From his video parts to Freeride World Tour lines, the straight line has been one of Xavier de le Rue's signature moves. Whether it's a blurred dot screaming from one side of your screen to the other or that legendary cover, his arms out, chest pointed forward stance makes him an unmistakable figure.
There's a certain logic to his big mountain approach though, as he put it himself in a past interview with Whitelines: “When you are confident and solid in your turns, you can really go at like double the speed! ...it’s easier when you go faster. You are above the snow, so you touch it less. That means less avalanche risk, and it’s easier to land cliff-drops."
So what does it take to straight line a gnarly chute? And why would you want to in the first place?
"It’s easier when you go faster. You are above the snow, so you touch it less"
Basically, the faster you go, the less time your board will spend on any given part of the slope, so hitting icy patches, rocks (obviously small ones) etc won't affect you as much. In theory anyway - remember this is from the mind of the guy who combined paramotors and snowboarding.
Straight Line Key Points
- Go fast, don't hesitate
- Aim for a speed check zone
- Keep your weight on your front foot
- Try 'The Eagle'
You should avoid putting in any small speed checks, because if you start turning your edges downhill whilst at peak velocity... Well, you're gonna have a bad time.
Once you've fully committed to the fall line, you can do what Xav calls 'The Eagle', opening up your body and arms and leaning into the air pressure you've built up ahead of you. This allows you to keep your weight over your front foot and actually stabilises your descent, as well as looking fucking cool of course. You can then wave your arms around to steer your body weight and make slight course corrections.
Follow Xavier's top tips and you too could one day be an alpine mentalist. Or you could just go cruise some side hits. Your choice.