Lionel Moerch Down in the Streets + Interview

Lionel’s been quietly on the come up, ripping the park in Champéry for a few years now. And now, at just 23 years young, he’s getting his first taste of riding in the streets, while still holding down a full time job. Check out the clip below and you’ll see why we’re so excited about him. Then keep on scrollin’ for a little interview…

Hey Lionel, Nice work on your clip! I knew you were good, but I’m actually pretty surprised by how much decent street footage you got, considering that last season was so dry around here. How many days did you shoot for this?
Yeah, It was probably the worst winter conditions ever… haha. But we tried to be ready whenever the snow fell. It took around 6 days of shooting, plus 2 or 3 days of driving around looking for spots with no luck.

Oh yeah, I know how that goes…
Where were you guys? Did you stay local or did you have to do some exploring?
We were mostly in Wallis or Vaud, because there are lots of spots nearby that we’d already found in summer. But sometimes all of the spots our list were not ridable because of the lack of snow, so we had to go exploring higher. You can also see in the video that we went to Iran. It was very different there; full improvisation… haha.

Oh really? I thought all of those run down buildings were in Monthey : )
How’d you end up in Iran?
We went there in March! Some friends made an association called, “We Ride In Iran” that goes there every year to develop ski and snowboarding. I’d never travelled for snowboarding, so of course I was down for it! We were 3 riders of the West crew and 1 filmer in Shemshak for 1 week. The idea was to shoot street stuff in the old abandoned buildings and help to organize the first FIS contest in Iran. There wasn’t that much snow, so we didn’t shoot many spots, but it didn’t really matter. We lived awesome experiences there, meeting some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life.

It’s not easy with Islamic countries today, but It was crazy to see that when you’re in the mountain with them, loving the same shit, there’s absolutely no differences. But I can only speak about Shemshak and all the locals I met there. I know it’s different when you are in the middle of Teheran. I regret that I didn’t have more time to visit Teheran and get a better feeling for the rest of the Persian culture. Good reason to go back there again.

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Lionel and some confused tourists in Iran © Ruedi Flück

For sure! With all of the snowboarders I’ve ever talked to, I’ve only heard good things. But I guess that’s a whole other story. Let’s focus on your part for now… What was your favorite spot to ride?
I think the best one was the lil’ down rail that I took both ways in a school playground. There was a big crew of friends there with a good vibe! I brought my father’s quad to pull us. There was a nursing home beside with old people watching, totally confused about what the fuck we were doing hahaha. It was a really fun day!

Sounds like it! But I guess it doesn’t always go that way… What was the most challenging spot you hit last season?
It was the double kink rail for sure! I was riding it with my mate Fred Couderc. It was the most scary rail I’ve ever hit – very steep, with hard kinks. Every fall was a hard slam. I finally landed it after maybe 5 or 6 tries and was sooo relieved… haha. Then I went on to the double rail, (the first spot of the video) 10 meters farther in the same parking and got a second shot 2 hours later.

Nice! I’ve always found that shooting street stuff around here can get really complicated. Did you have any problems with cops or super citizens?
I only started to ride street spots 2 years ago, so I’ve still never been fucked by cops. Mostly we just met children or curious people who were supportive. But, on the down rail that I mentioned before, a commune employee was clearing the snow from the roads there. He was surprised to see us putting snow exactly where he cleared earlier. He came to us, with his real “walliser attitude” (with kind of an angry face) and told us: “Hi guys, have fun, but please clean it all up when you’ll finish playing, enjoy!” Hahah it was pretty surprising! Good to meet some open minded adult people in Switzerland.

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High impact transfer, or big dude on a soft board? You decide. © Jorge Petrov

Damn, I’m actually surprised. Haha… I’ve never had such good luck.
So who helped you with the filming and editing?
It’s not very easy when you don’t shoot with a prod. I bought a camera 2 years ago and am lucky to have friends that know how to use it and are always down to shoot. I also filmed with Julien Roserens (from Ero One Films) for a session. He’s a real pro and a super chill dude! For editing, I learned it by myself since I bought my camera. I got a bit of help from my bro Guillaume Darbellay for the “moving titles” in the video because I don’t have photoshop. 

That’s actually really impressive. The edit seems way smoother than a lot of the pro stuff I see these days!
So what else are you into outside of filming and snowboarding?
Haha that’s the paradox for a, “freestyle man”. I’ve got a job as a watchmaker in Vevey. I put my lil’ shirt, lil’ shoes on, a smile on my face and go repairing old watches in a luxury jewelry every day. I really like it but of course I prefer to be on “vacaciones” haha. I’ve worked it out with my boss to have more free time during the winter to go snowboarding. The rest of the time, I hang out with my GF and friends, shoot some summer stuff, get that BBQ warm and grill these sausages you know ;) !

Sounds nice! So what are your plans for this winter?
This winter I actually have few real plans. We’ll be shredding the G3000 in December with all of the West Family. Then I’ll shoot street stuff, depending on the snow, and would really like to hit some BC spots with Couderc “the specialist”… or anyone else. We’re also thinking about a trip but nothing is planned at the moment. I’ll take it as it comes, I guess.

Right on… Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
Yes yes yes, a big kiss to my girlfriend, my cat, my friends, my mom… haha. No, I just would like to say : Yaaw!

Right back at ya, my man. Thanks for your time and big thanks to all of the photographers who contributed photos for this. Thierry Sermier (opening portrait), Ruedi Flück, and Jorge Petrov.

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Mini close-out, big drop, young knees. © Jorge Petrov

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