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An interview with Nicolas Mueller

There are a few telling signs that you are popular, like kids fighting over who gets to sit next to you on the school bus or stressing over which mega-exclusive party you'll be gracing this weekend…Or it could be, as in the case of Nicolas Mueller, being on the cover of what seems like every snowboard magazine you pick up! In fact, as far as popularity goes, there aren't many pro-snowboarders who can claim the beloved status Nicolas has within the industry, and it's clear that he’s a favorite with photo editors as much as fans. You see, watching Nicolas snowboard makes you want to go snowboard. With a style as smooth as butter and a mastery of the mountain’s most impressive natural terrain, it’s no wonder he never fails to please the crowd. Yet, interestingly, Nicolas has never followed the crowd. Instead he has stayed true to snowboarding's roots and has made a successful career out of approaching snowboarding as a lifestyle, not a sport. Better still, he is as passionate about the environment he lives in as snowboarding itself and strives for sustainability in all he does, which just gives us one more reason to love our Swiss friend... 

Photo: Adam Moran

MIZU: There can't be another snowboarder in history with the amount of covers you have had. How many is it now?Yeah, maybe that is a fact but honestly, I lost track. I think it’s around 80. I have a room in my Laax house though where I keep all my coverage from magazines and such. It’s a mess though! I keep trying to organise but whenever I get at it I end up reading the magazines, fading back in my mind to the good old days…!

Photo: Adam Moran

MIZU: Why do you think it is that you always snare the cover shot? Hmm, maybe because that's always has been more important to me. I am talking here about the feeling of style versus technicality. Or maybe it is my main motivation to make snowboarding look good, haha! And well, half the work is the photographer's credit as well...

MIZU: How do you manage to continue evolving your riding, always finding a fresh perspective the way you do? I don’t know, I just focus on the ways that give me the most joy. You gotta love every little bit about what you do, otherwise what’s the point? Snowboarding’s sacred to me right now so I make sure nothing's gonna take that from me. And at the end of the day, snowboarding’s a lifestyle not a sport. Who says that you are the best? Is there such a thing? I don’t know. I know I am pretty at it but that’s not a guarantee to have fun and you gotta go make it fun still. Everyday you look for those turns on snow.  

Photo: Adam Moran

 

MIZU: Do you believe that riding so much half-pipe back in the days has helped your riding today? Most definitely! In fact I just came down from the glacier here in Saas Fee where I rode pipe all day long and I can’t wait for the Laax one to open in a couple of weeks. They are even making a smaller one this year. It’s the best board control training and gets you strong legs

 

Photo: Adam Moran

MIZU: What would you say the key elements are in becoming an all-round rider like you? Ride all day, ride pipe, ride slopes, ride pow. Ride it all and don’t worry about a thing but safety! Your environment shapes you, so for me the Swiss alps were like a giant playground; long, diverse runs. You wanna think snowboarding and become one with your board, your gear…heck even your beanie. You have to feel good all around the mountain and you will be it.    

MIZU: Anyone who has followed your career can see that you’ve really been the master of your destiny. You’ve managed to stay away from contests (other than the backcountry based Ultranatural) and carved a path of freeriding. Has it been a battle at times to stay true to this? For sure -- it hasn’t always been as easy as it may look but I see it like a mountain. If the mountain is smooth all the way up, you slip and won’t make it to the top. Now if there’s ups and downs, edges and rocks sticking out, you have to grasp and step by step you will get there. But you can only go yourself, nobody can do that for you.

 

Photo: Gabriel L'Heureux

MIZU:  What should we be expecting from the Nicolas Muller movie you have in the works? Well I wanna say there’s a little something for everybody in there. I wanna tell the same same but new. I guess we’ll see when it’s done. Main goal again, I want to get people hyped for snowboarding. It gives me so much beyond riding. I will give my best to have some of that to come across. I hope this makes sense! Well it’s also gonna be weird, haha!

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Photo: Dean Blotto Grey

MIZU: Sustainability is a huge cause of yours: Did you create your own company, Atreebutes, because of this? Yes, sort of. Fredi Kalbermatten and I started Arcus, our original street wear brand, in 2000, so we go way back. When it came to an end we were like," O.K., if we keep doing something it’s gotta be fair towards the planet and ultimately towards ourselves." After two years I had to back out for a few reasons but Fredi and his wife Nicole are up and running it and I’m still a part owner. But going back to the cause of sustainability...it’s a way of life for me so everything I do I try to keep in mind the full circle. What goes around comes around, even the shit we flush down the toilet!

Photo: Scott Sulivan

 MIZU: Why is Mizu important to you? Because water is life. I don’t want anybody to be thirsty but we also shouldn't be swimming in an ocean full of plastic particles. My Mizu has become a true and faithful companion  

Photo: Dean Blotto Grey

MIZU: If you had the power to make people change one behavior today, what would it be? To consume none or less meat. Cattle business eats away the lungs of our planet: The rainforests. (http://www.atlanticrainforest.org/index.php?page=ambassadors)

Photo: Adam Moran

 MIZU: When you are old and no longer snowboarding for a career, will you still be spending your days in the mountains? Yes, I feel less old in the mountains anyways. I’d take a mountain view any second over anything else. Pow turns till the end! And the water to fill up my Mizu bottle is way more fresh up there...

Photo: Adam Moran

 

MIZU: It’s your last descent… Who are you riding down with? LEA LU. Sorry boys!