias: Well, according to my parents, I started skiing right after I started walking. I was about 18 months old. I was very fortunate to have a family house in the French Alps, in St Gervais Mont Blanc, 30 minutes away from Chamonix. I skied only about 30-40 days a year. When I turned 8, my parents moved to Avignon, in Provence, which was much closer to the Alps (only 4 hours). At 11, I really started focusing on competing and entered a team. We took off every week end at 3 a.m., drove to our races and came back at 12 a.m. I went everywhere from the Pyrenees to the Northern and Southern Alps. It was a crazy schedule but it was the only way to live my passion as much as possible.
Isaac: At the age of 13, you moved to St. Gervais to go to school where you begin to heavily compete. Describe some of the important lessons about the love of skiing you lived from your time at St. Gervais?
Matthias: Moving to St Gervais at 13 was a scary move but I needed to follow my passion. Some of the lessons I learned were to never give up until you pass the finish line, to focus on your goals to achieve them, and more importantly to find out what is the meaning of your existence. Skiing became more than a sport; it became something spiritual, a religion. A true passion is the meaning of life.
Isaac: At 15, you completely stopped racing and entered a Freeride team in Saint Gervais. What made you to decide to stop racing and entered a Freeride team in Saint Gervais. Elaborate to our readers what is a Freedride team.
Matthias: When I moved to St Gervais, I realized a few things. First, I wasn't the strongest or best racer. Second, I started skiing more in the backcountry and out of bounds and third, I started snowboarding a lot. I understood that I would never be on the National French Ski Team and that I liked jumping of cliffs and hitting big jumps a lot more than hitting gates. Snowboarding opened my eyes a lot as well. I could suddenly read the mountain in a different way and ski different lines but I didn't want to stop skiing. Freeriding was the logical outcome. It means exploiting every feature on the terrain and using it to your advantage. In other words, freeriding means skiing anywhere, any time and trying to make it look good! You end up jumping cliffs, cornices, going doing steep couloirs etc. I had the technical background from racing to ski anything and I learned a bunch of tricks through snowboarding. I started throwing frontflips, backflips, 360s, 540s in the park and off cliffs. It was like a revelation. It opened my eyes to the infinity of things that could be done in the mountains. Entering a freeride team helped me do more competitions, learn from other skiers, and push myself against other freeriders.
Isaac: For those of our readers at Junior's Cave Online Magazine who do not know what it means to BASE JUMP, please enlighten them.
Matthias: B.A.S.E jumping means jumping off Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges) and Earth (cliffs) with a parachute. It was one of my dreams since I was 9 years old. I started with skydiving at 22 to learn how to fly a parachute and did my first B.A.S.E jumps at 24. Skiing and BASE jumping have a lot in common and are perfectly compatible. Skiing with a parachute on your back helps you ride even more lines that could not be done otherwise.
Isaac: You have had your share of injuries. Name some of your biggest injuries that you have had and the healing process that it took to recovery from them.
Matthias: I broke my sternum 4 times and blew my knee twice (ACL, meniscus, femur micro fracture and tibia plateau fracture). Injuries are not fun! It is kind of a dumb statement but you really realize how much it sucks when it happens. My last injury took a year to heal and a lot of PT (Physical Therapy), rehab and training. It makes you think more about what you are doing once you get back on skis - paying more attention to the snow conditions, the weather, how you feel physically and mentally etc.
Isaac: You attended business school right after high school which gave you the opportunity to receive your ski instructor license and start teaching. How rewarding has it been to teach others what you love to do?
Matthias: Teaching skiing helped me rediscover the sport. It is very rewarding when you see someone being stoked on their first turns, first jumps, and discovering the feeling of pure speed with no engines. Being able to mentor someone and transmit your passion is really cool!
Isaac: You have participated in some big events such as SNOW & D.J'S to gain more exposure. How have these exposure helped you with your career?
Matthias: Exposure is key when you are a pro athlete. Competitions, magazines, TV and Internet help share your love of the sport with others. I consider it an honor to be an ambassador of the sport. It is also how you can give exposure to your sponsors, take your career to the next level to achieve more goals and come up with new projects and challenges.
Isaac: You finally got an opportunity to attend college in which you graduated Magna Cum Laude in Business Administration and Resort and Tourism Management on December 2006. Describe how this came about and your experience while in college?
Matthias: After blowing my knee for the first time, I realized I needed a back up plan in case I lost pro skiing someday. I entered a business school in France and then transferred to Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. I moved there because I could get a business degree while skiing almost everyday and also getting business experience by working at the local ski area. Moreover, Fort Lewis has a Tourism program. It is a wonderful time! I felt like I was on vacation for three years straight, had great teachers and lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
Isaac: Was it hard to leave France behind you at the age of twenty? How was it been since you left France?
Matthias: Living France was not easy but it was very exciting. I liked challenges in life and restarting from scratch in a new country was a very cool experience. It was probably the best decision in my life. 3 months after I moved I ended up sponsored from head to toes, I met my wife, turned pro, got a college degree, learned skydiving and BASE jumping. What else can I say? Leaving France helped me turn most of my dreams into reality! No regrets!
Isaac: What is your overall mission in life?
Matthias: My overall mission in life is to be able to do it all. I believe that life is a whole! Being able to live my passion makes me happy and therefore makes me a better person. But, it also implies being able to balance your passion with your personal life, your family and your friends.
Isaac: What legacy would you like to leave behind?
Matthias: Most people don't have a meaning to their lives and I think it is incredibly sad. I am very lucky to have passions and I think more people need true passions. If I can inspire people to get off the couch and have the courage to realize their dreams, I would be extremely satisfied!
Isaac: Final Thoughts:
Matthias: Don't be afraid to live your dreams, nothing is holding you back, and thanks for the interview! Come check out my website at http://www.matthiasgiraud.com.
Matthias Giraud's Links
Matthias Giraud on MySpace
Matthias Giraud Official Website
Photos used in this story were provided by Matthias Giraud.