Mathieu Crepel is what you can literally describe as born (1984) on the snow. Having been growing up in Tarbs he made his first attempts on skis aged one and half years. Due to the fact that his father was a skiing instructor in a nearby ski resort at the Pyrenees, the Frenchman ended up riding every single weekend.
But as it is often, skiing didn't match with his expectations when he was out there on the mountains. After his father and some friends had started to introduce snowboarding to the region he also soon got infected with the virus. „They were pioneers and one of my father's friends quickly started to build his own snowboards. And one time, he cut one board into half, put skiing bindings on it and that was it" Crepel remembers.
Aged six or seven he also noticed that snowboarding was the one thing he was going for. „I just realised that I needed more freedom what snowboarding gave me. I didn't want to be there any more, training slalom skis while I could be ride fresh powder."
However, he never lost his competitor character which he earned in the early days: „It all came naturally. All of my friends were about three years older but I always was on the same technical level. This really pushed me." In addition, the Pyrenean tour was also very helpful in adapting the right competition focus. „It was a good contest circuit where also the Delerue brothers competed in." Another push for the young kid who used to start in every discipline before focusing on freestyle events. „That was my thing. I was able to do what I want and to express myself."
One of those expressions is linked to one of those moments one will always enjoy to look back on. "I was ten and Quicksilver asked me to go Greenland in order to shoot the "Greenland" movie together with Serge Vitelli - one of the idols I was looking up. I wasn't afraid of going there. I guess the crew had more to worry about with a young kid accompanying them. I just enjoyed my time - although I never had heard of Greenland before. When they told me to go with them I went to the library the next day and read every book I could find the next two weeks."
This experience for sure was the moment which can be described as start of his career. "From there on I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a pro - for the rest of my life."
And that this decision was the right one was proved in 2005 when the Biarritz resident won back-to-back World Cups in Korea, his fifth and sixth World Cup competition. Two years later, after he had suffered what he calls "the bitterest moment of his life" at the Olympics (see interview) he crowned himself in Arosa Big Air and Halfpipe World Champion. And the French rider who has one little sister is still hungry for more. "I like contests as you have to be there on the point. If you compete you should do so with the goal to win. You have to give your best. If you don't do it you will regret it. I have no problem with finishing fourth or fifth when I have thrown in all I can give. Then, other riders were better."