A conversation with Arthur Longo

Between sending it skywards on side hits, and sending deep in the B.C backcountry, we managed to track down the elusive Longo for a chat about his winter. Read on to find out about the science of side hits, the upcoming Vans movie, hanging with Jamie Lynn and vacating the contest circuit. 

Photos by Matt Georges. Words by William Sleigh.

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The Side Hits Euphoria edit was one of the sickest things I've watched this winter, and I think a lot of people would agree. How did that idea come about? 

Well, it was a no-brainer; it's just the type of snowboarding that I like the best and what all of us do daily on the slopes. The only thing was to produce it a bit better than iPhone style and that became pretty easy and affordable with new steady cams and all to do clean follow cams. That's what we wanted to do, follow cam some lines that are right there on the side of the slopes and maybe ride them a bit faster than usual.

© Matt Georges

How long did it take you to film it? 

We probably spent about a dozen days on the snow but it was over the stretch of a month maybe.

The beginning of the winter is actually not the best time for side hits as everything is pretty shallow. So we did a couple days in France when the resorts opened then we took a trip to Mount Bachelor. It could sound a bit weird to go all the way there for that but we were psyched to ride the first pow of the winter and visit some friends, it was such a cool short trip.

Was there a lot of preparation to the side hits or were they all pretty natural? Why did you pick the resorts you did?

Well, the whole thing was to just ride what's already there and maybe take those lines that local riders shred. But we sure had to tune a few things sometimes with the boards. The choice of resorts was only based on the snowpack, there's for sure better places than others but the beauty of that type of riding is that you could do it anywhere.

© Matt Georges

What else have you been up to this winter? Are you filming for the Vans movie? Where have you travelled for this movie?

Yeah, the Vans movie filming is in progress. I've been in BC, in Canada since January. I got a sled and a solid crew up here, we didn't really plan to spend the winter here but as it's been one of the best winters ever we never felt the need to move around so much. I think we literally saw snow falling almost every day this winter, we are in a serious Vitamin D deficit by now. We're hyped for spring sessions coming.

Who is the craziest dude on the Vans team?

Dude, I can't think of another answer to give you than Jamie. Crazy would be unappropriated though and I'm not going to be able to describe what he is in one sentence; someone should write a book about him by the way. So many mad stories happened to him over the years of travelling and he has the sharpest memory and crazy talent to tell them, I always feel really lucky to hear about it and to hang with such an inspiring person driven by art, music and friendships he builds on travels. 

© Matt Georges Polaroid Portraits

Last year you seemed to do it all, Pipe contests and filming - is it tough to find the time to do both? How do you prepare mentally for each kind of snowboarding?

Yeah, I sort of always carried myself like that between contests and filming and it's been most of the time natural. But also frustrating at time to always be running after something else. For so long I haven't been able to commit to only one thing, finding some kind of balance like that. 

Have you done any pipe contests this winter or are you just focussing on filming?

After getting injured in a contest last year I was away from halfpipes for a while and that was actually the smoothest transition to quitting contests. I never imagined to ride contests for so long but it felt natural to keep doing it, I didn't find any reason to stop until now. With the Vans project, I was so looking forward to being committed to only one thing and try to ride powder all winter. It's been really intense on the sleds so far, nothing is easy about it but you still get a lot of freedom from it. My only regret is that we don't ride that much when we're filming and it's maybe what I used to like the most about contests, we just spend a lot of time on the board.   

© Matt Georges

Are there any plans for future projects with Volcom going on?

I've heard things, I'm sure most of us are ready to spend some time together next season.

If you could only snowboard in one place for the rest of your life, where would that be?

After travelling away from home for so long I would like that place to be close to friends and family. I would love to try to combine a more normal life and snowboarding one day. I don't know Chamonix that well but it's the first place I would think of to drop the suitcases. 

© Matt Georges

What advice would you give to the teenage Arthur Longo?

Oh man, there are so many things I could tell that teenager but they would probably sound just like what any other adults could tell you when you're younger. Like most of the people I just had to figure out things for myself, I may have been really slow in the process though. That's the beauty of life, we only go forward and we only get one chance a day to develop and make sense.

What is the greatest thing about growing up in France? 

What I would first think of is that it's a beautiful small country, so diverse and rich. The more I travel the more I realise how special the place where I'm from is. I was so fortunate to have it easy in the mountains as a kid though and then to have been able to travel, it shaped my reality and my perspectives on things that I feel good with. So many people in France aren't so lucky but I hope that it's still a country that gives everyone a chance to realise themselves.