How One Mountain Biker Chases Maximum Stoke by Riding Down a Waterfall

Tignes, France—an enclave of 5 villages within the French Alps close to the Italian border—is greatest referred to as a ski town, and no shock. In spite of everything, excessive above Tignes sits the 11,995-foot Grande Motte Glacier, one in all a handful of spots within the Alps the place you may ski effectively into summer season.

However yearly, because the temperatures rise and the slopes slowly soften, the city additionally turns into a sizzling spot for mountain bikers, as Nick Gowan can attest. The driving is so good that Gowan, who grew up in Scotland and has frolicked in Antigua, Greece, and Turkey, determined to open an outfitting service right here in 2009.

Tignes has no scarcity of trails, however a waterfall captured Gowan’s curiosity maybe essentially the most. Its identify: Le Voile de la Mariée, or the veil of the bride. Gowan knew that the glacial waters which circulate down the waterfalls’ sloped, rocky sides would make for a precarious trip.

Nonetheless, he recollects, “I’d been looking at this waterfall for many years, wondering if it was possible.”

One latest June day, he determined to see for himself. He and French photographer Tristan Lebeschu frolicked scouting the perfect route earlier than Gowan dropped in. “It was a wee bit scary since it was so slippery,” he says. “There was a high chance of going for a swim.”


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