Victor De Le Rue has all the makings of a modern freestyle rider with none of the trappings. This season he knew he wanted to explore snowboarding possibilities in two places—one well-discovered and one obscure. Japan was straightforward. Russia, on the other hand is not a destination on any traditional map of snowboarding hotbeds and certainly none that pertain to big mountain riding.
However, in a select few spots within the 6.6 million square miles of land mass, the riding accessible both in and out of bounds is top notch. The photographic and cinematic evidence from the trip is proof of that. But Russia is a different place—a place where someone will knock your kicker over after a daylong build, and amongst the successes of the trip the crew was met with challenges. But the De Le Rues have never been bothered with minor setbacks, and the outcome of Victor’s time in Russia is exactly what we’ve come to expect from someone with that last name.
There’s a moment in snowboarding that makes all the early mornings and long nights worth it. It’s a euphoric feeling that follows accomplishment, a byproduct of all the effort and hard work. For Victor, that feeling comes when he nails a trick. “When you finally stomp it, it’s such a good feeling,” he says. “That’s what we travel for, for those moments.” That instance is found in the split-second where talent and effort meet. In that juncture lies the meaning of snowboarding. “I want to find unique features and something super beautiful. It can be a face or a jump spot or a perfect cliff. Sometimes you find it in the middle of a resort, and sometimes you have to jump on a heli.”