Sponsors: Rossignol Snowboards, Nixon watches.
Stance: Regular; 15/-12; stance around 50cm.
The Retox features pretty crazy design by acid-pop artist Jeremyville. How important is a board’s artwork for you?
Since I started riding, I always have chosen my board by the design. As crazy as it can be, it has always worked out. So, yes, the design on a board is really important for me because if you have to live with it every day, you’d better like it. It’s the same as with a girlfriend: if she looks ugly but she rides well, it’s not working. The opposite doesn’t work for me either.
Apart from its looks, what are the Retox’s other characteristics that make you want to ride it?
It’s the first time Rossignol has done a board for jibbing and park riding, and it suits me very well for everything. The nose and the tail are also softer straight after the binding for riding rails but they keep the pop. I’m a really light rider so I need a softer board, so the Retox was perfect for me.
Do you ride a different board when you’re not in the park?
No, I keep the Retox for all kinds of conditions.
How do you choose your stance? Stick ’em on as wide as it goes, or more scientific?
Since I started snowboarding, I’ve been looking for the perfect stance and angles but I still haven’t found them. Right now it feels good so it’s perfect. But, yeah, I do it by feeling, but I can try many setups in a day to feel right, and once I’m feeling good, I keep it till the next board.
This year, Rossignol came up with a new development for their bindings – Extruded Hollow Technology. How’s it working for you on your Cobras? Do they feel more comfortable, more responsive, lighter etc?
I was used to riding really stiff bindings. I kept a model for more than 3 years. Now I can really feel the difference: they are much lighter and softer, thanks to the technology, but also really durable and comfortable, and the icing on the cake is that they look good too, you know.
You’re wearing the Comet with the new Boa Coiler lacing system. How are they working out?
They made really good boots this year thanks to DC who made them. And the Boa is the bomb! It’s a revolution for boots, I think. You adjust them so easy, every run if you want, and it only takes a moment. You’re too tight? In less then a second you feel good again. And now I think it even holds your foot better than laces, which get looser every run. So, no, I won’t return to laces, ever!
Do you like your boots stiff or soft?
It depends on the snow conditions. If the snow is soft, I like to have soft boots, and if it’s icy, I like them tight. It also depends on what we are going to ride: if we jib, I like to feel solid in my boots to flex the board, but not too much. If I’m jumping, I also like to have a direct feeling with my board, so I’m lacing really tight.
Do you sport your Rossignol Hologram outerwear because of any special features?
No, it was just the one I liked most in the whole collection and it fits really well to the mood of my board. It has these lost colours that reminds me of the hippies, and I’m pretty old school these days.
Do you wear technical base layers underneath your outerwear?
I always wear a thermal layer, top and bottom. I feel good having them all the time. It regulates my sweat.
What goggles do you use?
I wear Rossignol goggles. All I ask of them is to be able to see, and I can see well, so everything’s all right there!
And for your gloves? Why did you choose mittens?
It depends on the weather but if you mean my JC de Castelbajac mittens, you would understand if I tell you it’s haute couture by Rossignol, and I love wearing luxurious and expensive clothes. It’s the same for my pants.
How important is safety for you? Do you wear impact protection or a helmet?
Really important! Even if I’m not wearing any protection or helmet. But safety is also knowing the mountain, not freeriding alone, always carrying a transceiver and being able to use it. Those things are more important to me than wearing protection.
Anything else you always take on the hill with you? And why?
A photographer, a cameraman, my team manager, my girlfriend, my friends. No, kidding. Cigarettes, some drink and sometimes, if I’m alone, my iPod.