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Chamonix’s biggest lines, as painted by Tof Henry

Individuality is something that defines great artists. As a physical art form, skiers are no exception. The best are recognized by their complete awareness of self. While there are several that can fall into this category, a select few examples of this personal flair could be Antti Olila, Henrik Harlaut, or the flying Frenchman Candide Thovex. Each of these individuals excels in the air, but there can be an equal level of artistry that happens down on the ground. Tof Henry is certainly at the forefront of skiers who make the entire canvas of the mountain into their person playground, all the while doing it exactly how they choose.

Ever since his early days, it would appear that Tof had a knack for the larger lines. But as a man who has lived a tumultuous life, it comes as no surprise that he has spent his life chasing after that illusive sensation of letting gravity pull you through the snow-caked hills. But how he goes about this task is far more difficult, and dangerous, than how others look at it. In a chute that many would see as something to shimmy down, Tof sees a three-turn exit. His line selection, but more so his line execution, is the piece of his skiing that puts him in the same category as any other artist who has found their individual style. His choice of route is often a world class mountaineering caliber task. On his journey down, he will hurtle through the most daunting of steeps while painting 6 or 7 elegant turns, making this outlandishly vertical run look like a casual Sunday smooth groomer.

As mentioned, Tof has lived a storied life. The balancing act that one must perform between passion and the other components of life is never easy. It can take pain, happiness, struggle, and above all, determination, to make it all ebb and flow. The Chamonix legend has experienced all of these, and some. His documentary film, “Born in Chamonix,” dives deep in his hardship and success. And if you’re curious as to how he continues walking this fine balance, Scott Yorko of Powder Magazine has written a deep diving story on the life of Tof Henry, that is certainly worth the read. He is only human. Granted, a human that likes to do extraordinary things, but a human non the less. His story is one that shines a true light on what those we regard as immortal are truly humanized by. Be it with his beloved son, Jules, or up on the spine tingling faces in the meca of European skiing, Tof is continuing to push boundaries and excel at the wild game of life.

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