Interview by Andrew Koblitz

I think the first time I ever saw you was in ‘Long Story Short.’ You were doing stuff on urban rails that most kids weren’t even doing in the park. Lately I’ve seen you continue to slay rails, pull off screamin-seaman’s on everything (onto rails, off of rails, and other mid-air antics), being a moderator on Newschoolers, and a ridiculous pond skim where you butter half way through going switch and still make it across! What’s changed for you in the last few years and what are you looking forward to this year?

Well when I was filming with Level 1 for LSS, I felt like so much stuff had to be done with urban. At that point of time, my biggest concern with my skiing was doing techy stuff that people had never done in the street or simply bringing my own flavor of tricks into the park. That year was a lot of fun with all the traveling and competing but it also had its downside, I was totally broke and ended up breaking my back on my last day on snow. Owing a lot of money to my family and friends and not being able to do any kind of sport or work for a summer got me to thinking about what I wanted to do with skiing. I knew I wanted to keep on skiing but I also knew that jumping to the bottom of the trannies wouldn’t do me any good. After a whole lot of time spent training and thinking, I got back on my skis and got to film a little and compete in smaller events. After a year of not really having the resources for skiing I was having a hard time figuring out what I was going to do for 07/08 season. The season started really slow over here and I got to mess around a lot with rails, mini jumps, and various features we would find everywhere. Then it clicked in I could care less about having the most progressive segment or doing stuff nobody else was doing, I just wanted to have fun skiing. After switching ski sponsors to Moment, I finally found a perfect match for my riding. A crew of open minded guys that wanted me to show them how much fun I was having when I skied, which most of the time ends up making for some really good shots. I tend to be really critical with set-ups because of that and a lot of fellow riders will say that I bitch a lot about features but that’s mostly because when I feel that something is unsafe I have a hard time seeing myself having fun on it. In those cases I might end up sitting, watching, or doing something that I’m sure I won’t have any chances of getting hurt on.

photo: Jason Mousseau

Are you more into competitions, filming, or a little of both?

Well I always like a good comp every now and then but the thing I enjoy the most is shredding the park with friends and figuring out stuff that I would like to have on film. It’s the same with urban and everything, it’s always looking at what you’ve got and finding a way to have some fun with it. Sometimes it might be that 45-foot jump they set up for a comp and some other days it’s that 10 foot rail you just set at the ice rink.

photo: Jason Mousseau

What’s your skiing setup this year?

I'm currently working with the guys at Moment skis to make a ski perfect for me but I ride the Reno Jib’s and the Bibby’s as far as skis go. I’m using Salomon STH 916 for bindings, Full Tilt boots, and Joystick poles and gloves.

photo: cko

A ski perfect for you? Are we talking about a pro-model or just a specific ski customized for you?

Well since I got on Moment, we’ve been talking about making a customized ski for me and at some point last year in my Oregon-Nevada-Cali expedition I sat down with Luke and Casey and discussed the possibility of making something that would be more like a different ski that would end up being a full on pro-model. We had some good ideas to make a ski that would fit my skiing so Casey and I drew the shape on the computer. I got to test some early prototypes this summer in Whistler, while more have been produced with some little tweaks for the Tahoe guys who started skiing already. I can’t really give away too much info about them since they are still being tested but they are going to be rockered and the graphics will be bloody in a pirate way. I can’t wait to see how the newest prototypes turn out, then I might be able to tell you more.

photo: cko

That’s rad that Moment is stepping up and helping you out so much. What’s it been like switching from Atomic to Moment?

My first year with Atomic was pretty epic, we did a lot of trips as a team and I got to live and shred with my teammates with whom I would end up becoming good friends with. The second year was still a whole lot of fun but the team spirit that Rex had gotten us into got cut down a bit by the lack of funding for us to travel, spend time together, and doing whatever Rex needed us to do. Then when Rex wasn’t there anymore the whole team idea pretty much died for a bit with a lot of the guys in Canada leaving or getting cut from the team. When my contract ended I started looking for something more joyful and easier to work with. Atomic still made me a sweet offer but I was kind of over the fact that to get something going on I would have to talk to the team manager about it, who would then talk to some higher-ups, who would then talk to some other people in Europe. Big corporate companies have to go through lots of stages before making a decision, while Moment was pretty much the opposite. They are a smaller group of people that make the decision by themselves. At first I was a bit scared but after spending some time with the skis and getting to know the people some more, I can say that joining their team was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

photo: Jason Badgley

There are lots of styles out there right now: gangsta steeze, tall tees, colors that make you go blind, jeans, and everything else in between. I’ve seen a few videos of you rocking the jeans, what do you think style is?

