Jean Michel Delavey Mon Ami

Jean Michel Delavey. Today is the birthday of my great friend Jean Michel Delavey. He was killed in an avalanche 4 years ago. I want to write about him for a few reasons. He was one of the most passionate skiers I’ve ever known. Watching him ski, it was like watching the “Cuckoo for Coco Puffs” character ski. He happily floated his way down the mountain, pure joy emanating from his being. Another reason is that he was a great friend. I met Jean Michel, who soon became Jean Mi Mi in Queenstown, NZ where we were working together teaching skiing at Coronet Peak. Luckily I spoke French, cause in those days, his English was not strong, but no matter, we connected and had the best of fun. I think he found a place in his heart for me because I didn’t ski so bad for “une Americaine” AND I spoke Frog! We lived a life of dreams in Queenstown, skiing all day, partying all night, making movies for “Ski Whiz” , and eating sushi at Minami Jujisei (Southern Cross) where I got Jean Mi Mi to try Green Tea ice cream that was really a ball of wasabi.  We made memories for a lifetime. We continued our friendship as I traveled to Europe numerous times. I lived in Chamonix for a few months one summer, close to Les Gets, and I would visit and became a part of the family, having “un expresso et un croissant” avec Madame Delavey in the am and dinners with the family in the pm learning about the great delicacies France has to offer.

We reconnected in Chile where Jean Michel was teaching skiing in Valle Nevado. We were so happy to work together and travel in Chile. We hiked and skied the volcano in Pucon together one day. After that year, I started working in Portillo and Jean Michel came over once each year to enjoy the great pistes in Portillo and catch up with friends. I have so  many great memories of you and I miss you and think about you often. Gros Bisous Jean Mi Mi!

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