Born in 1988, Grenoble, France
Height: 1.74m, weight: 70kg
Volcom ; Electric California.
1st in Kitz Banked Slalom 2014;
1st in Montafon Banked Slalom;
TAC Winner 2009;
2nd in US Open 2014;
Winter Olympic Games 2014,
3rd in Red Bull Double Pipe ;
movie roles in Volcom Parts
with Pirates and Mr Plant;
2nd in X-Games Tignes,
Finale Arctic Challenge,
4th in Sprint US
Snowboarding Grand Prix
(Copper, World Cup);
French Olympics Team
spending it with his girlfriend
in Berlin and friends
anything by Wes Anderson
rock, classical, pop
Fantastic Mister Snow
Interview with professional snowboarder Arthur Longo
Pro snowboarder Arthur Longo looks back on a busy season, starting with Enjoy the Glacier at his hometown in the French Alps, coming second in the US Open Half Pipe and shooting videos off-piste. Our K reporter was impressed by his natural charm and modesty, but why the tattoo of a balaclava-wearing fox?
You could say Arthur Longo didn’t really plan to be an international snowboarder: it was a gradual progression. Loving the freedom and space the outdoors afforded a child growing up in the mountains of eastern France, he initially dreamed of being a lumberjack in Canada. Then at 14, he did a short course in cabinet-making and found he loved wood and was good with his hands.
Living in Les Deux Alpes, where the skiing area glacier tops 3,600 metres, however, meant he was bound to take up skiing and boarding at a young age, five in fact.
Living in Les Deux Alpes, where the skiing area glacier tops 3,600 metres, however, meant he was bound to take up skiing and boarding at a young age, five in fact. Two years later he met the legendary rider Guillaume Chastagnol, whose brilliance and capacity for hard work inspired the young Longo to take boarding “a bit more seriously”, he says.
Starting at around 12 he began to win competitions and “get helped by sponsors”, but even then he never dreamt he’d do it professionally.
It was only after dropping out of college, where he studied marketing – mainly because he could be free for sport during the winter breaks – could he no longer ignore the calling.
The best moment in his life so far came when he was 18. It was “the perfect year”, when he graduated from high school; passed his driving test; had his first “real relationship”; and won TTR World Snowboard Tour’s O’Neill Pro in Avoria (France).
It was also the initial year he began to ride for Volcom. He’s now also an ambassador for Electric California.
It’s been a kind of benchmark for him ever since. Not that he’s been underperforming lately. In 2013, his “taste for victory” brought him second place in the X-Games in Tignes. “That was a nice surprise”, he says, “and really enjoyable to do it in France”.
This season, 2014/15, has not been disappointing either. He has competed in a large number of events, all over the world, coming an impressive second in the US Open. Representing France in the Winter Olympics in Russia (back in winter 2014) was also another milestone, though he had competed in Vancouver four years previously, “but that was more by accident”, he declares modestly. When probed, he confesses, “I don’t like talking about myself too much”.
Olympics Games was like a dream come true.
Sochi was a mixed experience. The conditions of the pipe were bad “because of the temps” and he was recovering from having injured ribs. He normally likes to jump high, “if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s that”, but he kept falling. He still got to the semis but was “almost relieved at that point that the day was over, honestly.” On the other hand, it was good fun socially, particularly travelling and bonding with the French team; that “was like a dream come true”.
Most of February was taken up with filming. Now, with most competitions over, and provided Longo recovers from a knee injury sustained at the end of March, he’s due to do some more shooting for Transworld magazine’s Origins Movie, a series of freestyle boarding pictures in five locations around the world, Longo representing France.
To conclude the season – again, knees permitting – he has a choice to make: head off to Alaska to photograph and film in areas only accessible by helicopter, which he did in 2012 and “loved it, because it’s so special and unlike anything else I’ve done before”.
Or go to the a spot near Jackson Hole in Colorado, where his friend Danny Davis is organising the Peace Park event, a one of a kind park/pipe hybrid terrain, where riders experiment with transition and jump.
It all sounds idyllic but there are a lot of strains, both physical and mental, at the highest level of snowboarding. How does he handle the pressure?
On the competition side it naturally gets harder and harder to compete against youngsters who are developing every day.
On the other hand, “snowboarding has a lot of sides, and there's room for the comparatively mature people in so many ways, especially in “natural terrain”.
That includes the backcountry, off piste, including cliff drops, spins – where it’s hard to read and ride in control, and where knowledge is key. “I still progress though, thanks to the experience I have on my snowboard and all the things I know about myself, my limits, my goals and everything that inspires me.”
Spending most of his downtime socialising with friends, “I don’t like to be alone”, he has also developed an impressive array of cultural interests, which also helps him to relax.
Musical taste is eclectic, from The Doors to Lou Reed and from trad jazz to Mozart and blues-rock band The Black Keys. His favourite film director is Wes Anderson, which explains the tattoo of Fantastic Mr Fox on his right arm. He still has time for biking and taking photos, and reading, his favourite author being Eric Reinhardt for his “analysis of contemporary society”
As for the future, he’s not even sure what he’ll do next season.
On the one hand, after five or six years of “hard competition (not that I regret that)”, he still has dreams to fulfil: “I haven’t done what I wanted to yet.” Without giving too much away this may involve filming.
On the other hand, shooting is highly dependent on weather conditions and you can spend a lot of time hanging around.
At least competition means you’re training and getting lots of rides, and “you can get a good feeling of accomplishment”.
Perhaps on retirement he’ll return to his first love of cabinet-making. In the meantime he’s just enjoying the ride.
Arthur Longo’s portrait – credits Vernon Deck