Born - 1928 / 1942 ; Location - Val d'Isère / Le Jura, France ; Sport Skiers
Paul Laurencin, known around Val d'Isère as Paulus, doesn't like walking.....he doesn't like it so much that he has decided that he won't walk for more than 2 hours at a stretch
What's so unusual about that? Well, several things, one of which is that he does walk for up to 2 hours - and probably a bit more if pushed. And the other things? One is that the walking in question is uphill, on skis with skins high in the French Alps to reach skiable snow that isn't served by ski lifts. And the other is that at the time of writing he's 84 years old.
When you look at the way he skis, the energy, the movement, you wouldn't be able to believe that he first skied in Val d'Isère in 1948, when he was in the army just after the second world war. And that's when, as he puts it, he caught "The Virus of the Mountains".
When he left the army he began to ski in Val d'Isère more often, and he has been a regular skier there since 1951. You usually see him skiing with his wife Viviane, also a member of the Silver Grey Sports Club, whom he met in Val d'Isère in 1961. Although she was then a beginner on skis, it was only a few seasons later that they began skiing off-piste together - not such an easy thing to do then as it is as now with all the advantages of modern equipment.
During the winter they are in Val skiing the powder whenever they can, and walking on skins when necessary to get there. And during the summer they are in the Jura area of France where, with the cycling club they belong to, they cycle hundreds of km every year to maintain the necessary fitness year after year. It's not easy to continually put in the work required to stay as fit and strong as they need to be but having the incentive of being able to spend the day in the wild whiteness of mountains unserved by ski-lifts certainly helps.
The wonderful thing about these skiers is that in their company you sense all the vigour and vitality that you would hope to feel for all of your life if you had the good fortune to stay fit and healthy enough to continue with the sports we and they love. If anyone that we've met during our adventures on behalf of Silver Grey Sports Club exemplifies the overall benefits of staying in shape in order to be capable of continuing to pursue their demanding sports it's these two. It's not possible to say for certain that the feeling of "modern-ness", of being connected to life in the present, is due to their physical condition. But one can say that the two things, the mental connectedness and the physical alertness do co-exist in these two.
Walking up to, and skiing, Col des Fours, Val d'Isère, April 2010