BIG CHUTES TO FILL
All would-be Big Mountain Rider of the Year candidates should hurry up and get busy hurrying up, because Xavier De Le Rue, like Jones before him, got his start as a snowboard racer. That's right—XDLR is a speed freak. With several World Championship and X Games boardercross titles under his belt, and a top seed on the current FIS World Cup rankings list, Xavier is right on course for Vancouver Olympics BX glory.
"For the first time in years Jeremy has someone on his heels." – David Benedek
Of all the exaggerated peaks that he ascended and descended in 2009, perhaps none cast a greater shadow over Xavier De Le Rue than eight-time SNOWBOARDER Magazine Big Mountain Rider of the Year Jeremy Jones. While many are content to just provide the incumbent with a token vote, to those who actually paid attention, there is no denying De Le Rue deserves the award. Both on film in Black Winter and on the score sheets of the Freeride World Tour, Xavier didn't hold back and showed that he was willing to ride terrain that was steeper and sketchier than the next guy.
To JP Walker, dealing with exposure means hitting a handrail with his shirt off. Nonetheless, he still appreciates how "beastie" De Le Rue's riding really is. Xavier gets the nod from The Don, who declared, "I started to sweat the first time I watched that part. Seriously heavy lines, man." Even Eddie Wall, a pro whose video repertoire is usually described in stairs and kinks rather than vertical feet and degrees, agrees, explaining, "He rides huge shit, and does sketchy lines—everything a big-mountain rider of the year should be doing. His ending line shows that he obviously is a few French fries short of a happy meal." Of note is the fact that no one has even seen De Le Rue's Deeper shit yet!