Ultraravis is an epic tale about what makes home “home”, and about how to find it out living the moment.
For the native, Thibault Pollet Villard from La Clusaz in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in South-Eastern France, it was more about the journey than the destination, when he set off last Saturday morning 15th August from his hometown village, he had a story to tell. The 110km route traversing through some of the toughest and technical terrain covered over 9500mD+ along the ridges of the mountains surrounding this unique basin.
Given the name Ultraravis, he wanted to tell the story about what makes ¨home¨ for him and most importantly how to live in the very moment. He recruited one of his close community groups; Les Vieux Garçons, to join with him over sections of the route to support him as pacers and share this incredible experience. The Aravis based crew of skiers, is also a group of close childhood friends all from the same region, of whom Thibault wanted to share more great memories with.
"These are my training grounds summer and winter and it made sense to link these Skyrunning terrains to create a project. It's been years of training and big dreams, with spectacular scenery that made this idea mature. This particular year with the lack of competition only made the realization of the project a reality".
"I was very moved and happy to be in the centre of my village and to feel supported in my epic adventure".
The support on route made it even more special with the reuniting of a group of friends to help Thibault achieve his dream.
"At first, it was a surprise to see so many people gathered around this project, people not only from the village but athletes and other people who were simply passionate about this challenge. I was very moved and happy to be in the centre of my village and to feel supported in my epic adventure."
Not only a beautiful route with amazing views, the terrain was extremely challenging with changing landscapes throughout.
"Arrival at the ARAVIS pass, I had the pleasure to be accompanied by the recognized International Sky Runner; Jan Margarit Sole. We shared a friendly encounter in the Aravis pass section while discussing our love for the mountains. We started at the foot of the impressive Combe à Marion, a rocky track that continues in the Coillu à Bordel, which bears its name well. This narrow path is surrounding by 2 vertiginous walls where poles are of no use. Above all, hands and agility were necessary to progress safely. Here we still meet friends who came to encourage us and share a high five! There followed a long sharp edge leading to the foot of the Charvin. A bit like the Matterhorn with an impression of its North face. We reached the summit of Charvin by a magnificent cabled ridge."
This was a particularly special moment in the route...
"Crowded with people, with a clear view of Mont Blanc, still with wonderful sensations made it simply magical. At the top of the summit you can see the whole course. The feeling at that moment was incredible to be able to see where you have moved from one massif to another in just a few hours."
Followed by friends and picturesque surroundings of his hometown mountains, the physical effects of the long day in the heat were made easier with such great support.
"The sun was beating down and I think I got some sunstroke. In the end I drank more than 20litres of water over 25 hours of running... The technical and relentless terrain leaves little respite and the energy spent in the heat did not help my recovery. Whatsmore, the refreshments were quite few and far between. Advice from my coach Adrien and a special exchange with my girlfriend, along with the people who came to support me.. who were between 20 and 50 on each point, really lifted my spirits. We returned into the rocky surroundings of the night, before headlamps lit us up. Bells were ringing and some friends were at the top to welcome us. What a moment... The same as in the Pierra Menta in winter! These people are fabulous. In these moments, my energy was really transformed. That's how I love the mountain…to discover yourself up there and then share it with others. It's heartwarming to see a village united around such a project of a non-professional sportsman."
While this "dream project" will take some time for Thibaut to digest and recover from, there are still more things on the horizon for the La Clusaz native.
"For the future, it will surely be other projects on skis but also extreme sky running races. It's really on these technical courses of 50 to 70 Kms where I have the most fun. But given the health situation, we will have to wait. Maybe at the end of the year there can be a little surprise with the addition of a race, depending on the form."
What were the most important go-to products for Thibault´s crossing?
"I really liked the Trail 2-in-1 shorts. They were very supportive and super light. The Trail Half Zip SS Tops were very pleasant. Extremely light too with great ventilation in the heat. Then I used the Ultra Trail Socks which were very resistant in this tough terrain. The UltRun S Pack was also very useful. I especially liked the fact I could adjust it according to my desires throughout the route. I could open it up when ascending and adjust as I wanted for the descents".