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The Ski and Snowboard Short Break Specialist

Every year the last Sunday in April heralds the end of the winter ski season in La Clusaz. The ski lifts are all free for the day and the majority of skiers wear fancy dress, creating a real party atmosphere. As the snow is getting quite slushy by then most people ski in the morning and then head to the lake at les Confins for a barbeque lunch and the event of the afternoon – the Defi Foly, or in English ‘Crazy Challenge’.

The Defi Foly sees over a hundred competitors trying to break the record in the distance ‘waterskied’ across the lake at les Confins. Entering via a steep run-in, the entrants try to stay upright as they traverse the lake at up to 100 kilometres an hour, using wide skis, monoboards or snowboards to give as much surface area as possible on hitting the lake.

The thrill of this as a spectator sport is, of course, the spectacular crashes when competitors get the entry to the lake wrong. The theatre of seeing a mad skier cartwheel his way across the lake at speed whilst losing skis, poles and goggles along the way to sink into oblivion at the bottom of the lake is truly second to none (clarification – despite Jess’ poetic imagery, rest assured that all competitors are actually fished out by safety boats! – Tom).

Best of all, to watch such a thing whilst basking in the sun with a burger in one hand and a beer in the other really makes one feel on holiday (albeit in a small parochial village in the mountains where one has to take amusement where one can find it!)

So this year the K-team headed up to Confins armed with blankets, charcoal and cool boxes full of enough food and booze to keep us going well into the small hours. The event got going as the barbie heated up, and we were kept well amused by the competitors, a paragliding stunt display over the lake and the great company of friends who we hadn’t seen all season, being the hermits that we all are during winter. It was a real emergence from winter to spring, the rebirth of our social lives, the first flip-flops and shorts outing and the chance to really let our hair down with friends.

And best of all there was a new Defi Foli champion! The previous winner, 3 times champion Freddy Quenet, was beaten with a new record of 155metres by Phillipe Troubert.

The only way to truly understand this event is to see it for yourselves here, on the Defi Foly page on You Tube.

And finally, just to say well done JR for your fine attempts on your snowboard – good effort!