“I am made to fly!” Géraldine is like that, veni vidi vici. Nothing is impossible to her, the only limits being the ones imposed by nature. What a joy to hear this woman talk about her passion, her life, her dreams that are gradually coming true as she feels ready to experience them. One of her latest achievement : her Matterhorn flight!
It’s up in the air that I feel well. For me, air has always been a synonym of f lying. Since my childhood I’ve been dreaming of it, and today I made my dream come true. It’s a magical element! When you are given the chance to jump from the summit of a mountain, to glide and navi- gate like a bird, it is quite simply ultra-powerful… For the first seconds you fall, until you feel nature’s support, then you can move and navigate in the air. You can f ly!
The magic of life? A message for humans?
Life is made of encounters, connections. We can fall madly in love with nature, but also while meeting people. That’s the magic of life. If I had to share a message, it would be to never stop dreaming. It’s incredible. I would never have imagined being able to live the life I have today. To ride the summits I’ve ridden, to participate in the Xtreme Verbier, to jump from a plane, to jump from the Matterhorn, it’s amazing! I’m achieving goals that I thought were impossible. But thanks to new equipment and new technology used for wingsuits, it all becomes possible. I remember telling myself once: “Stop dreaming! People can’t f ly!” I was wrong.
How can one get to live such a life?
You just need to believe in it and give yourself a chance to make it happen… By just imagining it or thinking about it, you increase your chances of making it happen. I dedicate my life to my sport, it’s a choice–I am so passionate about what I do… I can’t see myself doing anything else. It’s a lot of work, and a summit like the Matterhorn would never have been achievable without intense daily training.
It was back in 2009 that the idea crossed my mind for the first time, while I was riding its East face. I was telling myself that it would be fantastic to find a starting point on the summit. From there on, I did everything I could to turn this obsession into a reality!
And now, after the Matterhorn?
There are still so many summits I would love to discover and f ly over. I would like to show the whole world that it’s a magical sport. Do you realise? We can f ly nowadays! And when you are well prepared technically, mentally and physically, the joy is infinite! Personally it’s been going for 14 years. It is a sport that requires a lot of commitment. You can’t fall into a routine. That’s why my freeride background really helps. Each jump, day, or downhill is different, and when your goal is to experience maximum freedom and pleasure, you have to be 100% in it! I don’t like scaring myself. At the top of the Matterhorn, I felt good and in my element. I made the most of my f light from start to finish. It was pure elation! And I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much if I hadn’t been ready on all fronts.
The others, the preparations, the jump?
I was surrounded by people I love and trust and with whom I wanted to share the moment. Friends who had enough experience, and I knew that if the conditions were too difficult or the jump too engaged, they wouldn’t take risks. I also knew they would follow me if I wanted to go
down by foot. We had 2 meteorol- ogists and a landing team behind us, people who follow regularly my work and offer assistance for my projects. The possibility that the jump wouldn’t go ahead remained omnipresent. More than a month and a half on stand-by, waiting for optimal weather. On a mountain, we know that every day is a gift.
But that day, everything was in place. No wind, thermal, it was the perfect day! Beforehand, we’d had an exceptional month of April. Great weather and almost no snow on the Matterhorn. Julien, who jumped with me, was saying we weren’t ready techni- cally. So we waited and prepared ourselves even more. Then came May, and it was bad weather, snow, a disaster…
Our dream was slowly disap- pearing before our eyes. We had to wait until the end of May for sunshine to appear again. Then we had a great windless episode at the beginning of June. Green light! The only complication was the snow, which remained at the ridge. 7 h to ascend (2 h more than usual). Quite tired, we decided to stop for a moment to refuel before abseiling 30 m below, underneath the summit for our take-off: 107 metres of vertical. Amazing! I couldn’t believe it, it was practically too easy, a hold-up (laughs)! Now, the moment had come for me to commit. I counted, 5-4-3-2-1… GO!!! Woooow! It was incredible. The Matterhorn’s whole dimension formed underneath me. The route was precise: Start from the East face, then a left turn, passing next to the Solvay hut, diving into the North face, a 180° turn in the middle of it and again overf lying the Hörnli on the East face, passing by my friends in the hut, before I opened my parachute over the foot of the North face. I don’t have enough words to describe this f light. I was so happy! When Julien joined me, we jumped around, rolled in the snow, we couldn’t believe it, and it took us a few days until we realized it!
I think the only limits that exist are the ones imposed by nature. I’m often asked, “when will you grow up?” Hopefully never!
Find what makes you happy.
You know, I don’t think these sensations are exclusive to f lying. Each one of us has to find our own way towards this personal balance. It could be riding, talking with someone or doing yoga. We are all made for something! Finding what makes you happy and what you are passionate about, what creates an all-encompassing sense of joy deep inside of you. Personally, I know I am made to f ly.
It’s vital for my well-being…