Above Photo: Vianney Tisseau.
From his humble beginnings on the inclines of Alpe d'Huez in 1990, to today where he's the guiding hand behind the Bataleon team, Julien Haricot has been a stalwart of European snowboarding for more than a decade-and-a-half.
L’Arrogant… How can you end up with such a nickname?
Before knowing Julien, I imagined I was about to meet some half-man, half-bear who would be able to shout at you like a second World War General while eating stones… So the surprise was big when I actually discovered a young gentleman that only a light wind could take off his feet. I cannot discribe him better than that: a gentleman, embodied in this feeble, reedy silouhette… Which can sometimes indeed, transform into a full-on Mr Hyde.
But let’s not go too far into the man's remarkable abilities of a ‘nightlife performer', it would first take too long, and Julien worth way better than this. He’s a man of avant-garde, a creative soul that captured the essence of our snowboard world. To know where you go, better know where you come from: he made this sentence his, and he is the archetype of what a snowboarder is, or should be: passionate, unpredictable, gutsy, innovative.
Julien is one of those guys you are happy to know, or even call a friend. He makes everyones’s life around him richer, because he’s not only a living snowboard history book, he is also a big, picturesque, open book. And I just can’t wait to read the 4th chapter…
- Leo Vuillemin, ex-Team Manager
Words: Joe Cavanagh
With a nickname like L’Arrogs, there’s a certain type of person you expect from Julien Haricot. However, over the course of the hour long conversation that we had, I was pleasantly surprised at how humble the current Bataleon TM and World Snowboard Tour Judge seems to be.
Whether it was casting his mind back to the early days of riding in France, to being coached by Bobby Meeks, or even his accomplishments managing the expansive Bataleon program, he’s quick to pass on thanks to people that contributed to his success.
Like many of us, Julien was introduced to the mountains by his parents in 1990. Alpe D’Huez would go on to be his playground as he progressed from his Hooger Booger rental, through to first stick in 1993, a Burton, which he used with ski boots “Which was TERRRIBLE". From there, he progressed to an A-Snowboards David Vincent pro-model, before being signed by Generic Snowboards in 1996.
After 3 seasons on the ELAN offshoot, Julien moved onto the Burton European team after Léo Vuillemin, The Burton France rep, had been pushing for him to join the big B. It seemed like there was a fractional break of Julien’s voice as he commented “…and it was because of Léo. I really want to say thanks to that guy. He... I dunno… he did everything for me".
After moving to Burton in 2000, he comments that being with the brand taught him a lot “Firstly, I learnt English! Because my English was terrible. I remember when I went to my first meeting with Burton, it was probably terrible 'cause I was with Hasi, Léo and Réne Hansen; and I didn't speak English… but anyway"
A concept that pops up throughout our conversation is that of style. Even from his first turns on a snowboard, Julien admits the style of snowboarding had caught him hook, line and sinker. Julien was one of the first riders I ever saw with skinny pants, a fashion he took from Joni Malmi at the BEO in 2000, and from his boy in the skateboard world; Ali Boulala.
"...it was because of Léo. I really want to say thanks to that guy. He... I dunno… he did everything for me."
But it’s this concept of style and fashion that mutually inform Julien’s outlook on snowboarding. Alongside working on the Bataleon team, these days Julien is also a respected judge on the World Snowboard Tour, and stepped up to take on the Head Judge role at a roster of competitions this past season. His outlook on fashion transfers into what he likes in snowboarding in the appreciation of nuance "I’m very specific - I like the details. For me, a Japan has to be a Japan, not a fucking mute nosegrab thing"
Perhaps this appreciation of nuance is one of the reasons that Julien curated The Reels, an international snowboard film festival in 2012 and 2013 in Annecy. With over 150 riders from across the world in attendance, it was a fitting tribute for Julien: “That's why I made it with my friends Gaylord and Aissam, because I really want to give them a homage, those guys and those crews that make those videos. 'Cause I don't know if the kids these days really know the work that goes into making a fucking snowboard video"
As we amble into the 40-minute mark of the interview, I prompt Julien about his view on snowboarding as a whole “Snowboard is an art, you know? I was the last of my friends to say it is a sport, for me it's a way of life, it's something different. We have a culture, we’re influenced by the skate culture, but we have everything like this. We have the videography; we have the photography, we have everything that makes it an art. That why with those three sports you can really feel the passion, the love, you know?"
Bataleon Snowboards - Team Manager
Switchback Bindings - Team Manager
Snow Garden Festival - Snowboard Coordinator
World Snowboard Tour - Head Judge
The Reel Festival - Owner & Founder
Skullcandy - Action Sports Consultant
Bataleon Snowboards - Rider
Psykopit Crew - Founder & Rider
Burton Snowboards - Rider
Rossignol Snowboards - Rider
Generic Snowboards - Rider
"It's so strong our culture, that’s what makes it so particular."