Style is what and who you are. It’s the way you look and the way you do things. Some people have smooth style and others have an aggressive style. People seem to relate a lot to people with a style similar to theirs or try to emulate the style of others. Sure guys like Tom Wallisch, Henrik Harlaut and Phil Casabon have a smooth and dope style. But it doesn’t mean that everyone should ski that way. I find it funny when you see kids trying to ski like someone else. Sure you are influenced by the skiing or your idols but trying to mimic them just make you look like a fool since it won’t be as natural to you since it’s not your style. In the end, style is just a way to express yourself and I believe it will evolve over time. By spending time with other people you should be able to recognize people by the way they walk, ski, talk, or whatever. All those things that make it possible to recognize them, is part of their style.

photo: Jason Badgley

Trends seem to be very big in skiing right now for better or worse. Along with trends I’ve started to see quite a bit of hate in skiing. If you aren’t doing or wearing what everyone else is it seems like your hated on very quickly, everything ranging from coming up with a new grab to afterbang, clothing, skis, and other petty crap. If it's something new and isn't considered hip right away it's hated on super hard. What do you focus on as a skier to stay positive?

Well to be honest I really don’t like afterbang and I make fun of it a lot. I've got my own opinion on that and I've been hated on for stating it. I think people (and myself) sometimes forget that opinions are personal and it wouldn’t be such a good thing if everyone had the same opinion on something. The way I see things right now, most people (not just skiers) see only three different shades of color: white, grey and black. They love something, don’t care about it, or hate it with nothing in-between. When someone loves something that they hate, they don’t even listen to the arguments and argue about them, they simply argue on the opinion and get all personal about it. Liking afterbang shouldn’t mean you should hate on people who don’t like it as much as you do. There is nothing as great as a good debate between two intelligent people who have different opinions on a subject but who are able to explain their opinion and actually argue about the reasons for the opinion instead of just saying the other one is a dumbass for not thinking the same way you do.

photo: Jason Mousseau

Individual opinions or lack there of can really say a lot about someone. What inspires you or makes you an individual?

I get a lot of inspiration from the people who are doing different stuff while not going in the total opposite direction of where the rest is going. For example, watching Hot Lunch from the Joystick crew really inspired me because it was a different approach to our sport without being too unconventional. I also like watching kids like Andy Parry doing stuff nobody ever thought possible on rails but it doesn’t inspire me that much. I'd rather take a simple thing and try to find a way to make it look different and somewhat unique. The way I see things is that everybody is unique. I don’t think there should be something that makes you unique since you are a different human being then the person next to you with different life experiences and all that jazz. I think the most important thing is not to be unique but to be ourselves and not try to be somebody else.

photo: Jason Badgley

Most of us in the skiing industry (or people in general) will never make a million dollar transaction in a day. On the same note a businessman (or people in general) will never try going off an 80-foot jump doing some absurdly ridiculous spin or flip. What's the gnarliest thing you've done?

I once jumped over a road! On a more serous note, when I was around 15, I was skiing down a double diamond in Tremblant (claim!!!) with a friend of mine and started going really fast. Knowing that my buddy wasn’t used to steep stuff I looked back while maching down the hill. When I turned around I saw a mogul field about 20 feet in front of me. Before I could realize it I hit the first bump and went flying a good 10 feet in the air with no control at all. The only thing I thought about was my brand new Rossignol 7S wouldn’t survive that landing so I decided to take them off. In the end I wasn’t able to save both skis while in the air and ended up breaking one ski and looked like Bubba from Forest Gump.

photo: Jason Mousseau

Wait…so you straight up SSX style took your ski off mid air?

Pretty much...I thought it was the safest way to prevent breaking my skis and myself. In the end it didn’t work that well but I guess some of the guys from SSX saw that and when they started thinking about putting skiing in a video game they remembered that stupid French teenager who ate shit big time in Tremblant. I was such a pioneer at that time...cough cough (laughs).

hamming it up with Jeff Amantea at COC. photo: Jason Mousseau

With the way skiing has been progressing I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone post up a video up on Newschoolers of themselves doing the ‘SSX mid air ski removal.’ From double flips, double corks, insane pretzels, and everything else. What do you consider progressive?

I’m a big fan of the whole ‘thank the snowboarding crew deal.’ They just see things differently and shred whatever they can find. I like to see this more than anything else that involve physics and skills like flips, corks, pretzels, and all those crazy tricks. I think being progressive right now is doing anything that mixes both skill and creativity. There will always be someone pushing tricks and someone that will be willing to go bigger than the one before him. That kind of progression will also increase the amount of injuries and I think there are many other things we can do with Planks (hihihhihihihihi shameless plug). Just look at Garrett Russell, Lolo Favre, Andy Parry, Paco Garcia and Will Wesson, they are all super tech but they are doing stuff that nobody else is doing.

photo: Jason Badgley

Best of luck to you this season, any shout-outs?

Everyone one who helped me out in the past, from family to sponsors.

photo: Jason Mousseau