Antoine Montant was lost this weekend in a tragic accident on the Haut-Savoie section of the French Alps. The 30 year old action sports star is best known for his innovative blending of multiple mountain sports disciplines. Never one to follow the crowd, Antoine took his love of the mountain sports and skiing to higher realms to become a passionate speed-skier, which is a combination paragliding and skiing. He flourished in the niche sport, performing unreal spectacles in competitions and just for the fun of it.
Red Bull released a statement yesterday detailing the loss of one of their most innovative athletes. While details are still scarce, it is being reported that he was found on Sunday after being reported missing by his girlfriend. It appeared that his parachute was not deployed, however local authorities are still investigating the situation before any solid details can be discussed.
Antoine grew up in Lake Geneva and in the nearby Alps. He came from a long line of sportsmen, and learned everything he knew about the mountain from his older brother Valéry Montant, who was a highly experienced hang-glider and para-glider. Valery was also lost in an eerily similar tragedy back in 2006.
While he enjoyed a variety of mountain sports disciplines, Antoine’s core passion was for the mountains themselves. Regardless of the means of ascent and descent, he loved being in nature and high altitude exploration. His talent was matched only by his imagination for ways to get back down to the valley floor. Antoine was first and foremost an inventor. He liked finding unlikely routes and blending types.
As a result of his innovation and creativity, Antoine Montant became the first man to combine acrobatic paragliding and skydiving in one spectacular jump as he performed a series of Infinity tumbles before jettisoning his para-glider in mid-flight and skydiving back down to the ground.
One of the most stunning documentations of his brilliance on the mountain was the video of Antoine Montant flying over a huge avalanche on the north face of Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. The awe-inspiring segment earned the Best P.O.V Award during the latest Powder Video Awards in Aspen.
To those that knew him best, Antoine will forever be remembered as a tireless adventurer whose core passion in life was enjoy the mountains while inventing new ways to conquer them. Antoine once said. “I’d like to do more to get the word out on this way of mixing: freeriding, steep slope skiing and speed riding.”
It will now be up to a new generation to continue this legacy. To push the boundaries of speed-skiing, and dare to attempt the unthinkable.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the Montant family. The world, and the action sports community have suffered an incredible loss — one that will not soon be healed.