Snowboarding means different things to different people: some get their thrills tearing through virginal powder, some by boosting out of perfect transitions, while others throve on sliding down gnarly city handrails.
Nowadays, most pros make their name by sticking to what they are good at, be it riding natural terrain, unnatural handrails… or something in between. But some, on the other hand, refuse to specialise and spend their whole careers dedicated to mastering everything. They are the true stars of snowboarding.
Next up: French air styler and hairstyler Arthur Longo.
While Arthur hasn’t achieved quite the full five that guys like Gigi and Travis deserve, there’s no reason to think he’s not on track – despite focusing heavily on his pipe career the past few winters, look back a little further and you’ll find Longo logged several A-grade backcountry parts during his time filming with the Pirates crew, including some serious AK action with Gigi in 2012.
Arthur might be a freestyle machine, but like anyone who grew up riding the French Alps, he knows how to ride real mountains, and he combines the two effortlessly.
Arthur doesn’t ride slopestyle events, so it’s hard to give him a full 5 here, but the fact remains that Longo is a good all-round park rider, and insanely good in the air. When it comes to jumps he has some very stylish 10s and doubles in the bag, and when it comes to hips, he goes as big as anyone in the world.
Longo is a way better pipe rider than his contest record would suggest: gold at the 2009 Arctic Challenge quarterpipe and silvers at the 2013 Euro X Games and 2015 US Open show he has the talent, but not the consistency to be one of the biggest names in the sport.
Ask the pros who they rate, however, and it’s a different story: Arthur is regularly name-checked as one of the most underrated riders in the sport. When Arthur is in the zone, he combines amplitude, style and technical difficulty like nobody else.
Definitely Arthur’s weakest link: the only filmed evidence of Arthur’s urban game is a street rail frontside boardslide in his first video part, hence the minimum score. Still, you only have to watch his opening part from Pirates’ Unique 8 – huge handplant transfers, monster airs to rock wall rides – to see what he could do in the streets…
… As in, “Why This Guy?” What makes this rider stand out?
For more than any other rider so far in this series, a lack of urban evidence is the biggest factor holding Arthur back from being considered a true all-rounder. But the fact is, Arthur is one of only a handful of snowboarders capable of making podium at a world-class pipe contest AND delivering a world-class backcountry video part. And while others with a similar skillset – Kazu Kokobu, Ben Ferguson and Mathieu Crepel come to mind – also deserve a mention, Longo’s current form earns him the top spot in this exclusive category of ATV.