Alex Beaulieau-Marchand is one of the few Canadian skiers keeping things exciting at competitions and in the park, all while killing it in the streets. We linked with ABM to hear what’s up this season.
Tell us about the Wild Indians crew.
It was so awesome filming with those guys, and it was actually the first time we got all together for an urban project. I have known most of the crew since I was a teenager, and the best part is that we always had friends come help out, which meant good times and a fun vibe while working on the project. And that’s how we were able to get so much done in such a short amount of time!
Why create your own mini movie?
Unfortunately, Stept wasn’t making a film last year and I didn’t have any contacts with other film companies. I decided to try to get my sponsors together and make a cool video that I could drop online for everyone to watch, for free! I also don’t have much time to film with all the competing I am doing, and I know Quebec is one of the best places to shoot urban – so why not just get homies from home together to make something happen?
What trick are you most stoked on from last year?
Definitely the cork 540 from the wall to the fence at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec. It took some vision to see the walls and fences and convince ourselves that we could make that kind of transition happen. Before starting the build, everyone knew there was a chance that it wouldn’t work at all. We built it anyways and as the session started, we tried the feature a couple times, and I told myself that the cork 540 was possible. Then all it took was the time and a few slams to make it a reality.
What else did you get up to last winter?
Other than filming for the Wild Indians, I didn’t get a chance to do much. I tore my ACL during the X Games Slopestyle Qualifiers and that was the end of my season. I was supposed to film a lot more for Wild Indians and of course, compete. I was also really excited to spend some time in the backcountry but unfortunately it didn’t happen. So I went back to Quebec, got surgery, and spent nine months making sure I would come back stronger than ever!
You just had another surgery. How’d it go?
I was just skiing at Breck, having fun in the park before heading to Mammoth and then to X, but ended up breaking my collarbone in four pieces and needed to get surgery. I flew back to Canada and had surgery a couple days after it happened. Everything went well and I am confident I’ll be able to finish the season healthy!
How important is it to have sponsors that support you through those times?
They are definitely essential in order to have a successful comeback. Recovering from an injury takes way more effort than anything else I have done in my career, and if you have to worry about other things such as sponsors, your journey back to 100% becomes much more difficult. I’m hyped I got support from my sponsors during both my injuries.
What’s on the schedule while you recover?
I will be chilling in Quebec for the most part, getting all the medical help needed and focusing on my rehab. Apart from that, I’ll be taking it easy and hanging with my homies out here!
You mentioned a potential visit to South Korea?
Yes, I would be going there for a World Cup Olympic Test Event. Unfortunately I won’t be able to compete, but I would still be able to visit the Olympic sites and get a vision of what it will look like in 2018. It will also be awesome to get the chance to explore Pyeongchang because there’s not really any free time for that during the Games.
So you’re hoping to compete at the next Olympics?
That’s the plan! I’m taking all the necessary steps to get there, so that I can show my skiing at a worldwide audience while representing my country. With that being said, I am not putting any unrealistic expectations on myself because I know injuries can and do happen. I am just trying to get better at skiing and that’s all I can do for now!
Tell us about the above trick.
I first thought about doing this trick on skis after I did it on rollerblades, at the age of twelve or so. It’s actually a pretty casual trick on rollerblades, but clearly much more difficult with metal ski edges. I remember trying it on snow when I was about sixteen, but I ate shit a bunch of times and gave up after that. To be honest, I thought it was impossible for so long, but then the other day I was hitting the rainbow rail at Breck and thought about giving it a shot. I started trying it slowly to make sure I wasn’t going to bail, and at some point, I was confident enough and committed to it. And the best part is that it worked out! I was definitely very hyped.
Can you give us a tease of what’s next on the mind-bending trick list?
For now, I only dream about new tricks. Until they become reality they don’t actually exist.
What’s the plan once you’re back on your skis?
Unfortunately, I think I will have to focus on competing at all the events before the season is over to get some kind of AFP ranking — which is needed to get invited to all the big events! I will hopefully film a bunch more for this video part I am working as well.
I have always preferred filming over competing, and also, believe that I am better at filming than competing. For me, filming is all about making something look cool, different and impressive. You have to be creative and put in the work to make it happen. It allows you to get out of your comfort zone and do tricks you have never done before because you actually have the time to try it.
A contest is way different, as it consist of two runs with seven features or so. You have to be crazy consistent, and because of that, sometimes less creative. To win, you practice all the same four big tricks in all four directions, as required by the official judges these days. It’s all pretty hectic and makes it really hard to be creative and do things differently. I enjoy pushing myself, love jumping off big jumps, and obviously appreciate all the contest-oriented support I get. That’s basically why I compete so much. That and the fact is there is a lot more exposure in contests than in movies! In my opinion, a video part is a much better representation of how good you are at skiing and I believe it will always be that way.
How do you do it all? Keep things exciting at competitions, innovate in the park, and kill it in the streets. Most skiers struggle with just one, yet you seem to be doing just fine juggling all three.
When I was young I used to watch Charles Gagnier and JF Houle compete in contests, make full movie segments and still find time to innovate in the park. I try to do what I dreamed of doing when I was young.
When I grew up, filming with my friends was all I ever did. At some point, I started competing because I got some good opportunities and was surrounded by people that believed I could make it happen. With the help of many friends and a lot of hard work, I was able to both film and compete every winter. Now I really want to just keep innovating and progressing my skiing in all the aspects… and hopefully, find the time to get out in the backcountry!
Did you have any idea that skiing would take you to the places it has?
I hoped skiing would take me to cool places, but at the time it was an unrealistic dream for me! When I was that age, I was just having a lot of fun in the streets with my friends.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To believe in your dreams, and just to keep having fun on skis.
Time for some quick hits.
Comp pump-up song? Dead or Alive – Jazz Cartier
Urban pump-up song? Never listen to music in the streets, too much stuff going on around.
Favourite meal before an event? Egg sandwich with peanut butter and maple syrup!
Favourite snack while shooting street? Bananas.
What comes to mind when you think of Quebec? Peace and beautiful.
Best Quebec park? Moose Park at Mont-Orignal.
Best Quebec urban mecca? Montreal.
Best Quebec skier? Phil Casabon.
Best Canadian? Phil Casabon.
Who’s going to win X Games Big Air? Vincent Gagnier or Henrik Harlaut.
Who’s going to win X Games Real Ski? JF Houle.
Huge thanks to ABM for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll be hearing from him as soon as he’s back from South Korea with his thoughts on the new Olympic facilities. As always, find the latest at www.sbcskier.com
Interview and article photos by SBC Skier editor / photo editor Jason Mousseau. Photo on left by Shay Williams / Monster Energy.
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