The acronym G.O.A.T gets thrown around a lot in professional sports. So, perhaps adding the word ‘Mountain’ as a prefix more accurately represents what Xavier De Le Rue is to modern professional snowboarding.
A 3 x Freeride World Tour champion and 4 x World Boardercross Champion, Xavier has seen, and probably ridden, it all.
From the Kuril Islands to Antarctica, Vanuatu to Svalbard and Spain, Le Rue arrives at Le Bent HQ with plenty of stories from his many years spent in snowboard boots.
“I tried the Lé Bent products for the first-time last year and was super impressed by the quality,” said Xavier.
“I saw what my buddy Cody was doing with the guys and wanted to join in!”
“We had the idea to make a split-boarding / snowboard specific sock that really fits my riding which I found very appealing.”
Taking learnings from the existing Pro Series Socks, Xavier’s snowboard sock which is currently in the final testing stage (you can stay up to date on its development here), will see some unique snowboard specific considerations to ensure a sock, according to Xavier, “without any pressure points where all the binding straps apply pressure.”
“I like a sock that is not too thin for touring and with a padding that is different from skiing.”
Now making his home in Verbier, Xavier knows the ins and outs of more European big mountain lines than most.
However, his exploits have taken him all the way to the poles. When asked where the wildest place his board has taken him?
"Antarctica is definitely the one," he says.
"5 days in a heavy metal boat, riding through the roughest seas on the planet, and at the end of it, the most magical and powerful mountain environment that I have had the chance to witness."
Closer to home, "When I want to go more wild , Chamonix offers a pretty unique access to high alpine mega runs and that is quite special as well."
It's also not far from where Le Bent co-founders Simon and Anthony cut their teeth fitting ski boots for over a decade in Val-d'Isère.
With such an incredibly rounded snowboarding CV, we asked Xavier what he was most proud of in his career to date — Was it his 3rd FWT world title in a row? An epic first descent in Antarctica? Or being a four time winner of the Verbier Xtreme?
His answer actually surprised us, and speaks to his humble reverence for nature and the lines he's ridden.
“I think that all the ice riding shots we did for a while are quite a good memory for me as it really launched a new window of runs in the high alpine. I have always tried to think outside of the box and try new things to broaden our spectrum as snowboarders and I am proud to have influenced the sport in that way.” - Xavier De Le Rue
Nowadays, Xavier's mission extends beyond riding the steepest, iciest lines — although he's still doing plenty of that too — into the realm of sustainability, within and beyond snowboarding.
Having recently attended COP26, Xavier is focused on working with brands to lessen their environmental impact, something we're welcoming from him here at Lé Bent.
“I am really trying to influence as much as I can my partners to gradually shift the production of all the products towards a more sustainable version.”
“After 22 years of amazing opportunities through snowboarding, my goal now is to pass on my knowledge, in order to inspire others to get out there and enjoy their own adventures.”
That goal starts with Lé Bent helping snowboarders find a better fit, so they can take their riding to new heights.