Earlier this month I was out on a rare non-teaching powder day with a few mates in Chatel and caught up with local freerider, Nico Cruz who was off to the US in search of powder to shred and cliffs to drop.
Nico has starred in a few videos and has a few magazine covers to his name so I grabbed an interview with him for Mad Dog Ski before he left.
So you’re off to the US in February. What are you up to out there?
Skiing some resorts around Salt Lake. Alta, Snowbird, Park City and also Jackson Hole.
I’m looking to be skiing some powder since Europe is so dry at the moment. I’m realizing a dream to be skiing in some of the mecca of powder skiing.
I’ve looked at your videos online and seen the magazine covers that you’ve done. It looks like you’re all about hitting the powder and jumping off cliffs. What’s your favourite thing to do when you ski for yourself?
Well it’s definitely skiing powder, nothing beats skiing powder. When you feel the snow hitting your chest and you get face-shots every turn is the sole purpose of skiing for me. Also hucking stuff is quite a good feeling. Knowing that you chuck yourself off high cliff and just land in powder.
So Chatel is your winter hometown, what do you like about it so much?
First it’s where my family is from and even though I wasn’t raised here I still feel a strong bond with this place. Secondly, I’ve travelled quite a bit and to be honest it’s difficult to find a resort that’s got has much variety in terrain than Chatel.
Chatel is a place that a lot of UK skiers and boarders come to. Why do you think they like it here so much?
First, it’s the closest resort from the airport, Geneva and then it’s a real village before being a ski resort so you got the real feel of being in France. It’s quite authentic. And it’s part of the Portes du Soleil.
Where are your favourite spots to ski in the Portes du Soleil?
Well besides Chatel obviously, i quite enjoy the park in Avoriaz and cruising around all the resorts actually.
The kickers in Les Crosets were bigger last year…
Well they actually had snow last year (laughs)
Any secret spots that you want to share?
Not too sure I would like them to be completely canned tomorrow and also not sure I want the responsibility of pushing out of bounds but if I have to pick one of them it would be through the forest down to Les Lindarets.
And what about if you aren’t skiing the Portes du Soleil. What other places do you like to ride?
Well I absolutely loved Japan, it really lived up to my expectations regarding snow.
The Portes du Soleil is well known for having lots of lazy blue and red runs and generally easy skiing. How did you come to be known for jumping off cliffs and getting buried in powder turns?
Well when you’re there on the days that it dumps you can easily get covered. Also the off-piste in the Portes du Soleil is massive, so not much link to the colours of the slopes I have to say.
Freeride skis have moved on a lot in the last few years. When we were out the other day the pair you were on had a bit of rocker and a fairly unique shape. Does this really help in the deep stuff or is it a gimmick?
Yes it helps a lot. The fatter the ski the more float you get, so you can concentrate on riding more than lifting your tips of the pow, then the rocker camber helps the ski rise form the snow even more so it’s pretty amazing.
How much time do you spend in the snowpark? The standard of riding in the videos has gone up massively in the last few years so I guess you’ve got to be pretty good at everything?
Well, people kind of specialise and in my case I use the park to train then bring it to the backcountry but where I really want to get better is at skiing very steep and gnarly lines.
Where do you hope that skiing can take you? What’s next for you?
I’m not really sure. If i can keep on skiing and getting taken around resorts around the globe it’d be amazing. The travel is great and really part of my experience in skiing. The places you see, the people you meet. It just makes you want to do more and see more. It’s definitely an addiction.
Ok, finally, four other mini questions;
1. Black or white?
Black, even though snow’s white.
2. Person you’d most like to share a T Bar with?
Michael Jordan if he skied.
3. Plane, Train or Automobile?
4. Top Gun or Days of Thunder?
What? I’m French remember.
Top Gun never made it to France?
Yes but what’s the other one?
Same movie but with cars – exactly the same.
Top Gun then. Love the F16.
Nico is sponsored by Amplid, Orage, Hestra, Electric, Discrete, Bern, Châtel, Skullcandy, Lange and Look
Photography credits to : Jahl Marshall and Niseko Photography.