Valérian Ducourtil had an insane season that culminated with a HEAVY hunk of footage in this winter’s Almo Film, Comfort Zone. We decided he more than deserved an interview to complement the part, so scroll down to get the lowdown on one of France’s premiere backcountry freestyle bosses…
The first time the name of Valérian Ducourtil was bandied about in the Onboard office was back in 2008, when senior photographer Matt Georges described him as ‘a mutant rider able to do double corks’ – at the time the pinnacle of park progression. But not content to be pidgeonholed into park-rattery, Valérian elected to turn 180° and concentrate on filming and shooting. Nearly eight years later, ‘Valé’ is an established name in European snowboarding’s backcountry freestlyle fraternity, with the latest proof offered up in Almo Film’s ‘Comfort Zone’, not to mention the tons of killer shots you can enjoy in this interview. About time for a little catch up, after you have your brain burst by his full part here, of course…
In France, you are already well-known, but could you please introduce yourself to the other European readers?
My father launched me on a board about 20 years ago now (wow, I’m old now man!). Since then, I always did my best to spend the most time on the snow. I started riding with friends at the club, then in the ‘sport study program’ and in the French junior team. At that time, we were riding a lot – really a lot, almost all year round. It was lots of training sessions, courses and contests on weekends. It was a really cool time, we were just kids with a whole bunch of friends and we were travelling together all the time. After several years strolling through pipes and parks, and devouring contests, I naturally moved on to backcountry, to start filming and do photoshoots. And that’s what I love to do now!
I remember your first double cork in the Moon Park in Méribel – at that time you were mostly riding parks: were you still able to picture yourself in contests at that time? I mean, not many riders were doing doubles back then!
[Laughs] That’s funny you recall this double because I haven’t done lots in my life! If I remember well it was in 2009 and it was quite advanced because there were not many people doing doubles at that time. Except my friend Coin-Coin [Gerome Mathieu] who made a big buzz with his double the year before, being that he was the first French (and one of the first Euros) to stomp it. However, it didn’t change my mind about putting an end to doing contests, because it’s the year after that that I started filming parts in backcountry! And since then, I haven’t entered a single contest and, seriously, I don’t miss it. I was happy to do it for a time when I was young but in the end competition is not what I am supposed to do!
Below: Last winter Vale hit up the Arlberg and blew the bloody doors off. Sending it deeeeep.