2018 Lifestyle

Enak Gavaggio, is a freeride ski champion from Les Arcs.
You don’t need to be a professional skier or an instructor or guide to enjoying the sheer power of the mountains. To be by yourself and lost in a moment while skiing or snowboarding is a fantastic sensation. You can feel the force of the snow underneath you and you either feel like the strongest person on earth or the most vulnerable. Anyone can experience that.
The mountains around Les Arcs are incredible because they’re so varied. Whatever mood you’re in they’ll make you feel good. They’ll offer you a path or piste, a way to express yourself. I arrived here 20 years ago and didn’t want to leave.
Everything is surrounded by the mountains here. I love being in the valley, having my breakfast and looking up at the mountain peaks. I also love being almost at the summit, relaxing on a high-altitude restaurant, gazing far away into the distance.
I know I have an unusual job. With my ski movie parts, X Games medals and other contest results you only see the finished product and not what’s happening underneath the surface. It might look like I’m on holiday all the time, but it’s not like that at all. To live your passion is actually quite a tough job. The stress, the challenges along the way and to have to restart from zero every year. You really have to have your heart in it. But naturally, I consider myself a very privileged person because I have a job that I really enjoy. I feel very lucky and it’s important not to spoil it.
The special thing about our jobs is that we’re all trying to tell the story of our mountains. But no one has the same story. The mountains inspire different people in different ways. We live at the heart of an ever-changing world, and it’s soothing.
I know these mountains off by heart but they can always surprise you. Several times I’ve gone off to scout a location for a shoot or to check the snow and got completely lost. That is part of their magic, they’re bigger than you think. But the hard to reach spots are some of my favourite places, they’re for when you feel like being alone. 
Occasionally, I’ll go off to find a certain line, somewhere quite remote and I’ll bump into someone I’ve never met before. It’s like two wolf packs meeting. I have so many questions: “Are they like me? How did they find this? Where are they going?” and I’m sure they’re asking the same questions of me too.
We are earth-bound, designed to walk; we see the world through our eyes at a human height. To really appreciate and understand the mountains you have to go off an experience it from the sky. You have to go parapenting.
There hasn’t been one single thing that has kept me in Les Arcs for all this time, more a multitude. The people, the mountains, the ambience, the playground, the climate…There is a special chemistry that only exists in the Alps. The risk was to stay for one month, as after that I only ever wanted to be in Les Arcs.
It might look like I’m on holiday all the time, but it’s not like that at all.
Photos : Alexander J Collins.
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