Earlier this fall, 12 skiers from around the world came together for the third annual Seb Michaud Invitational in Argentina. For eight days, riders and videographers stayed at a basic hut at 7,500 feet in Valle Hermoso, in the Las Leñas backcountry. During the day, they accessed the surrounding peaks via snowmobile and hiking. Rather than a competition, the event was about friends spending time in the mountains with one goal: to ride aesthetic lines in good snow, and if you watch this video above (much of which is in French -- sorry), you'll see that is just what they did. We caught up with Michaud, 38 and a competitor on the Freeride World Tour, to ask him about the event and his long career as a freeskier.
You just returned to France after a few weeks in Argentina and Chile. What is the best part of getting back to France after traveling in South America?
Well, after 21 days so far from my family the main reason I'm happy to come back to Europe is to be with them in my village La Clusaz.
How did this year's Invitational compare to previous years?
For this, the third edition, we decided to explore Valle Hermoso and take advantage of the good snow base at 2,200 meters high. And we were lucky. We found and skied a lot of good lines with 50 centimeters new snow during two big days. The nights were cold but the atmosphere was hot. They all want to come back for the next edition.
You are well known for your career in freeride competitions, but the Seb Michaud Invitational is not a competition. Are you tired of competing? What are the benefits of this type of event?
My mentality is still the same: I like to compete but the rest of my body tells me stop or go easy this time. The snow is not good enough to push the limit. Seriously, I like competing -- for me it's a big show of our discipline. This Invitational is a return to the basics -- no ranking, no stress the night before, just have fun and ski with friends. It's an event where all we need to do is come back with footage for our partners and sponsors, that is the only stress we have.
You've been doing freeride competitions and filming for years. Do you have any tips for avoiding injuries and staying healthy?
Ski, sex and rock 'n' roll help me a lot. But, seriously, I try to stay in good condition all along the year. I practice mountain biking, trekking, climbing and surfing. Those sports help me for mental focus and physical preparation. But with my age, it takes me longer to come back when I injure myself.
Who do you think will win the Freeride World Tour this year?
I will be in Chamonix for the first stop of the FWT 2012 and may be at the final in Verbier three months later, so why not me? Otherwise I put $100 on Jeremy Prévost.