REFRESH FRIDAY: MICHAEL “BIRD” SCHAFFER
Age: 42 Years
Michael “Bird” Shaffer is a legend, he has spent the last 20-plus years exploring and skiing much of the most technical terrain in France, in particular the terrain in the Chamonix valley, and can speak to the history and vibe of the place well beyond the average joe.
Named after the bird that flies over the Aguille du Midi by his fellow skiing brothers, Michael “Bird” Shaffer’s is probably the closest you get to nature embodied. Bird grew up in a commune where he learned to passionately live life to the fullest – the only limits were the ones he put on himself.
If skiing were to choose a spiritual creature, it’d do well to tap Michael Shaffer. Known simply as Bird, the renegade 42-year-old lives life off the ground, migrating between his native Washington and adopted home of Chamonix, while taking flight as part of the growing speed-riding contingent that combines paragliding with skiing.
Bird has helped evolve skiing, from ski extreme, to free ride extreme, learning while surviving in Chamonix for the past 20 years, he developed a style of skiing, fast and fluid in exposed places. To this end I have lost many friends, as anyone at any time can make a mistake. I am fortunate to still be here, still learning to listen to myself and ski from the heart.