15.01
2018 Lifestyle

Antoine Diet, from Val Thorens is a freeski programme manager & co-owner of Le Crewzer.
 
Growing up I felt like the luckiest boy alive. I skied every day and the days seemed endless. When the snow was fresh I used to go to school by sledge. I’d jump off my balcony into the snow and go and meet my friends.
Life is simple here, in the best possible way. You can make a business from your passion. I skied from a young age and I was a ski instructor by the time I was 17. I was a professional skier for a while, in freestyle and freeride, but now I prefer to turn my attention to the next generation.
 
I teach children freestyle skiing and share my love of shredding the mountains with them. I run the Early Camp, a freeski programme across the Belleville Valley, which includes Val Thorens, Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville. It’s one of the biggest training set up in the Alps and we get some of the best riders in France here to learn new tricks and fine-tune their existing ones.
Showing kids how to land their first backflips is the best thing ever. When I was a child I didn't have a coach or any support really; it's great how things have changed.
 
By day I teach freestyle but by night I flip burgers and sell beer in my new bar Le Crewser. I set it up with friends and the vibe is good as we’re all locals. It’s popular with the best freeskiers and snowboarders in Val Thorens but we like to welcome new visitors too.
 
The pace of life in the resort is nice and slow but it attracts a lot of interesting people who share a love of the mountains, which makes it an easy place to be creative and start a business or two. Especially for those of us that know the place and the people here really well. I’m part of a new breed of mountain entrepreneurs. I’m 30 but being young hasn’t held me back.
Val Thorens is a cocoon. I feel at home everywhere in the resort, I know everyone, and I feel safe.
I was hiking through a forest once and one of our friends got lost. We eventually found him but not until 4 am. It made me realise friendship is the most important thing, more than skiing even.
Living in the mountains makes you tough and that resilience helps when it comes to your work life. But we also know how to have a lot of fun too.
 
The North Caron face is my favourite spot. The snow stays fresh for a long time there and it's easy to reach the top by cable car. There are so many different good ways down jumpy-pump runs, steeps, couloirs…
Life is different now from when I was a kid but it still revolves around these amazing mountains and I continue to feel like the luckiest person alive. Val Thorens is my home. I was born here and I’ll die here. It’s hard to say where I start and the mountains end.
Val Thorens is my home. I was born here and I’ll die here.

Photos : Alexander J Collins.

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