Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s just Fred in his wingsuit. Had you been skiing (we wish!) Val d’Isere’s notorious Face de Bellevarde last weekend, you’d have been in for a bit of shock. An upward glance could easily have put you off your stride and sent you tumbling down the steepest pitch – what locals call Lemmings’ Leap.
Skydiver, Fred Fugen, took the skies above the famous black run that’s the setting for one of the toughest Downhill racecourses on the FIS World Cup skiing circuit. Fred, who comes from Annecy in France, is a leading member of the Red Bull-sponsored Soul Flyers team. With his friend and team mate, Vince Reffet, he’d always planned to wing the 2830m Face de Bellevarde this winter. The idea was to surprise and delight the skiers down below who daily tackle the demanding slope, showing them that there’s no limit to what can be achieved in this glorious mountain setting.
The pair carried out a detailed recce in Val d’Isere last July, and were ready to go this winter. But sadly, just four months later in November, Vince was killed in a training accident in Dubai. On a perfect bluebird day, Fred took the decision to go it alone as a tribute to his late partner, even though the lifts were closed because of the Covid-19 crisis and the run was consequently devoid of skiers.
Born out of tragedy, it was a flight of hope for wintersports in Val d’Isere and across the world.
The video was shot by Vincent Cotte in a wingsuit and Dino Raffault (Supersize Films) on skis.