April 23rd, 2010 ~ Waterbury, VT ~
Unfortunately, 2009-2010 has proved a rather injury-plagued season for some of our favorite pro riders and friends. From the severe and tragically-timed to the infamous and (far too) quickly-forgotten, many have gone through a bit of a rough patch, to say the least. Some have received incredible media and public support – true grace, in my mind – while sadly, the hardships of a few others haven’t nearly been as well-known. Of all the kids to have fallen this year, one of the wildest stories belongs to rail god turned backcountry killer, Marie-France Roy.
Having had the great pleasure of befriending and interviewing Marie-France last fall, hearing of her tragic injury hits home pretty damned hard. Widely-regarded as one of the most talented snowboarders in the world, Marie is also one of the most genuinely friendly and warm young people in the game. Serious conversation with her comes as easy as sitting with an old friend, while the simple, happy BS flows with grace. She can also tell some awesomely bad jokes – a value never to be understated.
This morning, we received an email from the good people at Rome Snowboards. Beginning with a few words from Team Manager John Cavan, it held a quick Skype interview with Marie. Recounting her experience, it’s inspiring to read her in high spirits. Get well quick, buddy – hope to see you back in the game, very soon.
Rome Team Manager, John Cavan:
This has been a gnarly year for serious snowboard injuries. Kevin Pearce, Danny Davis, Nick Dirks, LNP, Andreas Wiig, Chris Grenier, and Pat Moore all experienced major injuries, some season-ending and others life-threatening. Earlier this year when I got word that Laurent had broken his back, I got that sickening feeling in the gut and feared about the worst for my friend. The hairy Canadian wonder is ok now, but I got a few more grey hairs.
A couple weeks ago I got another one of those dreaded phone calls. Our favorite female snowboarder Marie-France Roy was seriously injured in a fall in the Whislter backcountry while filming for the new Absinthe film, resulting in a Heli evac and a fractured C2 vertebrate. Marie is one of the happiest, most positive people I know and she has been taking everything in stride with her typical sense of humor, and go-for-it attitude. We’ve spoken several times since the injury and it amazes me how positive she is. We did this little Skype interview the other day while I was in Big Bear so she could tell everyone how she’s doing.
John Cavan: yo hippy
Marie-France Roy: brah
JC: Laurent says hello
MFR: hello!! I miss the sweet Lou
JC: So this will be easy and painless
MFR: doubt it
JC: ha ha ha
JC: So you had a little bit of a rough one recently in the Whislter Backcountry can you explain what happened?
MFR: Yep. I was up Brandywine with Absinthe. Me, Annie (Boulangier) and our filmer Paul and Chaloux went on a cruise while DCP and Romain built a jump to find stuff to do. We found this ice wall at the blowhole and I tried to wall ride it and the speed didn’t work so we were just gonna leave and then I said I could just drop from the top over a lil cornice and land on the ice wall. I dropped in and it was pow. The take off looked soft but as soon as I got on it, it was rock hard ice. I was already going a bit too fast but that made me go even faster. I went 45 feet down to an ice flat landing.
JC: Fuck. So, what ended up happening to you?
MFR: As soon as I took off in the air and looked down, I knew I would most likely break something. If it was pow, I would have tried to land on my back a lil to absorb the impact but I knew if I did that on that ice, I would break my back so I landed on my feet and just crumbled down I think. My head hit the ground at one point. I didn’t pass out but that happened so fast, not sure how I twisted. I slid down a bit further and I could feel my arms and legs, thank God. My arms were really numb and tingly for about 30 seconds. I could hear the others asking if I was okay but I couldn’t breathe right away from the impact. Then I could feel something wrong in my neck. I laid there and breathed for a few minutes and Paul mentioned the heli, I was like, no maybe I’ll be fine to sled down, maybe I should just try to sit up. As soon as I tried I could feel a gnarly pinch in my neck and I just stayed down. They called the heli and it showed up 2 hours later. I was freezing. They brought me to whistler for X-Rays. They didn’t really know and said I needed better scans and an MRI, so they put me in an ambulance around 10 pm and drove me to Vancouver. I did all the scans that night, they said they’d tell me in the morning if I needed surgery. Luckily the next day they announced to me that I fractured my C2 but that it was the best way possible, and it didn’t require surgery. Just a brace for about 6 weeks (not the halo), and about a year to 100 % recovery. I’m SO lucky.
JC: Damn, how scared were you waiting for the heli? Were there all kinds of crazy things going through your head?
MFR: I was pretty relaxed. I knew I need to chill and wait and see and that there was no point of thinking of how bad it could be. Annie (Boulanger) was really nice. She kept me warmed and entertained, ha! It really hurt when the rescue guys put the neck brace on me and moved me in the heli, but I was already trying to stay positive. Just that I could feel my arms and legs was a really good sign for me.
JC: Yeah Annie was awesome she took care of letting us know back in VT and keepin us in the loop, man between you and Laurent you are giving me gray hairs…a back and a neck…..this has been a crazy season. So what’s the plan now? What will you be doing for the next few months while you recover?
MFR: It’s been 4 weeks already and I’m super positive and happy. I have such great peeps around me and time flies so quick. I’m not even bored one bit, and I’m not even watching movies and tv shows and reading… I can walk so that’s awesome. I’m at my house on Vancouver Island so I go walk on the beach almost every day. I started picking up plastic trash on the beach and make earrings out of it and will sell them for charity. Since I can’t surf, I started filming my friends in town here. They are trying to get a movie together for the surf shop team. There’s a few chicks here in town that rip at surfing and skating so we’ll probably do a lil chick flick as well. I’m gardening a bit, I want to get chickens! Can anybody help me build a chicken coop? haha!
JC: Awesome, by the way, while we are doing this I’m watching Laurent, Will and Paxson play scrabble…….you can only imagine how high level the word play that is going on here right now
MFR: haha! I’m guessing its pretty poor! I’ve been playing so much scrabble. I got an iPhone so I play “Words with Friends” a lot. Watch out next time! and remember last time you argued with me about one of the rules? I’m pretty sure I was right. Just sayin… ha! The other day I made the word squid for 117 point!
JC: Damn girl…….Laurent is a lot better than you’d think, apparently he played a lot while he was nursing his back…..I don’t play Words with Friends, it’s cheating and a big time waste…but anytime you’re ready for the real game I’m ready…..just saying HA
MFR: okokok well I’m sure Laurent kills it. I bet Paxson is pretty good too, he seems smart. It’s true that words with friends isn’t as legit as the real game but why don’t you stop hating so much for once? ha!
JC: So next year you can just ask to get out of doing Team Shootout, you don’t have to do something so drastic…….I kid I kid, Little Marie (Marie Hucal) killed it for you out here
MFR: I know it was perfect timing!! ha! I’m sure Marie killed it. I miss that lil nugget!
JC: Yeah she is awesome. She rode super strong. Well everyone out here wishes you the best, keep it easy style out there. Heal up strong, and keep working on your scrabble skills……although I wouldn’t be able to play you past a third grade level in French HA HA
MFR: Thanks a lot!!! I’ll be back strong on any kind of board, snow or scrabble!! ha! I can’t believe how supportive everyone has been. Thanks for all the flowers, the good vibes and messages, I feel so lucky to have such good friends and people around me. Thanks to Rome for all the presents and treats from the whole staff, 32 sent me flowers as well, so crazy. I love you all and it would have been a lot harder without everybody’s love. Thank you!!! Xoxox bye bye now
JC: Cool I’ll talk to you soon ma friend