In the modern era of adventure sports and exploration it should be no surprise that one of the world’s leading freeride snowboarders would seek out the most extreme alpine lines on the planet. In 2012, when champion slope shredder Xavier De Le Rue set his sights on the continent of Antarctica, he was looking for more than just steep terrain. Venturing out on a 65-foot motorized sailing yacht across Drake’s Passage, where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans converge, De Le Rue was looking for a big-mountain snowboarding experience unlike any other.
Mission Antarctic, a new film just out on iTunes, tells the story of this voyage into one of the few remaining frontiers in extreme riding. On an expedition with legendary sea captain Jerome Poncet De Le Rue explores the near vertical slopes of coastal peaks just a few thousand kilometers from the South Pole.
“It seems quite stupid to travel halfway around the world when you have a ski resort five minutes from home,” De Le Rue says in the film. “Even if we get one line there, it could potentially be the best line of my life.”
Directed by Guido Perrini of Timeline Missions in partnership with Camp 4 Collective Director of Photography Renan Ozturk (one of our previous Adventurers of the Year), Mission Antarctic follows De Le Rue as he and pro snowboarder Lucas Debari take on mountains that have never been ridden before. With terrain so severe that any mistake could mean certain death the two athletes push the upper limits of their skills to define the absolute edges of the sport. With almost no information from previous expeditions to guide them, De Le Rue and Debari head into unknown territory to discover a passion for exploration that goes beyond the quest for high-altitude descents charged with speed and adrenaline.
At its core, Mission Antarctic is a chronicle of an adventure that unfolds with an uncertain outcome. As De Le Rue mentors the younger and less experienced Debari, both men are challenged to face the realities of this incredibly hostile environment. Accustomed to riding on steep angles with deep powder, the riders are forced to adjust their expectations and cope with treacherous slabs of sheer ice that terminate in the ocean. But along the way they also come to acknowledge the profound beauty of this untouched wilderness rich with life and colossal features of rock, ice, and snow sculpted over millennia. As he records these pioneers snowboarding across a landscape that most of humanity has never seen, Perrini wants the audience to understand that riding the mountains is a very small part of what Antarctica has to offer.
“It’s not about snowboarding,” he says. “It’s the whole adventure and exploration that makes it think the most amazing place on the planet.”
The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the generous support of MAKO Surgical Corporation http://www.makosurgical.com