Extreme Skier Antoine Montant dies in French Alps

French extreme sports star Antoine Montant was killed in a tragic accident on the weekend.

Antoine reportedly died in a BASE jumping accident in the Collet d’Anterne region of the Haute Savoie in the French Alps near the town of Sixt-Fer-À-Cheval. Antoine had been missing since Friday, October 21st, 2011. His body was recovered today, Sunday, October 23rd, 2011. It’s believed that his parachute failed to open while wingsuit BASE jumping.

Antoine was one of the most accomplished athletes in his sport. Born into a family of sportsmen, Antoine grew up in the wide open country between the Lake Geneva and the Alps, and learned to ski from the moment he could walk. He soon got a taste of the wealth of outdoor activities that such an open environment offered.

Antoine’s incredible video of rail sliding the old cable car in Chamonix while speed flying.

Antoine was just nine years old when his older brother, Valéry, an experienced hanggliding and paragliding pilot and a pioneer in speed riding who was killed in an accident in 2006, introduced him to paragliding. He instantly caught the bug and soon became an experienced pilot. After becoming a certified instructor in skiing and paragliding, his love of the mountains and his insatiable appetite for thrills led him to the top of these two sports.

What he loved most of all was to be in the mountains, climbing up the slopes ready to make his descent by whatever means available: extreme skiing, base jumping or speed riding.

His talent was matched only by his imagination for ways to get back down to the valley floor. Even though he achieved some amazing feats, Antoine’s exploits in alpine skiing were not widely known. But unlike many extreme skiing purists, Antoine was first and foremost an inventor. He liked finding unlikely routes and blending types.

“I started out on skis but I made my name in acro paragliding, because there’s more room in that than in skiing, and yet I spend 80% of my winter skiing,” Antoine once said. “I’d like to do more to get the word out on this way of mixing: freeriding, steep slope skiing and speed riding.”

A tireless adventurer, Antoine Montant continued to explore the high mountains, and to invent new ways of tackling them.