In the last two years, La Boucherie (meaning, the butchery, in French), an event initiated by local riders Nico Droz and Steph Lochon, has been joining together the skate, rap, and freestyle scene. The three days of hip-hop and handrails attract more buddies of buddies each year. It is always held in Avoriaz, France.

Street Trash Times

The success of La Boucherie would be hard to understand without first turning to a guy named Bilou. Street Trash, his surf shop in Avoriaz, closed three years ago. It measured only fifteen square meters about 45 feet, but it sure brewed! It was one of the few places in the Alps where the urban skaters, natty rappers from the northeast suburbs of Paris (let’s say, “French Brooklyn”), and snowboarders could gather together. This “trashy stage” was not appreciated by the traditionalists on the mountain, but Bilou was relatively invulnerable¿in a ski area, profitable business is always respected. The directors of the village were relatively open-minded, and Avoriaz indisputably became the French place of new school. At the end of each season, Bilou would organize a small contest in order to celebrate the good mood. Some boxes and staircases would get put together to form a street park on the snow, it was simple¿it was the Street Trash times.

The Butcher Celebration

Eventually Bilou had enough of the snow. He left behind good memories, and also some new young pros: Stéphane Lochon, Olivier Saint Jour, Greg Poissonier, and Nicolas Droz. A few remained in Avoriaz, but there was a vacuum left behind for these good disciples who followed their “father,” Bilou. Stéph Lochon felt that his destiny was that of an apostle: “The shop brought together people many did not want to see. The skaters, the snowboarders, the rappers¿it’s all about the same thing; we are not really loved, but we all have something to say.” The idea to organize a gathering in the spirit of Street Trash was born¿plenty of tricks, kilowatts, drinks, sun, and grilled sausages¿a true party, or rather “a butchery,” as rappers say, which is where the name of the event came from.

Connections

La Boucherie is not for commercial purpose. Says Stéph, “At the beginning, we requested nothing from anybody, we had zero help. This is not a federation event, nor the Olympic Games. This is something outside all that. Even if La Boucherie is only two years old, it carries the freestyle history of Avoriaz, and takes with it all its past and existing connections.”

The skate connection began when many teen skaters discovered the snow and began living in the mountains. The snow connection broadened when Avoriaz began to organize contests. David Vincent, Babs Charlet, Vianney Tisseau (when he was a pro snowboarder), and many others followed the spirit of Avoriaz. Finally, there was the rap connection. Kool Shen a famous French rapper had come to Avoriaz on holiday with thirteen other rappers and rented boards at Street Trash. Stéph was there and took them riding, and the flow passed between them. Now each year, La Boucherie brings together the snow-skate-rap family.

April 1999

DJ Spank, Naughty J, Joey Starr, and Iron Sy rocked. It should be noted that many other rogues had joined them: Youri of Paris known for his freestyles and ragamuffin style, DJ of Thonon, Strictly Hip Hop, Room 15, Skuat Label, and many more. Paco and Janton, the park managers, reshaped the park for the occasion. Snowboarders demoed a bullfight between two large tables, the handrail, and the hip off the hut. The cops came and stuck around all day to look at the guys flying like seagulls.

The Future

All this did not resemble the small event between mates like the first year. La Boucherie has grown and local boys now have a much steeper walk to achieve their mission. Media Coordinator Adam, a native of Avoriaz, sayss, “We try to reflect our image in La Boucherie. There are no competitions except soccer matches and the toboggan race at the end. The spirit remains freestyle. If that becomes larger, everyone will be able to benefit from the activities. We would also like to make it a charity event for AIDS or for underpriviledged people.”

For the moment, the tourism office is happy, and Stéph’s outlook on the future for La Boucherie is a little more lighthearted: “Next year we should invite Spanish bullfighters with real bulls!”