#TheFirstSecond by Géraldine Fasnacht:  bird woman and poet
BASE jump
Thursday, 14 June 2018

#TheFirstSecond by Géraldine Fasnacht: bird woman and poet

Putting on goggles or sunglasses is the last thing to do before setting off. It's the gateway into our own little "bubble". That special private moment, full of emotion and a sense of being super-present, is what we could call "The First Second". It tells the story of each individual above and beyond the athlete.


#TheFirstSecond by Géraldine Fasnacht: bird woman and poet

 "I'm an artist, I draw lines"

When Geraldine the bird woman puts on her goggles, we know the images of the pink wingsuit will be more akin to poetry than adrenaline! You have several snowboarding world champion titles and more than 3,200 jumps to your name, but in the beginning, How did you decide to make snowboarding and flying the focus of your life?

Géraldine: "I dreamt of it as a little girl. I discovered snowboarding at the age of eight and I imagined being a surfer who could ride a wave for an eternity. Young, you have 360° vision and no barriers. I always told myself that I didn't want to grow up; the older you get, the more walls you build, and the more you end up stopping yourself from living. 

My parents brought me up with the outlook that nothing is predetermined, you should follow your dreams and be passionate about what you do."


After winning several snowboarding titles, why switch from snow to the air?

Géraldine: “I started parachuting in 1998 and base jumping in 2001, and at that time I didn't yet have any snowboard titles. I was looking for a summer sport that would bring me as much happiness and excitement as snowboarding and would make me want to get into the mountains. I came across some pictures of base jumping and it seemed to have the same vision of sport as snowboarding: climb a fantastic peak, wait for the right conditions, soak up the elements, enter a state of calm, get your gear on and then fly your line like you fly on snow. I'm an artist, I draw lines. Flying, riding, following the curves of the mountain as closely as possible and playing with the light – it's a kind of poetry. But it's also communion with nature: the walk-in, the approach, the animals, the summit and finally the line you take.”


You don't talk about wingsuit flying as it's portrayed in the media...

Géraldine: “For me it's a super-gentle sport, where you need to totally know yourself and what you're capable of. I'm not a stuntwoman. Of course, at times I've thought: I can do anything, there are absolutely no limits, after a successful flight. When you're a professional athlete, you can very easily "levitate." In those states where you feel invincible, it's absolutely essential to come back down to earth before jumping again. You need to gain some time and distance. It’s a sport where you can’t afford to make a mistake. I also have lots of friends outside my specialty which allows me to have other interests and a normal life. So I've always been able to keep my feet on the ground as I live through my adventures.”


For you, is it all about balance, a well-thought-out approach?

Géraldine: “I do this sport when I'm feeling really good. People often wonder if you have to be "crazy" to do it. No, it's just the opposite! You have to be really together. Before each flight, I calculate a trajectory. I memorize it, I repeat it several times in my head until I know it by heart. I know exactly where I'm going to land, I have “emergency landing spots”, there's no sense of discovering the unknown. It's all about preparation and anticipation, like a pilot preparing their plane before takeoff.”


Tell us what it's like just before you jump, when you lower your goggles.

Géraldine: “It's the last thing I do after all my checks, and then I'm in my world! It's my minute just for me. I'm in my own little bubble, nothing else exists any more. All I can hear is the noise of nature, the wind, the snow flying. When I'm at the summit, ready, I know I'm in the right place! Happiness is living in the present moment.”


Géraldine Fasnacht:

With several snowboarding world champion titles, more than 3200 jumps, and a number of wingsuit and base jumping world firsts, Géraldine brings poetry in motion to her sport: "I'm an artist, I draw lines"

Team present in the article

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