His nearly 20-year running career has earned him the nickname “Lord of the Ice,” as he became the first to win both the TOR 330 – Tor des Géants and the TOR 450 – Tor des Glaciers. He’s easy to recognize, with his customary visor cap and the spontaneous smile of someone who at 36 continues to have fun and achieve amazing results.
We’re talking about Jules Henry Gabioud, the Swiss ultrarunner born in Orsières on June 27, 1987. Over the years, his all-encompassing passion for the natural world has led him to a variety of different jobs: in the summer as a mountain guide and author of hiking guides, and in the winter as a winter sports instructor, with a focus on ski mountaineering.
The athlete’s strong connection to mountain sports has its roots in the Mont Blanc massif and began in 2003, when a young Jules watched the passage of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc with his brother on the hills near their home. Fascination with the “king of the Alps” led him to abandon road cycling and enter the world of ultra-trail running, first as a volunteer and then, once he turned 18, as a participant. And it was on Mont Blanc that Jules achieved some of his most important victories: in addition to the most challenging endurance trail races in the world, the Trail Verbier St. Bernard in 2014 and 2016 and the Petite Trotte à Léon in 2021 and 2022 with his brother Candide.
But Jules is also an insatiable explorer, looking for new terrain to push himself out of his comfort zone and demonstrate to himself how far he’s capable of going. He’s motivated by the challenges offered by races on other continents, such as the Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkal in Morocco, which he won in 2014, and the Annapurna Mandala Trail in Nepal, where he triumphed in both 2018 and 2019. The successes he’s achieved in recent years prove it: Jules is a dreamer who works hard, always seeking the best version of himself.