Simon Billy crashes while skiing 245km/h
This gut-churning video analyses Simon Billy’s infamous crash in 2017 while vying for the speed skiing world record at Vars, France. Billy started out fine and reached a promising speed of 245km/h before his left ski caught an edge and sent him flying head over heels down the slope, finally coming to a stop some 30 seconds (and many metres) later. Billy walked away from his crash with just a few minor injuries, but it would take him a year of rehabilitation before he was physically and mentally ready to participate in another World Cup race. It looks like there’s something to be said for a good helmet!
If it were any other sport, he’d probably be dead. Simon Billy was gutted to miss out on this chance to set a world record, but in retrospect, the French skier was extraordinarily lucky. After crashing at a speed of 245km/h, he walked away with a dislocated elbow and some other minor injuries to his finger, knee and ankle. This year, he’s back on the racing scene, albeit with an elbow that’s “fixed in the speed ski position forever,” as he joked with fellow skier Jan Farrell. After almost a year of intense rehabilitation, Billy returned to the speed skiing scene to compete at the World Cup at Vars in February this year.
26-year-old Simon Billy was born in Montpellier, France and learned to ski at the age of 2. You could say it’s in his blood – his father is a former speed skiing world record holder and his brother is also a skier. Billy made world headlines in 2016 when he beat Simone Origone’s world speed skating record at Vars, reaching a speed of 252.809km/h and briefly becoming the speed skating world record holder. He was en route to cinching another top score before his unfortunate crash in 2017. It took a lot of courage for him to come back but we can still expect great things from this French skier!
The current speed skiing world record stands at a hefty 254.958km/h, set by Italian speed skier Ivan Origone at the same race in Vars in 2016. For comparison, this is 50km/h faster than the velocity of a parachutist right before opening the parachute! The women’s speed skiing world record is 247.083 km/hr, set by Valentina Greggio in 2016. Skiing is the fastest non-motorised land sport, beating out snowboarding, where the speed world record is 203.275kph, set by Edmond Plawczyk in 2015. Wondering if you reach speeds in that category on a good day in the Alps? Probably not – the average recreational skier tends to ski around 45km/h.
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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