Jean Ribart

Born - 1941 ; Location - France ; Sports - Skiing, Golf, Scuba diving.

Jean Ribart couldn't get enough - sport, that is. He's making up for it now, though.


At 70 and retired, he is able to ski in the winter, play golf in the summer, and pass the time between the seasons scuba diving and indulging his love of photography.

Skiing was his early sport, which he took up at 16, in 1958 in Val d'Isère - where he still skis. He skied the off-piste with his daughters until they grew up and left home, and from then he skied with one of the Val d'Isère off-piste ski schools, Alpine Experience - one of whose founders, Wayne Watson, was the subject of one of our early films.

Golf was a later addition to the sports rota in the mid 80's, and while he is continuing to work at improving his skiing, he feels that he has reached his level as a golfer, and it is not, as he says "his objective to be better".

Which leaves the scuba diving, the latest addition. He tok it up only four or five years ago, in his mid sixties, and in that time he has amassed 280 dives. The diving gives him a perfect environment to take photos, and that brings us back to his skiing, as he is well known in his circle for documenting the morning's skiing. In fact, his photos have a link on the Alpine Experience website - Jean Ribart's Photo of The Day.

We ask him about the dangers and difficulties of the off-piste and he is quite firm in his opinion. With a good guide, the off-piste is a safer place than the crowded piste with a large proportion of injuries caused by collision. And with the guide taking care of safety, he can concentrate on improving his skiing and dealing with the varied challenges that off-piste throws up.

He is not, he says, one to go in for the physical training that would keep his conditioning, feeling that the three sports between them do that job. For the moment, his body is holding up. When asked about the future, about how long he will carry on, skiing in particular, he is phlegmatic. "It's a hard question", he says, "who knows. It could be a shoulder, it could be the knees". He has dislocated his shoulder, but his knees are like new. And as long as they work, he'll be out there, making up for lost time.

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