Boardercross Interview: Philippe Conte of France

What were the best and worst boardercross events of 1998/99?

For me, the best BX last season was at The Canyons, Utah. A long race, technical, and very engaged. Laax finals were also great, for the same points. In those races, you can really make the difference.

What makes a good boardercross racer?

The background really helps. To be a good freerider, able to handle any situation. And to be a fighter!!!

Is boardercross all luck?

That’s what I was thinking two seasons ago! But after the last one, it seems like it’s not any more. There were always the same guys on the podium. I was one of them, with nine races in the top three.

Why do you think boardercross has become popular?

It really sticks to what people want to see. Starts in a line, jumps, crashes, and thrill! Our style makes it even more impressive.

What is the difference between boardercross and the other forms of snowboard competition?

It’s not as individual as the other ones, and BX is becoming more popular because it’s easy to understand–you don’t need to understand to enjoy watching it! It is now part of the extreme sports,

that most of the people want to see. You can easily compare it to motocross without the big light show … one day, maybe!!

Who do you consider the most up-and-coming boardercross riders?

Well, Shaun is still The Man! But some guys like Chris Maierhofer will be fast next season. We can also expect some young kickin’ass grommets. For women, I would say Ine Potzl again, or Maelle Ricker.

How do you train for racing boardercross?

I try to train as little as I can, just because there are not so many BX training courses. I just practice sports like surfing, windsurfing … I have to think about something else until the season starts again. I go jogging and do only fast reactions sports. BX is more a feeling race, than something prepared like slalom or pipe.

Give some tips on riding the following: berms/banks, jumps, whoops.

The banks are like sled banks, so you can get more speed, or loose speed! Try to stay as flat as you can with your board on the snow. The more you can go up in the bank, the more speed you’ll get.

For jumps, the best is to know exactly the speed you need. So the speedcheck is very important. Try the jump a couple of times at different speeds, and get the one that will make you fly to the best impact point, where you won’t lose speed. Whoops are very technical–big work is in the legs and abdominals. On top of the whoop, let your leg go up underneath, but contract abdominals as soon as you can to stick again on the snow. Your arms

can help too.

What equipment do you race on and why? Describe boards and boots.

I now ride a Santa Cruz board. A basic 172 cm, cut to 167 cm. A stiff board, very aggressive, but still easy to ride. I can do my own boards, so it’s an advantage. Boots are FLOW, and bindings as well.

Long high back, for good backsides, and stiff binding for precision and power in turns.

When did you first compete in boardercross?

First BX was at Sierra@Tahoe in 1997 for the World Champs. I finished sixth, and it was a revelation. I enjoyed it so much!! I raced in the semis with Shaun and Terje Haakonsen, and I got first.

Should boardercross be in the Olympics?

I don’t think so. We are very independent now, and it’s still growing. We will not need Olympics to make BX a big sport.

What kind of protection do you wear?

I wear the Dainese back and elbow jacket, plus ass protector, and knees protections. I saw too many people injured because they didn’t wear any of those.

Who will win the tour (Swatch and ISF) in 1999/00?