Max Baillargeon grew up in Quebec, sharpened his claws on all that cold French Canadian steel, recently made the move west and spent last winter taking his lumps in the Whistler backcountry. Kid is on his way. He rides for Billabong, Etnies, Thirtytwo, Salomon, Dragon, I Found Headwear and Radical snowboard shop and is also working his way through college. He’s been lurking in So Cal recently, interning at Billabong, and swung by the TW offices. This is what he had to say.
Where are you from?
I’m from Quebec City, Canada.
What’s Quebec City like?
It’s pretty flat, there are no real big mountains, but there are a couple good small resorts, but there are a lot of good handrails out there. And there’s always a lot of snow every year. This year we had a record winter. We had the most snow in the last 25 years.
What’s something that people don’t know about Quebec?
Well, I think a lot of people know that it’s cold, but they don’t really know how cold it gets there. Some days it’s so cold that you don’t even want to go film. In the coldest part of the winter, like mid-February, it’s so cold and there’s so much snow, that before you can hit any of the rails you have to spend hours shoveling them all out. I think that might be one of the reasons why people want to go to Whistler [Laughs].
Was that one of the reasons you moved to Whistler?
Yeah, and I moved there because I wanted to get more time in the backcountry and learn how to jump in powder.
How was the winter in Whistler?
It was good, but the weather is so hard to predict there. They’ll say it’s supposed to be sunny for a whole week and it’ll end up being cloudy everyday. But there’s such good snow up there.
And did you learn how to jump into powder?
Um..yeah, a little bit. [Laughs]. I have to work more on it, but I like it so much man. Hopefully in the years to come I’ll just keep getting to work on it more and more. Like every snowboarder, I just love riding powder, it so fun, and in Quebec all we really do is ride rails. We’re all just kinda born and raised with the rails so it’s such a good thing to learn how to jump on these huge features in Whistler. That’s the challenge I like.
You film with the Sugar Shack Crew right? How did the winter go for filming?
Well, um, I’m not really that stoked to be honest. I had shoulder surgery in September, so I was out until mid-January, but I think I’ve been able to save the winter. I’m just stoked that I healed up pretty good. I didn’t injure my shoulder again and this summer I’m going to ride all summer at Camp of Champions and I’m already really pumped for next winter.
Who are you’re biggest influences?
First my friends for sure; Alex Cantin, Reno B, and Matt Dano. I’m always with them so they’re the ones inspiring me the most. Oh and Louif (Paradis). But, of course there’s all the snowboarders you see in the movies. I started snowboarding after I saw Decade. I was like ‘Oh my god, those guys can do that with their snowboard?” and that was one of the reasons that I started to snowboard.
And this summer you’re down here in California doing an internship at Billabong right?
Yeah, it’s a marketing internship. That’s what I’m studying at university.
How is it balancing school and a snowboard career?
Well, it’s doaable for sure. It’s a lot of work, but it’s good because sometimes if the weather is shitty or you get injured and you can’t snowboard for while, then it’s good to have something else to spend your time on, so you don’t go crazy, ‘cuz I hate doing nothing. I go crazy if I don’t have anything to do.
What do you want to get out of snowboarding?
Oh man, everything [laughs]. There’s so much to get out of snowboarding. First all the travel is just so crazy. I love to travel. It’s cool to get to see all these new places and meet new people. And I’m learning English because of snowboarding. And I’ve made so many new friends because of snowboarding. It’s a really cool industry.