Instructor Profile: Mattieu Chapon

Name: Mattieu Chapon

Mattieu ‘Chaps’

Nationality: French
Nickname: Chaps
Resort: La Plagne
Teaches: Skiing and snowboarding
Favourite skis: CoreUPT Pow Candide Thovex – These are backcountry skis and I love them. They are great for jumping and going fast through the trees, they also have a pretty cool design. Candide Thovex is a French skier who specialises in freestyle and freeride.
Favourite piste in La Plagne: Les Inversens down from the Roche de Mio. It’s the best red run in town!

Favourite place to ski on days off: Off piste (obviously) off the glacier, the North Face, Friolin, anywhere natural so I can feel at one with nature 😉
Dream ski destination: I would really like to go to Alaska or New Zealand and do some heli-skiing as it would be amazing! It’s a shame that in France you are not allowed to heliski, however we’re quite lucky as we’re very close to Italy and it’s allowed there. I’ve done it before but not for a long time so I want to relive it a bit.

‘Being an instructor was always a dream of mine’

Favourite food: Fillet de boeuf with a morel (mushroom) sauce… It’s a very special sauce!
When did you learn to ski? I learnt when I was 2 and a half with my Dad in Les Estables, Auvergne. This is where I grew up and I have some fond memories. It’s a very, very small resort with only 3 drag lifts and, I think, 8 slopes. My Dad was a children’s instructor and he is the reason I love skiing so much now… Thanks Dad.
Why did you become a ski instructor? Being an instructor was always a dream of mine. I went to school and studied all the way up until I got my master in management. Then one day I thought this is not for me, so I stopped everything to follow my heart. Les Estables it is such a small resort it just didn’t seem possible for me to become an instructor there, however I moved to La Plagne and I have loved every moment.
How long have you been in La Plagne? This is my 5th year here.
Which is your favourite restaurant in La Plagne? If I have to choose a restaurant I would say the Grizzli in Plagne Village. But if you want to eat well ‘chez moi’ (my place) is the best, I love to cook!

Freeride time

What’s the best thing about your job? I love the contact we have with people and it’s great that I can give my passion for skiing to others. I am outside all the time and it’s not stressful in comparison to my previous job in management.
… and the worst? Cold and rain, we want sunshine all the time!
Which are your favourite lessons to teach? Beginners as they are the ones who finish the week with the biggest improvement. You see their expressions change every day and it’s just so rewarding. I must say though I couldn’t do just beginners as I need the faster lessons to break up the week and give a good mix.
What’s your worst memory as a ski instructor? 22nd March 2009. I was training on the Stade in Plagne Centre for an exam in giant slalom and I fell. It was towards the end of the season and the snow was slushy, both skis went in different directions and didn’t fall off so one of my knees twisted. After that I had to have rehabilitation for 1 year… Now it is as good as new (thankfully).

Fly fishing – I love it!

What are your other hobbies besides skiing? Fly fishing – I love it! I started when I was young with my Dad. We would wander through the forest near where we lived looking for the best spot.
What do you do in summer? After the season finishes, for 8 years now, I’ve done the security on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s great fun and we see lots of celebrities. My favourite has to be Monica Bellucci as she gave me a kiss one year! Otherwise I’ve been a life guard in Corsica and a chef.
Summer or winter? Winter it has to be! The snow, the skiing and the mountains, we’re all small parts in the bigger picture…


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