With her eyes fixed on the mountains and an ever-present smile, Sophie Lechasseur ran towards her dream of skiing. Every day, every slope; following the snow where it fell to leave only her tracks behind
Saint- Rivière du Loup in Quebec
Just outside of her home in Saint- Rivière du Loup, Quebec, sits the Club du Mont-Saint-Mathieu. It was here at an altitude of 190 meters, that Sophie discovered the passion that would fuel her fire to explore the world on skis. As she progressed in the world of ski racing, winning each race she entered from the age of five, Sophie fell in love with speed and skiing quickly became her sole focus.
But while her times astonished her coaches and she reached the FISE National Top 15, Sophie still found herself searching for more.
"No money, no extra coaching, no national competition"
“At 18, I had to face facts. No money, no extra coaching, no national competition let alone at the international level. But with the benefit of hindsight, I’m proud of my loyalty to my unknown little regional club.”
So after finishing her studies and coaching children at her local club, Sophie made the decision to chase her dream to explore the world on skis. She would follow the storm cycles, finally landing in Whistler, British Columbia – the legendary birthplace of freeride in North America. Then after five seasons of skiing with her new English-speaking friends (who she didn’t always understand) Sophie made her way back to school.
“I didn’t want to end up a ski bum so I returned to my studies to become a primary school teacher in 2007, with the hopes of landing a job teaching in Whistler”.
“These years were really good fun!” Back in class on her own terms, and always with an eye on the weather, these were magical years for Sophie. She always made time to get out on the deepest days, devouring powder days like poutine after a long fast.
Then in the winter of 2014-15, Sophie found her way to France. And what was supposed to be a three-week visit, instead turned into her new home.
“In Whistler, there was a language barrier for me. But in France, from the moment I arrived, I was adopted and taken everywhere, to dozens of spots. From there on living in France became my main goal. I couldn’t leave.”
In this sprawling new playground Sophie discovered ski mountaineering, giving her another angle of attack and allowing her to make the most of her time in the mountains. The steep slopes and unlimited options in terrain were dizzying.
“I wanted to discover the couloirs, the technique of climbing with ropes, skiing incredible powder like we never see at home. And the ease of getting to the mountains. Two hours on the road and you’re in the mountains where you can move between France, Switzerland and Italy! It’s magic.”
In the summer of 2016, and already in love with the country, Sophie settled in the Tarentaise valley where she has built her homebase. Hiking and skiing in the winter, cycling in summer, testing and training both physically and mentally for every new objective. She travels to surrounding countries like Georgia and Norway, studying routes and exploring new objectives.
Happy and content in her new adoptive home, Sophie looks out her window to the towering French Alps. As the seasons shift and the majestic peaks around her turn white, her eyes shine brightly. She’s thinking of the adventures that await, and the stories still waiting to unfold, her dreams now coming clearly into focus.