Snow-hit Parisians take to ‘the pistes of Montmartre’

The "pistes" of Montmartre have "opened" as the famous Butte is covered in a thick layer of snow

Parisians have been skiing on the butte of Montmartre as snow continues to fall; as well as one man who strapped a propeller engine to his back to reach ski speeds of 70 kph in a XVI arrondissement park.

Images collected by Le Monde newspaper show several people strapping on skis and bravely making their way down the snow-covered steps and steep slopes of the famous Parisian hill, with some more successful than others at navigating the not-so-usual “pistes”.

Le Monde / Video screenshot
Le Monde / Video screenshot

Elsewhere in the capital, sports fan Antoine Taillefer - who holds a pilot licence - was reported to be experimenting with a propeller engine strapped to his back, pushing himself to high speeds “of 70 kph at full speed” across the snow in the Parc de Bagatelle.

The open park environment, rather than the steep slopes of Montmartre, was ideal for his attempts, Taillefer explained, “because this piste is clear and flat”.

He added: “With a bit of inspiration, favourable weather conditions, and a few gadgets and toys, we can live our dreams and passions on our own doorsteps.”

However, readers are not advised to try his idea at home, noting that Taillefer is a licensed, trained pilot, and that the machine is costly and potentially dangerous.

Antoine Taillefer / Vladimir Tchakhott / 20Minutes.fr

And yet, Le Monde points out that Parisians have been taking to the capital for more conventional winter sport adventures since at least the heavy snowfall of 1942.

Le Monde / Video screenshot

Archive images show skiers benefitting from Montmartre’s infamous gradient over the decades, including in the 1940s when the area’s cable car was “transformed into a ‘télépherique’” more often seen in mountain resorts, taking skiers to the top for no other reason than for them to ski straight back down.

The “snow sports” look set to continue in the capital over the weekend, as Météo France has predicted even more snowfall and icy conditions from today (Friday February 9) until at least Saturday lunchtime.

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