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June 9, 1946|
|Died||March 28, 1989(aged 42)|
He was a pioneer in ski mountaineering and leader of the French school of ski mountaineers. His motto was: "si tu tombes, tu meurs", translated as "you fall, you die". In addition to numerous first descents, he was responsible for the creation of the "Pedal Step Turn" and co-founded the Degré 7 ski apparel company.
Vallençant became known for a number of first descents on skis within the French Alps that had previously been considered too steep to ski. To achieve this he developed a ski technique known as the "Peddle Step Turn". His feats required him to first climb the mountain in order to make the descent on skis, at the time it was uncommon to use helicopters to reach the top. His climbing and skiing partner for many of these first descents was Anselme Baud. In achieving this he took up the mantel of Sylvain Saudan ("Le Skieur de l'Impossible") (French Wiki, Sylvain Saudan) and was a contemporary of other French extreme skiers, such as Jean-Marc Boivin and Bruno Gouvy.
|1971||North face of the Grande Casse and the couloir des Italians||1st descent|
|1971||North Face of the Tour Ronde||1st descent|
|1972||North face of the Courtes||with Marie-Jo|
|1973||French Alps||Couloir en Y on the Aiguille d'Argentière||with Marie-Jo|
|1973||French Alps||Couturier couloir at l’Aiguille Verte||2nd descent, with Anselme Baud|
|1973||French Alps||Couloir Whymper on the Aiguille Verte||2nd descent, with Anselme Baud|
|1977||French Alps||Arête de Peuterey||1st descent, with Anselme Baud, filmed|
|1978||Peru||South-west side of Huascaran South (6750 m)|
|1979||Peru||South-east side of Artesonraju|
|1979||Peru||First ascents/descents in the White Cordillera|
|1979||Peru||West Side of Yerupaja (6630 m)||Slopes of over 65 Degrees skied|
|1985(?)||Peru||Mt Huascaran||with Jean Marc Boivin, filmed|
Pedal Step Turn
To cope with skiing the steep terrain (greater than 50 degrees), Vallençant developed a new turning technique, known as the "Pedal Step Turn" (also "Pedal Hop Turn" and "Pedal Jump Turn"). The technique involved pushing off from the uphill ski, away from the slope and completing a portion of turn's rotation while in the air and then landing back on the downhill ski. With the advent of parabolic skis, using the uphill ski to initiate a turn is now a common technique for carved turns and racing. The key difference is in carving or racing the skier is traveling much faster, the terrain is not as steep and there is no need for such a dramatic thrust off the slope. The "Pedal Step Turn" was originally developed on traditional racing skis.
Patrick Vallençant founded the Stages Vallençant in Chamonix to teach extreme skiing & co-founded the "Degré 7" ski apparel company in 1983 with Iingrid Buchner, a stylist. He sold his share in Degré 7 in 1988.
- Baud, Anselme (Oct 2004). Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges - a Guide for Skiers (section 112: Tour Ronde). Cordee. ISBN 9781904207276. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- Skiing Magazine – Pedal Step Turn (How to Article)
- Climbing Magazine – No. 106 – Vallencant Cover Photo by Noble 
- Ski Extreme, Ma Plenitude by Patrick Vallencant (Edité par Flammarion, 1992) (French Only, Ski Extreme, My Fullness)
- PisteHors.com – Biography of Patrick Vallencant 
- Degré 7 – Skiing Apparel co-founded by Patrick Vallencant
- Chris Noble – Photographed the Founders of Extreming Skiing
- Climbing Magazine Issue no. 106 – Patrick Vallencant skiing Pas de Chevre, above Chamonix (Photo by Chris Noble)
- on YouTube
- Snow News 2003 – "Mountain Mavericks: Patrick Vallencant"
- Steep, Without Risk There Is No Adventure – A history of big mountain skiing, includes archival footage of Vallencant