On a sorrowful day, 11th October 2023, the adventurous spirit of Christophe “Tof” Henry was tragically silenced amidst the snowy slopes of the Puntiagudo volcano in Chile. The world lost not just an extraordinarily talented skier but a man whose zeal for life and audacious spirit carved his legacy into the snow-clad peaks he traversed.
Born in 1984 in Chamonix, France, Henry established his name amidst the towering peaks of Mont Blanc, embracing the challenges and crafting an image of a quick, effective, and aesthetically astute skier. Pascal Tournaire, a veteran mountain photographer who occasionally worked with Henry, admired his capability to ski “at Mach 10,” expressing that even in crusty conditions, Henry appeared to glide through dreamlike powder. The specialized press often hailed him as a legend, echoing the sentiments of those who witnessed his feats in the formidable terrains.
Tof’s pursuit of adventure knew no bounds, leading him to embark on a daring expedition in Chile, where he, along with photographer Mathurin Vauthier and local guides, explored several magnificent descents, notably including a remarkable first at Cerro Castillo. In the weeks leading to the tragic incident, he shared tales of his escapades and bivouacs across the Cerro Solo’s heights in El Chalten, Argentinian Patagonia, with his social media followers.
But the ski trails of Chile’s Puntiagudo volcano, which soared to 2,493 meters, brought an abrupt, tragic halt to Tof’s journeys. The early reports from Chilean media unravel a heartbreaking narrative of an avalanche that reportedly hurled him and the renowned Chilean IFMGA mountain guide Juan Senoret off a cliff, bringing their expedition to a catastrophic end. Mathurin Vauthier, while injured in the incident, managed to descend the mountain independently.
Back in Chamonix, the echoes of Tof’s feats reverberate, immortalized by the tales and revered images from his daring descents. His profound impact on the ski community is articulated by Paul Edouard Millet, a close friend and fellow adventurer, who highlighted how Tof, with his infectious joy and unbridled passion for the mountain, would often be the first port of call for guides seeking knowledge about snow conditions at higher altitudes.
Tof had not only etched his name in the annals of skiing history but had also established a legacy of fearlessness, exemplified by his first ascent and ski of the North Face of Aiguille de Triolet in 2018 alongside Jonathan Charlet. His transition from a racer to a big mountain skier opened up a world where his boundless spirit found resonance amidst the steep, challenging lines he dared to navigate. Tof was celebrated as “the fastest skier in Chamonix” by the late Andreas Fransson, underscoring his remarkable skills and the admiration he commanded within his community.
Despite the mourning, Tof’s legacy is bound to inspire generations of skiers and adventurers, encapsulating an ethos where passion, courage, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams intertwine. The grief of his loss is widespread, yet the memories of his fearless ventures and that ceaseless, spirited smile will remain ingrained in the skiing world.
In memory of Tof Henry, the ski community worldwide unites in sending heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and to Mathurin during this deeply sorrowful time. As the snow blankets the slopes he once conquered, the tales of his ventures will continue to inspire and echo amidst the peaks and valleys, immortalizing the legend of a man who skied with all his heart and soul. May he ski in peace.