Europe has become a veritable breeding ground for the next generation of female jib talent. And while you may think of the mighty Alps when you think of European riding, some of their best jibbers come from the most unexpected of places—Estonia. Poland, or even the extra flat Netherlands. From style to setting new standards of technicality, those ladies on the other side of the Atlantic can shred.
And I’m on an investigative mission to figure out what makes them so damn good. In the meantime here’s an interview with one such phenomenon, Rachida Aoulad, whose switch skills and technical riding caught my attention. Rachida learned to ride in an icebox in Holland, so it’s not surprising she’d rather be on the streets than up on a mountain.
How does someone from such a flat country fall in love with sliding down hill?
I started snowboarding pretty late actually, there’s a dome in my hometown but it never really crossed my mind to go there. I tried snowboarding once at that time and I totally sucked at it. But then a friend of mine (Anthony Indawood) asked me if I would join him. Back then we where around the age of 13. Somehow I was able to strap in and make turns instantly—from that day I never strapped out again.
What’s it like riding inside where conditions never change? Do you get to ride year round?
Domes for rail riding are amazing! It’s open 365 days a year from 9am till 11pm. Take offs are always the same, the lifts go super fast, and the weather never sucks. For kicker riding not so much though, we don’t have enough space to build proper kickers, that’s probably why I suck at it. But anyway if you’re around come check my local dome out. Snowworld Zoetermeer, it rocks!
How often do you get out of the dome and get to shred real mountains?
I don’t get to shred the mountains as much as I want to. It’s a bit of a hassle to get there because it’s a minimum 10 hour drive plus cost for lift tickets and stuff; it’s super expensive. And in the end my passion lies in the streets. If I could choose between a mountain or a sick street trip I would probably choose the streets 8 out of 10 times.
Tell us about taking the top spot at Rock A Rail 2015 this season. What were the ladies throwing down?
Riding at Rock A Rail is amazing, especially because it is in my hometown. All my friends are right there with me either riding or shouting in the audience. Taking the win is icing on the cake.
The riding level of Rock A Rail was insane. Everyone was sending it. I saw one footers, gaps even some switchy’s. But somehow I just landed everything I did. I had like 2 bails in the entire contest and the last 10 minutes I was like what am I gonna do? I already did everything I wanted to do. That’s when I decided to do some switch tricks, I think that’s what brought it home for me.
Tell us a little about the Flatstyle Rail Jam. That looked, well, interesting.
Flatstyle Railjam is a event that combines wakeboarding with snowboarding. They arranged a shitload of snow on the marketplace of Delft. They built a pulley system that normally is used for wakeboarding and put down some obstacles. They invited both wakeboarders and snowboarders to have a go at it, and the snowboarders were struggling. Snowboarders of course aren’t used to holding a cable while boardsliding a rail or doing a 360. But once you get the hang of it and understand the lines you have to take to get speed it’s super fun! I might spend my next summer on the water.
What has it taken to perfect such proper switch tricks, like the switch frontboard and front blunt 270 out in your dome edit?
I kinda just had those tricks on the first go. It’s just committing to it that’s hard for me. Now that I’m getting older my mind starts racing when I try new stuff. I start thinking about the consequences like breaking something and not being able to work, and that’s when things go wrong. But with some motivation from my friends I can most of the times put my mind to rest and just go for it.
You had a part in Too Hard’s Tres Hard, any plans to put some more time into filming urban?
Unfortunately, I did not have the resources to be out on the streets and film this year. That’s why I’m super set on making a part next year. I’m already planning my trips for next year and it definitely has the streets in there. I hope everything works out so I can focus on making it banging!
When you get to ride urban, where is that usually?
The 2 years that I have been riding urban it’s been in Sweden, Finland, and even the Netherlands when we had some snow. For next year I wanna do some more countries like Estonia, Italy, Norway and probably the Alps. We just have to wait and see where the snow is gonna fall.
Cover Photo: Dasha Nosova