Take our masterclass

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

In this exclusive interview with Géraldine Fasnacht, we have the privilege of hosting our Chief Inspiration Officer, a remarkable woman who has conquered the heights of extreme sports, demonstrating the extraordinary attributes of courage, determination, and resilience.

Whether it’s base jumping with a wingsuit or freeride snowboarding, Géraldine has become acquainted with change, not as an occasional obstacle but as a constant companion in her career. With risk management woven into the fabric of her daily life, her insights into navigating change and venturing beyond comfort zones hold a profound significance.

Hi Géraldine! Thanks for talking with us today. Let’s go directly into our first question: Your career in extreme sports requires a constant willingness to adapt and evolve. How has this shaped your outlook on life?

Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to learn more, discover new experiences, and go further. I decided to continue growing and learning this way even as an adult.

As one of my friends says, “If you’re not scared about your dream, your dreams are not big enough.”

Géraldine Fasnacht

For me, evolution doesn’t stop in adulthood. I want to keep evolving because if I don’t learn something new or discover something new, I feel like I’m asleep. I really need to always learn something new.

Could you share an instance were stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing risk led to a rewarding outcome?

Actually, I have so many examples in mind; it’s hard to choose one.

I was scared of many of my dreams, but it helped me to have the best preparation to achieve them. One example is when I was able to make the first wingsuit flight from the summit of the Matterhorn.

Bertrand Delapierre
Credits: Bertrand Delapierre

I had to go through so much preparation and needed a lot of patience to be ready for it, because the wingsuits were not good enough. But I imagined that flight already when I climbed the east face of the Matterhorn in 2009 and rode down the east face with my snowboard.

That day, I looked up when I was putting on my snowboard and saw that the nose of the Matterhorn was not only vertical but overhanging at the top. I was sure that maybe one day it would be possible to fly from the summit, once the evolution of the wingsuits would allow it. But that was still not possible at that time, because the wingsuits weren’t gliding well. So I thought that maybe only the next generation could achieve this impossible dream.

But three years later, I opened the summit of Le Drus, which is very emblematic summit of Chamonix, next to Mont Blanc. That’s when I found out that finally, the wingsuits were getting so good that I would maybe be able to open the summit of the Matterhorn sooner or later.

For me, risk is when you have no control.

Géraldine Fasnacht

As one of my friends says, “If you’re not scared about your dream, your dreams are not big enough.” So, on the 7th of June 2014, I opened the summit of the Matterhorn with my very good friend Julien Meyer.

When I arrived on top of the Matterhorn, I was so ready that it was a wonderful pleasure to fly off. I had no questions or no doubts. I had calculated my worst glide ever, so when I saw the numbers from the summit of the Matterhorn with my laser to calculate the exact vertical drop of the jump, there was no question in my head: It was possible.

I climbed with all my gear, with a 12-kilogram backpack up there with Julien, plus two other friends who were ready to bring back all the gear we didn’t need for us to be able to fly comfortably. Everything was so well-prepared that it was just a perfect moment at the end.

The Matterhorn, for me, was like home; everywhere I’ve been traveling, watching a peak like the Matterhorn reminded me of my home. I always wanted to climb this mountain. But I never climb a mountain if I cannot ride a beautiful line or fly a beautiful line. So I waited for the opportunity to be able to fly from the Matterhorn to climb this mountain, and I was so happy to realise this dream.

In contrast to most people, you interact with risk on a daily basis. Could you share your perspective on risk, and how it might differ from the conventional understanding?

For me, risk is when you have no control.

I trust myself and know my limits exactly. So I know how far I can expose myself and where I just don’t want to go.

Credits: Sébastien Baritussio

I’m more scared of driving my car on the road, for example. I would never ride a bike or even a motorcycle on the road because I’m scared of what can happen if I cannot control everything. I cannot control the other people on the road. That’s much scarier for me.

There’s a Spanish saying, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, highlighting the common fear of change. As someone well-versed in managing change, what advice would you give to those hesitant about venturing out of their comfort zone?

“Do you think you’re going to regret it one day if you don’t even try?” This is a question I asked myself when I was working at Geneva Airport.

I had just received a promotion for the job of my dreams. At the exact same time, I received an invitation to participate in the Verbier Xtreme, the most extreme competition in the world. It had been a dream since I was 15 years old to compete against the most incredible freeriders in the world.

Credits: Sébastien Baritussio

It was so hard to quit a job that I loved so much with a good salary, beautiful conditions, and the opportunity to travel the world for practically nothing. But I felt that I had to go; so I asked myself, “Do you think you’re going to regret one day not competing at the Verbier Xtreme, or will you regret quitting your job?”

I realised that I could always come back to that job. But two, three, or four years later, I could never do the Verbier Xtreme again at that level. So I decided to completely change my life and quit my job.

I found a new job that wasn’t as interesting, but allowed me to live in Verbier. Actually, I had two jobs to make enough money to live in the ski resort. But it gave me the time to train every morning and be ready for the Verbier Xtreme.

That year, I won all the competitions I participated in. At just 21 years old, I won the Verbier Xtreme on my first try, and my biggest passion became my everyday life. I ended up competing on the Freeride World Tour and won 11 titles on different stops of the tour, including the big finals. I never regretted my choice.

Finally, in terms of financial decisions, should people consider exploring new possibilities or options, such as new players in the banking and investment sectors?

Everything changes all the time, and we have to adapt and always be aware of new opportunities that could come our way.

This is something I’ve learned in the mountains a lot: You can have a plan, but even if you plan everything perfectly, the weather may be different, the on-site conditions may be different, and the people you are with along the way may not be in good shape or may be experiencing emotional challenges.

This is life; we always have to adapt to the situation. It is also the most beautiful thing I’ve learned through my career.

Thank you, Géraldine!

There’s more!

Read another engaging interview from the ‘Why Change Matters’ series, featuring Sébastien Buemi, the renowned Swiss race-car driver.

About the author

Driven by a need for clarity and simplicity on all things wealth related, the i-vest team works closely with senior financial experts and advisors to dive deeper into the world of finance, investment and wealth to make it more relevant for you.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience.