Nothing but praise has resulted from the Newschoolers Forum Q&A with Charles Gagnier, who has been back around to release never before seen footage from as early as 2000. Gagnier dropped into Ski Gabber for another forum Q&A, and answered your questions about his thoughts on competition skiing and the current ski industry, his inspirations, and life today.
WATCH: Throwback edit from 2002
Turner.: You've seen this sport grow and mutate and go through all kinds of developments in your time - some fucked up, some revolutionary. What has sustained you through 15+ years of skiing? What keeps you coming back?
CG: I just love skiing so much and the feelings I get from it is the best, I could not live without it, but also, what makes me want to come back is that I feel like I can try something new every time I'm skiing. I like to test what can be done on skis or it's even just to go out and try some terrain I've never skied before or to try out an urban spot I believe is doable...
Turner.: I would argue that the Quebec ski scene has always had a bit of a different flavour from the rest of North America, and even the world. What is it about the Quebec scene that makes it so distinct?
CG: It could be because we don't have big mountains, and no real big jumps so we need to be creative to progress and have fun.
It also might be because of the influence of quebec freeski pioneers like JP Auclair, JF Cusson, Vincent Dorion, 3 phils...
It probably reflect our personality too, Quebec province is surrounded by the english part of Canada & the united states and we might be different in some ways. Our culture is not the same and it might shows off as well in the way we are skiing.
Turner.: I once heard that Frank Raymond didn't believe in building lips onto urban rails. Are there any trends in skiing today that you think are stupid? Is there anything you wish skiers would go back to doing?
CG: Frank Raymond is the man! He's the realest urban skier of all time and did influence the quebéquois in the best way as for hitting urbans the way professionals should do it. There are some trends that I don't necessarily like but I feel that every trick or trend deserves a try. I would like to see the skiers not following the trends and instead just pushing the aspects of skiing they like. It would diversify the styles and would make skiing a whole lot more interesting. I think that people should look back at was has been done in the past and get inspired from that instead of following what everybody is doing right now.
Do less safeties and do more leading grabs!!
PHOTO: Félix Rioux
Uglyboy: What's your opinion on the current fuck comps mentality from film skiers?
CG: I can understand why some of the film skiers would say that since the way comps are judged needs to change drastically. I am pissed that the best skiers can't win contests because of the way it is judged. For example, I believe that the winner of a slopestyle should be be best skier of the pack, I mean, the guy that shows off the most skills, not the one that can spin the most while flipping twice all four ways! The winner should be the person that has the best variety in terms of grabs, axis, originality, rail tricks (because rails should matter!!)... and I'm not even considering style because that is too suggestive...
But I don't think that dissing comps is part of the solution to put it back on the right track.
Mr.Bishop: Is there one skier that you would consider to have been your biggest influence in your Career?
CG: Definitely my brother Antoine, he showed me the way. He made me realize what was the future in skiing when I started to ski on twin tips at age 15. He told me: if you want to leave your mark in skiing, you have to push either on rails or in the half pipe because back in 2000, the pro skiers were dope at jumping but they kind of suck on rails and in the halfpipe. Since I did not like halfpipe that much, I started to think about what could be done on rails with skis on and I still haven't done everything I could think of.
Holte: You have a list of invented tricks and firsts that is almost unprecedented. Where do you draw inspiration from to have imagined so many tricks that had never been done before?
CG: From age 15 to 18, I was pretty much obsessed with skiing and that was pretty much all I could think of, so back then, I did have thought about a lot of the possibilities of what could be done on skis.
I used to watch quite a lot of snowboarding, skateboarding and breakdancing and I got most of my inspirations from those sports.
Kapitol Photo // 2009 Dumont Cup
Holte: Also, can you tell us the story about hitting Chad's Gap?
CG: I was on my first trip with plehouse films. I was in utah and about to go build a backcountry jump with Thomas Rinfret and Phil Dion at glizzly gulch and on my way up, I saw the famous chad's gap, I couldn't believe that I was seeing it with my own eyes!! And the crasiest thing is that there was a crew standing there, ready to go hit the legendary jump. It was the TGR crew along with Chris Booth and Jamie Pierre and we started talking. I was just 18 years old and one of my biggest goal in skiing was to try out that jump. So, I told them that it was one of my dream to jump over chad's gap and they allowed me to session it with them!!!! It was my 1st ever backcountry jump and all I had were my 1080 park skis. 1st hit: I couldn't clear the jump with a straight air. Second hit: I hiked about 500 feet above the other guys to get the right speed. I tried a 720 tail grab but I couldn't land it. On my 3rd hit, I hiked up as high as I could and tried to get as much speed as possible and I finally landed a 360.. that was my 1st backcountry jump and it's still the biggest one I have ever done and it was such an honor to hit it with Jamie Pierre!!!!
BrownEyeIn: Seems like your career was on the up and up - Xgames gold, some insane video parts. Do you think after parting ways with Salomon (Dropped?) Opportunities were slimmer to film with certain companies due to no financial backing and Plehouse no longer existing? Do you feel to a certain extent after being Salomons poster boy for a long period and still delivering that their decision making was ill hearted? I can't honestly say I saw a huge dip in your performances, competition or segments that really warranted that kind of treatment. Would you have had more years of being in the spotlight or more fuel in the tank to keep producing for a longer period of time? I know you have had some success somewhat recently, like the red bull streets, and had some pretty killer segments with local quebec film crews.
CG: It was definitely a hard one when I got dropped by Salomon. The deal I had with them was to give them 3-4 years of competitions and after that I could focus on filming and really show what I could do but unfortunately, the company changed over those years and I couldn't do what was planned... But I had to say that Lionel Favret and Popol were the best, they help me so much and I had the best time of my life because of them and salomon, so I have to thank them more than I could ever be grateful.
I'm kind of disappointed that I had never shot a ski segment that I could be really happy about since they were always shot on the side on a very short periods. I would have love to focus on making a sick video part at least one time...
jpastor: What was the reasoning for leaving Salomon and switching to Ramp skis and why did you choose them?
CG: I got dropped by salomon and spend a whole year without a ski sponsor. Ramp was the 1st company that had some interest in me, and it was mutual!! I did like the company with their green approach and then I tried out their products and they were just so light and fun to ride. It's also cool that they make their skis in Utah and their staff is great!
jpastor: What is your feeling on the industry to date? Covering the entire spectrum from The Hood Crew edits to the comp scene. What do you find more interesting? What types of content would you like to see more of?
CG: I do enjoy watching ski edits and also to watch ski competitions and I think they are both great. I love to see what can be done on skis so it's always entertaining to see what the guys like Real Skifi have to offer.
I believe that more originals contest like B&E, the Playstreets, Vars Tournament... should be organized because the traditional slopestyle and halfpipe contests are looking too much the same.
mixinup: When do you feel like slopestyle competitions turned to shit? and why? I personally feel like the double flip era of skiing came a couple years too early and made freeskiing go away from its roots which are beauty, style, and creativity...do you agree?
CG: I wouldn't say that slopestyle has turned to shit.. because it's still a real good show. But I kind of agree that the double flip era might have came a little too early and made freeskiing go away from its roots which are beauty, style, and creativity. I think that the contest guys should have mastered more flips, axis and grabs before going to that next step with the dub flips.
YOU-FUCKING-FUCK: What are you up to these days? Working? Skiing? Vacationing?
CG: I'm a family man, I have a wife, two kids and I' m back to school so that I can became an engineer.
Mr.Bishop: What kind of effect did Antoine have on your skiing? In my mind, he was one of the most under-appreciated skiers of all time. That guy was so far ahead of his time, that it wasn't even possible for people to appreciate him.
CG: A LOT, I owe him a lot, thanks for sharing with me the passion and the vision of park skiing!!! I also believe that he might be the most under-appreciated skiers of all time.
Huge thanks to Charles for taking the time for this epic Q&A.