This feature originally appeared in the September issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding. Subscribe here.

Words: Alex Sherman

We were in Switzerland, in a little town on the French side, about two hours from Geneva. The first day or so was spent driving around scoping before we settled on this spot. As is often the case, there was an imperfection. The run-in for this one crossed a road. It wasnt terribly busy, but at times there was traffic.

As we began to session, a man came over to watch. Jean Jacques was his name, and he lived in the apartments across the steet. He took an immediate interest in what we were doing and wanted to help out.

Jean Jacques begins to shovel, as the author watches in awe. It’s not often that citizens lend a hand. PHOTO: Perly

Despite the language barrier, Jean Jacques did his best to tell us about his life. He showed us stuff on his phonephotos of his sons work and whatnot. For probably six or seven hours, he hung with us, smiling, stoked on our squad, chatting, and taking it in. A group of dudes riding their snowboards down a handrail is an unusual situation to witness in most cities, but even more so in this one, so it was rad for him to see us and think, This is cool; Im going to hang out with these guys.

Teamwork makes the dream work. PHOTO: Perly

Though hed never encountered street snowboarding before, he knew what he was doing with the shovel. When a car would drive by, it would ruin the run-in, so Jean Jacques would help fix it.
During our two-week stint in this tiny town, we saw him all around. He walked everywhere. One time, while we were hitting a spot, he realized he had a tool that could benefit us, so he returned home to retrieve this sort of ice pick. As he walked to grab it, he fall. We rushed to help him, but Jean Jacques was all good.

A job well done, and another friend made on the road. Thanks, Jean. PHOTO: Perly

In a typical scenario, youd be more likely to receive verbal abuse or threats to call the authorities than a friendly smile, let alone shovel help, but in this town, everyone was interested and down for what we were up to, especially Jean Jacques.

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