The only constant in all action sports is progression and yet ironically when most bold new ideas are presented into this realm of constant change they are usually laughed at.
Xavier De Le Rue is used to having his ideas laughed at, but that has never stopped him. He has made a habit of pushing the boundaries and defying convention. Degrees North took three years of planning and two large-scale expeditions to complete and it is evidence of De Le Rue’s strength of mind, passion and an outright refusal to listen to other people’s perceptions of possibility. The result is his and the Timeline crew’s most visually stunning and technically creative work to date.
De Le Rue’s professional snowboard career began in the world of Snowboard Cross. Having won 2 World Championships and an X Games Gold he then switched codes. The Freeride World Tour presented Xavier with a new challenge he was perfectly prepared for, and he winned 3 years in a row from 2008 through to 2010.
This success attracted the attention of the wider snowboard world and bought De Le Rue the freedom to begin travelling and filming his exploits. Comfortable at high speeds and on steep icy terrain Xavier instantly made his mark, being voted Big Mountain Rider of the year in 2009 and being invited to film with the legendary Standard Films. This served as an introduction to the world of media production and, back home in Verbier, De Le Rue started working with filmer Guido Perrini and photographer Tero Repo. This fledgling project was to become the foundation of Timeline Productions the company behind all of Xavier’s personal projects.
The team began searching for new challenges and when they settled on Antarctica they knew they had met their match. Xavier discovered an unlikely solution to scout and film new lines when he was introduced to expert French Paragliding pilot Christophe Blanc Gras. Christopher and Xavier discussed the possibility of using Paramotor’s which allow him to gain altitude without the need for thermals.
Degrees North is the story of De Le Rue, the Swiss alpinist and big mountain skier Sam Anthamatten, snowboarder Ralph Backstrom, pilot Christopher Blanc Gras and the incredibly talented Timeline crew trying to achieve this dream.
It is a compelling film because it traces both sides of the story, obviously there are the challenges faced by Xavier, Sam, Ralph and Christophe in mastering the paramotor’s in difficult terrain. But it also follows the crew in their bid to capture the action in some of the most remote and punishing environments on earth.