003 Michael 'Bird' Shaffer — Cham Life & Power Zones

Col des Courtes, Chamonix. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

Col des Courtes, Chamonix. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

The north face of the Aiguille du Midi, entering the Mallory with Michael 'Bird' Shaffer, Tom Grant, & Ross Hewitt. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

The north face of the Aiguille du Midi, entering the Mallory with Michael 'Bird' Shaffer, Tom Grant, & Ross Hewitt. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

7:30am drop in on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi. Michael 'Bird' Shaffer & Jules Berger "The Chamonix Kid" (who was 18 years old at the time) slept in the toilets up top to beat the crowds and open a new way through to Mallory. The route is no longer possible because of receding ice. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

7:30am drop in on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi. Michael 'Bird' Shaffer & Jules Berger "The Chamonix Kid" (who was 18 years old at the time) slept in the toilets up top to beat the crowds and open a new way through to Mallory. The route is no longer possible because of receding ice. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

Speed Flying the north face of the Aiguille du Midi. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

Speed Flying the north face of the Aiguille du Midi. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

Skiing the Aiguille du Noir. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

Skiing the Aiguille du Noir. Photo: Cedric Bernardini

Although he wanted to be known as 'dolphin boy,' Michael Shaffer became fondly called 'bird' after using the word to cover up company logos on his outerwear. After a childhood spent in the natural landscapes of the Methow valley in Washington, Bird went to University and studied Geography & Environmental Studies. While traveling around working for a Hemp clothing company Bird crossed paths with Troy Jungen & Ptor Spricenieks who encouraged him to "just pack your bag and go over to Chamonix for a season. It'll do you good." He has since been visiting Chamonix for full or partial seasons for the last 20 years. Bird worked up to skiing some of the wildest lines in the Chamonix region and interfaced with many of the other legends of the sport. His energy and love for the mountains is contagious. In this interview we talk about history, we talk about tuning in to nature, and we talk about longevity in such a uniquely magical and high consequence sport. 

Michael 'Bird' Shaffer exploring the lesser known routes and wild places of the western US. Photo: Kt Miller

Michael 'Bird' Shaffer exploring the lesser known routes and wild places of the western US. Photo: Kt Miller

Photo: Kt Miller

Photo: Kt Miller

Photo: Kt Miller

Photo: Kt Miller

Nerdy Birdy