By Leah Stassen

The French are known for their insatiable appetite for wine, cheese, and foie gras. Add snowboarders to the mix, and you can add cigarettes and Mondial.

The yearly event is known as the kickoff for each snowboard season, and tons of French, Swiss, Italian, and German riders make the pilgrimage to the party/demo each year. The twelfth annual Mondial was no exception as Les Deux Alpes, France was filled to the brim with Euros sporting the latest and the oldest looks, smoking mass cigarettes, and generally ready to have a good time. Spanning October 26¿29, and followed by its Alpine counterpart Mondial Du Ski, the demo showcases equipment from big name companies like Burton, Palmer, Option, Ride, Santa Cruz, Northwave/Drake, Rossignol, Forum, Flow, K2, Lib Tech, Gnu, and Vans, along with European favorites Nidecker, Head, Oxygen, Killer Loop, Sober, Fanatic/Duotone, Hot, and Hammer, to name a few. In addition to offering the latest product demos for those making the trip to Mondial, there are big air, snowskate, and skateboarding contests and expositions. Add in the general mayhem of a few thousand Europeans looking for a good preseason party and riding session¿and Mondial is a can’t miss opportunity. While the daytime is filled with riding, the evenings during Mondial also offer plenty to do. There are tons of restaurants and bars offering amazing fondue, crêpes, and other traditional Alp cuisine, along with the standard ski-town grub of sandwiches, pizza, and hamburgers.

There are also plenty of industry parties and video premiers like the one hosted by Billabong on October 27 for Exhibit B, its new team video by Absithne Films. Like any SoCal video premiere, pros and industry people alike attended the party¿but as expected attention was focused on the Europeans and not the American riders. Jonas Emery and Axel Pauporte were there to hang with their bros and get some cheers from those watching the video.

And this was just Saturday night, with one full day to go. All in all, if you plan to come to Mondial Du Snowboard plan to ride and party, but definitely don’t plan on getting any sleep.