Mikey LeBlanc decided to film with you and Janna Meyen for the first Holden video when a lot of long-standing production companies still have zero women on their roster. What’s it been like filming a part and working with that whole crew?
I’ve always had a ton of respect for Mikey, so I was really honored last year when he asked me if I’d be down to film for his movie. I didn’t think I could pull it off, but I was definitely willing to try. So I went to Salt Lake City at the end of February and filmed for a couple weeks with (loveHate filmers) Jesse Burtner and Ami Voutilainen-they’re such cool dudes!
I love the Holden crew. Those guys have fun and really care for each other. They took me to Alaska on their backcountry-hiking mission, and it was one of the best trips ever for me-they didn’t care that I had no experience. I was stoked to learn how to build jumps and get the feel of everything. It was fun all the way. And Andy Forgash-he’s the man! He doesn’t drink or anything, but he parties just as hard as everyone and is even hung over the next morning. Is women’s snowboarding at the level it should be?
I think so-now girls are doing fives and sevens more commonly, and also doing more street rails. I’d like to see more girls getting video parts. And also doing more backcountry, now that I realize how gnarly it is and how hard it is to land even the simplest trick in powder.
It seems like you have a great crew of chicks to ride with right now. Who are some of the women you really respect?
Kendra Starr is definitely my favorite girl to ride with-she’s so fun, and I really respect her and her riding. Annie Boulanger’s getting into the backcountry, which is sick. I also respect Janna Meyen-she’s the shit, as always. Hana Beaman-sick style on jumps. Natasza Zurek-determination and smoothness. Kelly Clark’s pushing the sport with style. And Leanne Pelosi is so motivated and manages to be everywhere at once.
You have great style-really smooth and solid. Do you think style is important to snowboarding?
I respect people who do huge jumps and crazy rails, but I’d rather watch something more simple and stylish.
“She rides like a dude,” seems to be a compliment when it comes to women and style. Do you consciously focus on your style more because people can be extra hard on girls in that department?
I’ve never focused on style-I didn’t even think someone could consciously work on it. I feel like style is something that’s just in a person, and you can develop your own style more over time. I just say ride how you’re comfortable, and that’s your style, whether people like it or not.
There’s a huge community of people who’ve moved from Quebec to Whistler for snowboarding. Did your coming west have anything to do with the dream of riding and going pro and all that?
Actually, no. When I was fifteen, my mom went to Whistler to visit her sister and fell in love with it. She bought me a flight out there to see it for myself when she got back-I called her a week later and told her I didn’t want to leave. We convinced my stepdad to sell our house, and a year later the three of us moved out in a van and a trailer with our two Harleys. I’d only just started snowboarding at that point-just messing around for fun-and had no idea I’d ever get paid to ride.
Are the people in Quebec different than western Canadians?
Yeah, I find Quebecers a little more closed-minded-they seem stuck in their world of little habits. Growing up there, I never had a lot in common with people. I always felt out of place and didn’t consider myself a Quebecer. The West is my true home-people are open and friendly, and there’s a lot more happening.
Do you hang with the Quebecers in Whistler at all?
Yeah, my roommate Amelie is from Quebec-she’s f-king awesome. But because of traveling, I don’t get to spend as much time with the French Canadians as I used to. I miss hanging out with them, like (Alex) Auchu, the Etiennes (Tremblay andd Gilbert), (Mike) Page, and DCP. I respect those guys a lot-they never act “too cool.” The French Canadians who moved out west are definitely more open-minded than the ones who never left the East.
Eddie Wall told me you’re really afraid of things like roller coasters and bungee jumping. Are you afraid when you ride?
Yeah, I’m a wuss in life. I get scared on my board all the time-I won’t trust myself, and my only option is to say, “F-k it,” and just do it. Most of the time that works out good … somehow.
I feel like you’re really tough on yourself when it comes to snowboarding. I’m extremely hard on myself with everything in life, especially snowboarding. Whatever I do is never good enough. I get really down on myself and think of what I could accomplish instead of being stoked on what I’ve just done. I’m a perfectionist, and it’s hurting me in the end, for sure. But I’m working on that right now-I’m determined to get rid of these negative thoughts.
What about contests? They’re a lot of pressure-don’t they make you get down on yourself?
I wouldn’t say I hate contests. I guess it depends on how organized it is, and of course on how good I do. I get really stressed, and I never seem to be ready when practice is over, so a lot of times I just make up a run at the last minute and hope for the best. But besides all that, contests are fun because you get to see all your friends and ride a fun park-and if you win money, it’s even better! You won the 2004 U.S. Open slopestyle-was it a big deal to you?
It’s actually pretty funny, because I really didn’t think I’d had a good run-at least not a winning run. I expected to come in fifth or something. I guess that’s how hard I am on myself. When they announced my name I was shocked! I’m super happy about it, and of course I think it’s a big deal, but I wouldn’t say it changed my career. So many people don’t even know about contest results-it’s not quite like getting a video part.
So what’s up for the future?
Next year I want to get into the backcountry-it’s going to be a huge challenge for me. And definitely more filming. I really enjoyed it this year, although I wish I did it more so I could have a full part. Getting a video part makes me prouder than anything else, because it really shows your riding and who you are more than contests results. Plus, it’s something I can watch over and over and maybe show my kids one day.