26.04.1988 - 11.04.2007
The ski world is saddened by the news that one of our great competitors, Neal Valiton, passed away recently. Winner of The North Face Young Gun Award at the Subaru US Freeskiing Nationals, Neal skied out of this world on April 11th at the age of 18, just days before his 19th birthday. He died doing what he loved, skiing in Tignes, France.
Neal was Swiss/Argentinean and lived in Verbier, Switzerland, although he spent a good portion of the 2007 winter season in the US competing on the IFSA World Freeskiing Tour. A notoriously polite and reverent individual, when asked who he respects Neal said his family, his friends and the mountain. When asked what he is, he replied, "Un rêveur", which means "A Dreamer".
"Neal represented all the things that make not only a great big mountain skier but a great human," said MSI Events Director and Freeskiing Announcer Dak Williams. "I spoke frequently with Neal throughout the 2007 season and even with his broken English the message of who he was and where his zest for life came from was crystal clear. He was like a little brother who had more talent than he knew what to do with, which was complimented by his humility and respect for the athletes he competed with. People like Neal are the reason I love the sport of Freeskiing and I will certainly take a part of Neal with me. I am honored to have awarded him The North Face Young Gun in Snowbird, UT. He is and always will be a member of the freeskiing family and our thoughts go out to his family and friends. Neal was a champion."
Mountain Sports International
Photos by Eben Wight/MSI