Here is another video clip from Xavier de le Rue, this one is of him riding some rad splitter couloirs in the Italian Dolomites. I also got a chance to ask Xavier a few questions about his riding and other stuff, so be sure to read below. The first line in the video I skied when in Italy back in 2006, after the World Ski Mountaineering Championships in Cuneu. (Here’s the archive post…some of the photo links are busted, sorry.) It’s funny, because a Quicksilver sponsored snowboarder was in there doing some filming with a helicopter at the same time (I think his name was Xavier as well, though not de le Rue.) Though we arrived at the entrance first, we let him have first tracks so as not to ruffle any feathers or ruin their shot.Â (For updates on Xavier’s Timeline Project, click here.)
Xavier- No I don't, but I do get my based fixed from time to time since in powder you sometimes catch some sharks. I use a couple regular boards and couple splitboards per season maximum, but I rarely break any boards.
Randosteve- I've skied some stuff in the Dolomiti and I'm amazed at the couloirs there. What is the last line (3rd) in the Dolomite video? I first though it was the Val Scura on Sassonger, but when you started climbing it...I knew I was wrong. Did that rock-band stop you from riding from the top?
Xavier-It was on Crystalo. The heat actually stopped me from spending time going over that rock. That was a southwest facing couloir and we wanted to have light in there... but I was happy not to spend too much time in there either.
Randosteve- Do your photo shoots always include Tero and Guido?Â Those guys are crazy and I had to lock myself in my room on the Antarctica ship went they were let loose. My eyes...my eyes!!!!
Xavier-Guido and Tero are good friends and the perfect team to work with.Â Being on the road so much during the season, it really helps to travel with a good friends. Plus, we share the same vision of the mountains and look for the same kind of lines. I'm stoked to have them with me almost always. The fact that we live 15 minutes from each other during winter helps a lot too for last minute calls when conditions are ON.
Randosteve- What is your perception of risk assessment when you push it in the mountains. Do you have a family?
Xavier- I do have a family and am a father a 5 year old daughter, and I do evaluate risk every time I'm on the mountain.,Â After my avalanche experience I'm scared shitless of avalanches and turn back more often than I used too. I always ride lines knowing there are escapes options. Over the last couple years, I have been more and more into hiking my lines, since it allows to check the conditions and get to see the options better. There will always be risks when mountains are the playground, but I always try to minimize them.
Randosteve- Do all your objectives have a media angle? As someone who likes to get pictures and share my adventures myself...I know it can sometimes get in the way of the "moment" and enjoyment of things.
Xavier- Good days with perfect conditions are rare, so I have to produce video and photo content when it happens.Â From time to time when the light isn't good enough to capture the action, but the snow is great, those are the moments I can ride for myself without thinking of the video or camera dudes. In the fall I ride the park to get back on the board and have better balance for early season, those days are real fun too and no one is there to take pictures.
Anyway, I don't see documenting my riding as ruining the experience, because I'm still trying to ride the complete line with fluidity and that's what I would try to do anyway. Without a media angle I would maybe have had the chance to ride a few more lines, as it can take a bit of time to coordinate everyone, but it wouldn't change the way I approach the mountain or my riding.
Randosteve- In the line when you wreck hard at the end of the Alps video...to me, it looked like you lost your edge before you were ready to straight-line it...as you were setting up. Is this correct?
Xavier- I got caught off guard. I was focusing on when to straight line down and a tiny layer of fresh snow did hide the upper part of the ice patch. I'm happy I did check the outrun so I knew the snow was soft there.Â I also figured out it was rideable on my way up and that the ice was "clean" with no rocks pointing out of it so I could tumble without much risk if injury.
Randosteve- Hard boots or soft boots...or both? What's your touring setup like?
Xavier- I have developed my snowboard boots with the help of Deeluxe, I asked them to integrate a stiff, mountain boot sole and it grips much better that regular soft boots. I can use a step-in crampon and feel comfortable when hiking. As for riding, it didn't change the feeling of the board at all and they are pretty light.
Randosteve- What is the furthest you've walked for a snowboard descent?
Xavier- I guess Aiguille de la Mone with Jeramey Jones (Deeper). We started at 10 pm and arrived at the op at 8 am, going non-stop the whole time.
Randosteve- That is some sick stuff you are doing Xavier...thanks for sharing!