Riders in this news : Xavier DE LE RUE
Last month, ESPN.COM journalist met up Xavier DE LE RUE in AK, during a filming trip for “Black Winter”, the upcoming movie from Standard Films!
Here, some parts of his ITW… Xavier explains his season, and his point of view of AK trip…
After you won everything, now you are in Valdez; have you ever been to Alaska before?
Yes, a couple of times but I had never got the real AK with the perfect conditions, spines and everything ... This time it's been great to come with the guys—Kevin Jones, Johan [Olofsson], Standard Filmer Chris Ondercin and Curley shooting photos. Also coming with Americans has been great because they know the people and have done this AK thing many times. With a Euro crew you kind of get screwed if you don't know exactly what is going on. Definitely more dialed in.
Is this the first year you have done something with Standard?
No. Last year, last minute, they saw some of my footage and made it work. So I had a small part last year. But this will be my first official part. It's great.
From a European point of view, what do you think about Alaska?
I always tried to convince myself that I didn't need to go that far to get good snow—that I could just stick around in Europe and get good stuff with everything that we have had set up the past few years. But coming here, the terrain has way more playful potential. In just a small area up here the options are endless. Back home we need much more area and a lot more searching is needed for terrain that suits filming. Here it is everywhere. This is perfect! The coastal snow is also amazing.
Is there anything that really surprised you about riding up here?
Actually, the first day I was surprised at how bouncy the snow was. We are a little late in the season so it hasn't been that super deep powder that you would think. With this the terrain sticks out a lot more. That means it's a lot more technical. So for my style where I just like to go at it—trying not to slow down too much—I really had to adapt and not charge things the way I normally ride under optimal conditions. Even if we didn't get the "epic epic," there is still so much you can do with your riding up here.
What do you like most about it up here?
Well optimally, you can get conditions where it is very stable and filled in. When the conditions permit you can ride the steepest of steep with the typical huge sloughs ... that's amazing. Scary, but amazing at the same time!
And the worst?
I only think there are positive things about this area. Well, the worst part would be sitting around in a hotel waiting for days. Especially when you are in the rhythm of the season. You kind of put the brakes on and shut down for a week or so then one day you're right back on top of it. It's weird like that.
More infos, and all this ITW: ESPN Snowboarding
Pics by Jeff CURLEY
“The hike to our bivouac was supposed to take 2 to 3 hours. An exposed knife edge ridge turned into 6. I thought for sure we were lost only to find the bivouac, a glorified portaledge, bolted to the side of the cliff. I guess this is their way of crowd control over here. Sleeping was pretty much useless. I have never slept this high and with Mont Blanc out the front door cleaning itself every ten minutes the energy was like nothing I have felt before.
We dropped into the abyss at 3AM and hopes were high. We had given the face an extra day to set up because it was more loaded from the last storm then expected. The forecast was for clear skies but it was wrong. The night was not cold and clear and the mountains had not locked up like we needed them to. By 5 AM we were at our point of no return. As much as we wanted to push on it was clear things were too warm. This was confirmed by the distant sound of snow or ice crumbling down the mountain.
With colder temps in the forecast we retraced our steps and headed to lower ground. Our three days of dealing left us empty handed but our hopes are high for another attempt in a few days…“
More infos: www.jeremyjones.net
“Standing at the bottom of the line a was feeling sick. No amount of water could wet my pallet and I started to wonder if I might throw up or crap my pants. Xavier DE LE RUE was pointing up to a line that he wanted us to hike and climb and I was not feeling it. It required a 200 foot ice climb up to a hanging, very exposed, snow field. To ride it safely would require a rappel in the middle of the line.
“I will follow you up to the crux and if I am not feeling it I will belay you,” I told Xavier. With a lightened pack on my back I started feeling good as I approached the ice climb. Xavier led the charge and placed solid protection the whole way up. I followed and felt great. For the sketchy parts we were protected and then once on the hanging face the snow was still frozen and made for great climbing. It just shows that with the proper gear lines like this are totally doable.
The last two days we have been climbing and riding some smaller lines. We are hoping to hit a big face that tops out at just above 14,000 ft. It is a serious face that would put our skills to the test. We have been hiking hard up high and sleeping up high to get acclimatized. Every run I learn something new. Nothing comes easy in these mountains and you can not let your guard down at any point.”
More infos: www.jeremyjones.net
Riders in this news : ; ; Thomas GERIN
Here a new video from the 2009 INTERCREW, this great event organised by Brynild VULIN and his friends of Wise Ride, in Chamrousse (France). Shoted on RED, we can see many riders of Rossignol Team: Brynild VULIN, Thomas GERIN, Dimitri BIAU, Enzo NILO, Nate JOHNSTONE…
Watch & Enjoy!
Production: TETES A CLAPS - Paris (Red owner)
Support : WYDIWYG (Red owner) - WATCH IT (grip)
Music : MGMT "Kids"
“ Xavier has been showing me pictures of this one line for a few months and it was finally in form. In order to hit it we would have to hike 6600 vertical feet before the sun heated up the face. Our big hazard at this time of year is heating. On clear nights the snow freezes solid and as the day warms up the snow heats up and by the afternoon avalanches start pouring down the mountains. Because of this we do our hiking in the dark and are riding at first light. This was especially important because to hit this line we would have to hike over major exposure for over an hour to get to the peak.
To be safe we started our hike just after dinner at 10pm. With no moon and thick woods to start we were lost instantly. I raging river was our savior and it allowed us to hop on the rocks, gain altitude and get above treeline. Once on the snow hours melted together and hardly a word was spoken between us. On the glacier we roped, turned our headlamps on high and weaved our way to the base of the line. Twilight hit just as we reached the first bergchrund and from there the race was on.
I had been pacing myself all night but once I got on the final pitch over the exposure I gave it everything I had so I could limit my time on the hanging snowfield. The conditions were perfect; the snow was still cold but soft and just after 8 AM we dropped into our line…”
More infos: www.jeremyjones.net
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