As you have probably already read through various internet sources – a ski mountaineering legend Stephane Brosse died yesterday (June 17, 2012) during a fast mission traverse of the entire Mont Blanc massive. He was accompanied by Kilian Jornet.
I don’t want to discuss details of the accident here, there is plenty of that elsewhere. All I want to do is to introduce him to people that started participating in or following rando racing after he retired from the sport. And pay a small tribute to him.
Stephane had a massive influence on the racing community along with his teams race partner Pierre Gignoux (the maker of the now famous carbon boots). They were fast, hungry, and brought so much innovation to ski mountaineering on many levels.
Here is a beautiful example of that – arguably the most fluent skimo transition ever made – while racing Utah’s Powder Keg in 2005:
Stephane won everything there is to win in skimo racing – World Champs, Pierra Mentas, the old classics (Mezzalama, Patrouille) and too many others to mention.
However, I will remember Stephane as the guy that climbed from Chamonix to top of Mt Blanc and skied back in only 5h 15min! He did this with Pierre Gignoux. (Wikipedia states they did it in 2007 but I think it was earlier.)
Fortunately, these days, the skimo world has as influential person as Stephane was, and I don’t think it was any coincidence they became ski partners. But it is very sad that “the passing of the crown” to Kilian had to happen under such tragic circumstances.
No one is invincible, and nothing is for granted. But that is precisely what makes life worth living. Because it applies both to life as being physically alive and healthy as well as to making us reach for our dreams – we can’t try to fulfill them just at our wish, and it is not granted we will even touch them.
My best wishes to Stephane’s family and friends.