Xavier is a French snowboarder renowned for his aggressive riding style, world championships, and innovative approach to snowboarding. Growing up in the French Pyrenees Xavier began competing professionally in the late 90s. He quickly gained a reputation for his unique style and fearless riding winning the Boardercross World Championships 4 times along with multiple X Games gold medals.
Xavier went on to compete on the World Freeride Tour and won 3 consecutive World Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He has been featured era defining snowboarding films, accomplished numerous first descents and despite all this success, Xavier remains humble and dedicated to promoting the sport of snowboarding. He’s a true icon in the world of snowboarding and continues to inspire new generations with his talent and passion.
Tune in to find out how Xavier got into snowboarding, staying competitive, live after competing, the accident that almost took his life, passing the baton watching his kids compete, keeping things new in the mountains, his purpose around sustainability and loads more!
Oli Russell-Cowan:When did you move to Chamonix?
Xavier De Le Rue: I started competing quite a lot. For two or three years, I was based in Annecy, I was doing a summer study, there. During the winter, I was going on tour for the whole winter. I was always on the road. As soon as I finished that course I moved to Chamonix. I was 21 and I stayed there for five years.
I got to learn so much about mountaineering, about all these things that made me dream. I think there’s no better place for learning all about mountaineering. Everything is right there. All the motivated people from all over the world go there and they’re just super motivated. I remember the beginning of the first winter being like oh my god, I just landed in paradise. It was exactly what I wanted to be doing and even more.
Oli Russell-Cowan: Being surrounded by all these people not just skiing and snowboarding but climbing and biking and mountaineering in general must have pushed you?
Xavier De Le Rue: Exactly, there’s such a concentration of big mountains and glaciers with access to them, which you can get to direct really quick. At the same time it’s a magnet of all these super passionate people who go there. It’s the best place to challenge yourself. It’s the best place to learn. But also it’s got its limit. It’s also the best place to do mistakes as well. So you need to find a balance.
It’s small and intense. And it’s intense in everything. And everyone there is very intense, very competitive, which is good, which pushes you but which can be tiring, and can be also dangerous sometimes, because it pushes you.
Oli Russell-Cowan: How have taking risks changed since in your 20s?
Xavier De Le Rue: I think you can’t control things every time. You try to control things every time but in the mountains, you’re never in control of everything 100%.
As much as you could control I think we were trying to be quite clever about it. There’s always a margin of good luck and of bad luck, I think, as well. So you need to take that into consideration.
For the FULL Xavier Interview head to the video below.
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