Offbeat Video

By Jack Williams


This heart-racing footage captures the moment a fearless skier shot off the edge of a cliff, only to suddenly paragliding into the mountain depths below.

The stunning first-person video had added suspense, too, as skier Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton’s parachute could barely be seen during his approach to the edge, appearing as though it is too late to save himself.

PIC BY MATTHEW DIEUMEGARD-THORNTON / CATERS

Having taken off, Matthew, 27, proceeded to glide for more than four minutes, conveniently coming to a stop right next to a lodge thousands of feet below his starting point.

The video was shot on the Aiguille Du Midi mountain in the Mount Blanc massif, the French Alps, in August 2017.

The sport itself, known as “speed riding,” remains fairly under the radar, Matthew said.

Matthew, who is from Lincolnshire, UK, added: “Generally, there are no rules.

“Having lived in Scotland for a number of years, there is nothing quite like the freedom of skiing up a mountain and then flying back down.

PIC BY MATTHEW DIEUMEGARD-THORNTON / CATERS

“Subconsciously, most sports fans will have seen a speed riding or flying clip on YouTube; however, in terms of actual participation, the sport has quite high barriers to entry including the cost of equipment and the actual knowledge required to be successful speed wing pilots.

“Generally these two sports are very separate, but given the right conditions, there’s nothing quite like finishing a climb yet knowing the best bit is still to come; the feeling of running down a mountainside at full sprint, only for your little wing to pick you off the snow and send you hurdling down to the warm alpine meadow a few thousand metres below.”

“You get to the bottom of the mountain so quickly that speed riding is much less of a spectator sport and much more a personal experience.

“When you stand on the mountain ready to ski off the edge of a cliff, you are alone with only your decisions to guide your next move. When you reach the valley floor, you will have reached terra firma under your own guidance and expertise, something I never fail to cherish when my feet touch the ground.”