Travelling down a snow-topped mountain at speeds of up to 50mph with just your skis or snowboard must be fairly daunting—especially when they don’t actually have any brakes. However when you swap the friendly, snowy mountains with an active, aggressive volcano, just how much more terrifying does it get?
Well three North Face athletes bit the bullet and headed over to the South Pacific to give Mount Yasur a run for its money.
For those unaware, Mount Yasur is a volcano located on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. It stands at 1,184ft tall and has been erupting repeatedly for the past three years. So it’s safe to say this was no walk in the park…or ski!
The three men who headed out for the ride of their lives are all professional winter sports athletes working with The North Face.
Sam Smoothy is a 30-year-old world-class freeriding skier originating from New Zealand. Smoothy has won many titles throughout his career, including: New Zealand Skier of the Year (2012), New Zealand Snowsports Freeride Athlete of the Year (2014) and more recently in 2015 he won the Freeride World Tour in Andorra. These are just a few titles among the long list he has, but you get the idea. He’s no stranger to skiing…
Xavier De Le Rue is a 37-year-old freeride snowboarder from Saint Lary, France. Similar to Smoothy, he also has a long list of winnings from his career, such as: World Champion Freeride World Tour (2008, 2009, 2010!), X Games Winner in 2005 and 2010 Big Mountain Snowboarder of the Year. This guy is a real snowboarding master, but how will he handle the heat of Mount Yasur?
Xavier’s younger brother, Victor De Le Rue is also taking part in this fiery ride of a lifetime. He is a 27-year-old snowboarder from St Lary, France. Just like his older brother, Victor has had some success within his career too. He was voted French Rider of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and he was awarded with Snowboarder Magazine’s #3 Rider of the Year in 2015. Victor has also appeared in movies including Dopamine, Heavy Mental and Origins.
So it’s obvious these guys are absolute artists when it comes to the snowy mountains in France, Switzerland, Austria. But lets see how that changes when you swap those mountains with a 184ft tall, active volcano that could erupt at any time.
Video courtesy of The North Face.