Richard Mille Alexis Pinturault double ambassador
The Alpine skier from Courchevel extends his contract with Richard Mille, explains why, talks about his beginnings, his aims and his favourite places.
At Richard Mille’s suggestion, Alexis Pinturault met with us at the end of the season at the family hotel created by his grandfather, the Anapurna, now managed by his father and sister. The Courchevel 1850 five-star establishment is the highest in the resort, situated on the ski runs and offering a breathtaking view over the playground of the local high-flyers whose posters stud the resort. As a child, did he not see himself taking up the hotel baton? “I was more attracted to sport than anything and I tried loads of different varieties. Skiing featured repeatedly and I have always loved it and competing completely took over my life: results followed one after another and I decided to focus on skiing. I earned my first world cup podium finish at the age of 19. I was completely involved in it and had no time to even think about my studies or anything else.” Two years before Alexis Pinturault became first French skier to win the World Cup Combined Event in 2016, an instructor from the resort mentioned the prodigy’s potential to Tim Malachard, marketing director at Richard Mille. A quick call to his father and a meeting with the relevant party sealed the partnership. It all went very quickly thereafter for Alexis Pinturault who remains a smiling, lively young man of great simplicity, who is above all passionate about winning.
Back to the future
He is preparing for the most promising period of his athletic career and there is no doubt that the smart-thinking head protected by his Shred helmet is a guarantee of a successful professional reconversion: “The next five years are meant to be the best for top athletes: between 25 and 30 years old athletes reach the peak of their art, as they are not only physically very strong but also technically very experienced and have the benefit of maximum maturity.” As this versatile champion unhesitatingly admits, his two key athletic aims lie “obviously” in a gold medal at the Olympic Games and the great crystal globe (awarded to the winner of the overall ranking of the World Cup). The tip that helped him reach this point? “Nothing in particular, but I remember what my coach constantly repeated when I was 14, at a time that was somewhat difficult for me: “Don’t worry about falling, don’t focus on what you can’t do, but rather on what you do well. You start by building on the things you do well and then you work on the weak areas.”
The relationship with Richard Mille
Alexis Pinturault never wore a watch prior to meeting Richard Mille, because “they either bothered me or I broke them.” Even when provided by a committed new sponsor, graduating to a watch such as the RM010 that costs nearly € 70,000 was a potential hurdle. “They set me at ease from the word go by telling me that the aim of the partnership was to improve, to grow, to target performance, and therefore I needed to wear it without worrying about breaking it, thus enabling them to see what they could do to improve it and avoid this happening again. Seeing as during slalom I whack it into the posts at every second gate, we have made enormous progress together!” In a second phase, Richard Mille provided him with an RM 035-02 (the famous Nadal ultra-light model), and then in April 2017 with an RM 035 Ultimate Edition in NTPT carbon that was even lighter and tougher, as explained by Tim Malachard who delivered it to him personally at Courchevel during this intimate event. Asked about his relationship with Richard Mille, Alexis Pinturault claims to have rediscovered the same philosophy of performance with other partners such as his equipment supplier Head: “constant improvement is part of all well-functioning companies and it’s an approach that I like a lot. Richard Mille listens to me, tirelessly optimises its watches, comes back with innovative solutions that I agree with and is a valuable partner so in the light of this we have not hesitated to extend our sponsorship contract by another three years.” No surprise then that the Savoyard skier’s motto is “smile at life and it will smile back”.
The best addresses in Courchevel
Although Alexis Pinturault spends most of the season racing on ski runs all over the world and trains elsewhere, his recommendations at Courchevel are worth their weight in gold. In addition, he would greatly like to see the poshest resort in the French Alps diversify its offer: “Courchevel has a good image because its authorities target excellence, but as a result all the hotels are of the same top-end level, while the restaurants are geared to the elite, and what is really needed are establishments that would allow it to widen the scope of its potential client base.
• His three favourite runs at Courchevel: the nice and sunny Marmottes when it’s nice and sunny and it’s well-groomed; the Comble de la Saulire which is north facing with exceptional snow; and the slalom stadium because “I’ve spent days, weeks and years training there, so it goes without saying that I am attached to it.”
• Off-piste runs at Courchevel: “between the trees there are loads here that are fantastic, especially when you come down from Courchevel 1850 to Praz at 1,300 metres when there is enough snow, but also many passages all around whose names I have forgotten. The same goes for the area above Méribel.”
• His favourite downhills on the circuit: “If I had to name a discipline, it would be: for slalom, Schladming in the Austrian cauldron with 60,000 people awaiting you at the finish; for giant, Adelboden (Switzerland) because it is the most complete with a wall at the finish with a more than 40° drop which is really very, very steep at the end; and for Super G, it would be Beaver Creek (USA), a magnificent, highly technical, very fast Super G.”
• His favourite bar in Courchevel: “It has changed its name but I think it is called the Fun House now, and is on the first floor at the Forum in a corner: I love its friendly atmosphere and great music which doesn’t prevent one from talking”.
• His favourite restaurants in Courchevel: “The Panoramic and the one at Saulire, both of which have incredible views of Courchevel and great food.”
Click here to read an interview with Richard Mille about his strategy.
Click here to read an interview with Tim Malachard on McLaren.
Richard Mille did not simply try to find his place in the watchmaking world – he carved one out for himself, constantly striving not to take anything for granted, and to make innovation and extreme technical prowess his driving forces.Find out more
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