Ear to the ground

“I’m waiting for the death by marijuana ice cream. I pretty sure someone’s out there trying to eat himself to death.”

– A local woman commenting on a potential side-effect of the local medicinal movement

Big air time

A one-time Durangoan has gone viral. Matthias Giraud, a Fort Lewis College alum and veteran of these pages, “has invaded your YouTube account.” The French skier/BASE jumper’s video, “Avalanche Cliff Jumping,” is all over the web and picked up more than 250 million hits in just its first three days online.

When in Durango, Giraud made a name for himself by skiing and BASE jumping off of the southern face of Engineer Mountain. In spite of the obvious peril of the jump, he described BASE jumping as a most relaxing experience when interviewed by the Telegraph back in ’07.

“It is the balance of being aware of the danger and maintaining a calm confidence,” he said, adding that he had aspirations of becoming a stunt man.

This winter, Giraud pulled off the ultimate stunt, outskiing an avalanche on the Aiguille Croche in France and then parachuting off a massive cliff at its base. Giraud’s friend Stefan Laude filmed the event from his paraglider. When asked by ESPN what it feels like to be “famous on the internet,” Giraud replied, “Well, I think it’s pretty cool to be able to give ski BASE jumping the exposure it deserves. I am really happy to be able to share my passion and view of the mountains with the rest of the world.”

In the interview, Giraud also gave a big plug to D-town. “Luckily, I had the opportunity to transfer to Fort Lewis College in Durango in 2004. I didn’t even know what Durango looked like but knowing that I could go to school in the Rockies and ski epic pow 20 minutes away sounded like a dream,” he said. “So, I packed up my stuff and left.”

After graduating, Giraud moved to Salt Lake City, “a place where I could jump off stuff easily and also ski.”

To check the video, log onto YouTube.com and search for “Avalanche Cliff Jumping.”

Dawn to dusk with Phil

Can you stand 12 hours of Phil? Dozens of Durango riders are betting they can. The 12 Hours of Mesa Verde bike race returns to the Phil’s World trail system on May 7.

Riders on four-person, male teams have their work cut out for them. A “Local Legends” squad, comprised of four Mountain Bike Hall of Famers Dave Wiens, Travis Brown, Daryl Price and John Tomac will be returning to the start line this year (Even better, all of their wives are also racing on a team, to be known as the “Better Halves”). In addition, the squad that beat the Local Legends will be back. Team Directory Plus/Trek, which won the 12-hour race by just 2 minutes last year, will be charging at the starting gun.

Racing runs from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and begins and ends at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, just east of Cortez. All proceeds benefit the Montezuma County Partners.




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows