It all started at the hill closest to my hometown in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada where the winters are really cold but my home resort has always claimed to have 100% natural snow and somehow, Le Valinouët has its own little microclimate and it usually always snows a lot. Although, on that particular day, after hitchhiking and catching a ride with one of the resort’s employees, my friend and my 11 year old self realized, while sitting on the chairlift that morning, that we were the only ones there and it was really really cold. It was actually -70.6 degrees Farenheit with the windchill factor.
That day, my friend and I were already so hooked on snowboarding that we could have cared less about the frigid temperature, as all we wanted to do was ride as much as we could whenever we were not in school.
That day, we managed to do two runs before they shut down the resort for the rest of the day due to extremely cold weather. We still got our fix and it was worth it.
As a kid, I had a lot of energy, I was busy playing and running around all the time. So, I needed to focus on something in order to work off all of my extra energy. Skateboarding came first, I loved it. It was hard… I was constantly learning to improve but also paying hard for my mistakes. I loved the community of friends that surrounded skateboarding right away and the anti-establishment attitude was also appealing to me at the time. Since winters are snowy and cold for half of the year where I grew up , snowboarding was a no-brainer.
As soon as it was possible to buy a snowboard in a shop near me and after seeing a few guys riding the local hill and having so much fun, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Once I started snowboarding with friends, it gave me the same positive emotions as skateboarding and it was just incredible. My focus grew into a true passion. My passion grew every time I would either go ride, think about it, watch it in the newest snowboard videos or even when I watched the older kids ride and do tricks. It was a feeling of true freedom and creativity.
Sometimes you even had to fight for it and outrun the ski patrols. Jumping was prohibited at first but we soon made the resort realize snowboarding wasn’t going to be a fad, and jumping was a big part part of it. There was no stopping snowboarding from being as accepted as skiing on most mountains and there was no turning back on snowboarding’s progressional trajectory. It was the start of it all.
I feel very grateful to have been part of the progression of snowboarding when I did. Sometimes, I feel like it was all a dream and I somehow was just manifesting all of my desires and goals. Perhaps it was and I had tapped in to the magic. I was living a true flow from my heart.
I am also grateful for my own snowboarding progression, from learning at my local hill to entering most of the biggest events in our sport but also I had the immense opportunity to contribute in writing a chapter in snowboarding’s history and help push the progression of our sport and lifestyle.
I had the opportunity to compete in halfpipe, slope style and big air events around the world amongst the best; with the support of sponsors for multiple years. Thank you. I loved competing a lot but for me it was all about the experience, the travels, the friends and the people I met, I was always riding as hard as I could but wasn’t someone who was very consistent at advancing to finals and finding myself on the podium. Though, I did win a few titles and podiums at Top global events such as 1st place in Slopestyle at the 2001 Burton European Open, 3rd place at Nissan X-trail Big Air held at the Tokyo Dome and 3rd place at the Jackson Hole Red Bull Natural Selection to only name a few.
Photo by @deanblottogray
But when I did do well, it’s because I was having an exceptionally good day, when I truly was connected with myself, my board and my magic state of flow.
The Type of day when everything seems to connect and work out for you. I, have called it a ‘in the moment day’.
This is what I loved about snowboarding and competitive snowboarding.
Because of the pressure, the competitive energy, it seems as if I’ve always pushed it harder when competing or warming up before the contest started. In my case, I often gave it all in practice. It felt great and satisfying to me but sometimes, I would end up being too tired and falling in finals or not even advancing to finals. But I always gave my 100 %, sometimes it worked and sometimes it played against me.
Photo by @deanblottogray
Competing on the World tour for many years gave me so much and I am forever grateful for my sponsors’ support for providing me with travel budget and helping me with trip logistics as well as providing me with opportunities to do photo shoots and eventually film shoots.
I quickly realized that my true love for snowboarding professionally was riding new terrain, new mountains, building my own jumps, building them big and unique, scaring myself, overcoming those fears, all while filming backcountry snowboarding.
First I was juggling both competition and filming opportunities until, after a personal falling out with the FIS and their regulations, I decided to truly focus on filming video parts, entering the biggest invitational events and to stop following the whole world tour. That was probably the best decision of my career. At the end of the day, I loved snowboarding because of the freedom and feelings it gave me, when competing became too serious, I wasn’t as interested as I once was. Filming backcountry was a dream I had entertained for a while and I was given the chance to go out and prove myself and ride along with the icons of our sports. Gratitude is an understatement here
Photo by @silvanoseiter
I never took it for granted, I always worked as hard as I could and always seized the moments and the opportunities. If there was still sunlight and somewhere to land, I would just keep going. If it was going to be good in California for filming, I would drive 20 hours from BC in one stretch to make it there on timing with the fresh snow and weather.
Photo by @tifotos
I loved it but I also wanted to do it well and I absolutely loved the feeling of jumping off a big jump or cliff, spinning, grabbing, tweaking, stomping and riding away as effortlessly as could be. I loved being afraid then overcoming that fear, literally jumping off the edge of the world, doing a hard trick and riding away like I never even left the ground. It’s a great satisfaction and not only that, but it also taught me so much about life and how to react and deal with life.
I feel as though life and free riding on your snowboard are very similar. Planning a clean line and looking ahead ( 2-3 trees ahead if referring to riding down a tree run) is very important for anything you do in life (steps to take to achieve a specific task) but it’s also important to stay flexible and react as things come your way. (Trees if we use this analogy, emotions or challenges if referring to life itself.)
Photo by @tifotos
There could be variable snow, trees, rocks, ice, people in the way, but if you keep a clear vision and stay flexible, then you can adapt to any situation as it arises.
Like riding down a tree run, if you look at the trees instead of the line you picked between them, you are very likely going to hit the tree, just like when you focus on your problems or the negativity in your life, you are very likely to attract more of it.
This falls into the Universal law of attraction: Positive attracts Positive, negative attracts negative. This is the same for your thoughts, words and actions. The more you practice, the better you will get at it and that goes for life too.
I love free riding so much. I call the type of free riding I do: Fall-Line freestyle riding. It’s definitely my favorite as well as free riding with my family, what has become the ultimate for me these days.
Traveling when snowboarding has also been a major blessing.
It has given me the opportunity to travel in many places in this wonderful world, from Japan to Russia, Chile to Ushuaia and everywhere else in between. Traveling to Snowboard gave me the opportunity to experience and sometimes live different cultures for some time and meet humans from all kinds of upbringings, nationalities and beliefs. I was lucky to be able to make friends across the globe and I’ve always felt as if snowboarding was a tribe, it has always felt very inclusive. I’ve always felt like if you were a snowboarder, it doesn’t matter what the color of your skins is, the language you speak or your sexual orientation you choose. If you are a snowboarder, you are part of the tribe. I always loved that about professional snowboarding too. It is such a small world. You can travel across the world and meet up with other snowboarders and totally relate.
Photo by @maxbaloo
And also, as a pro rider, you could influence and inspire other humans, young and old to try snowboarding and experience the freedom, the love from the community and all the creativity that comes with it.
I think that I’ve always been a humble type of guy and it’s always been hard to talk about myself being good or whatever but I have learned to come to terms with the fact that I have inspired and influenced many snowboarders to possibly live a better lifestyle and be happier.
It makes me happy to know that I may have enhanced someone’s life experience. I feel like I am doing a job of service in that regards, in a way and this is what I am here to do. This is one of the reason why I have done pro-snowboarding for so long and now, I keep on being as involved as I can with the new generation of snowboarders through our brand YES. Snowboards.
In 2008, against all odds, 2 other pro snowboarder friends of mine and I started a snowboard brand called YES. Snowboards after being let go of our common long-term board sponsor. We partnered with the Nidecker Group and have had the privilege of designing a rad board line and therefore help contribute to the best possible experience for any snowboarder in any type of conditions.
Our goal at YES. is to truly make the best boards we can for our fans and customers as well as ourselves. We are a unique brand because we are owned and operated by 3 so-called legendary snowboarders (again, with all humility, that’s what I’ve heard…) My partners Romain de Marchi, Jp Solberg and I, have the same vision for our brand and we all agree that YES. is more then a brand- it’s a movement.
JP, DCP and RDM , Photo by @tifotos
We want to inspire people to go snowboarding and tell their families and friends to go along with them. We want to share a message of positivity and open possibilities.
Everything in life is available to you. It’s up to you to take the steps to make it to where you want to be. We also want to offer riders the best and most innovative snowboards on the market.
My day-to-day job with the brand includes such tasks as social media marketing, team management and I also work at asset gathering, video-photo shoot production, as well as design decisions we are all involved with.
For many years, I was also still very active as a pro snowboarder so I had to learn to balance both riding pro and working on my computer mind-sets pretty quickly. It has been a very fun adventure so far and I have learned a lot already. I am looking forward to keeping on learning about how to become more successful in my business. This is my new goal and aspiration. I want to be able to give my family everything they deserve and I want to be that grandfather, someday, who sends money to each of his grand kids on every single holiday and take them all to Disney land when they turn 8. I want to be able to go surfing in Indonesia or snowboarding in Alaska if I want to. I want to be able to influence and help millions of people.
While I was still a totally active pro snowboarder, we started YES. We started our own brand but that meant, once I was home from riding or filming, I was checking emails, making phone calls, making money moves… I was also taking on the phone and responding to voice messages and email on my way to the backcountry working towards balancing it all.
When the snow stopped flying and started melting I would switch gears to a more full-time office job with YES. Jobs like co-producing team films, editing, gathering riders assets, planning for the sell-through season and following season.
At the same time, my wife and I managed to raise 2 incredible kids who will soon be turning 15 and 10 in the coming months. So, you guessed it, not a lot of sleep! Though sleep is important and probably the most underrated aspect of staying healthy and in optimum shape.
Photo by @jeffcurtes
Also, physically, snowboarding at a pro level can be exhausting and it can be painful. Besides from the global travels, packed car rides, heavy luggage lifting, board bags dragging, jet lags, shitty-food eating on the road, lack of sleep and having to adjust to a new country. All of this, certainly adds up on your body’s ultimate well-being.
A Freestyle backcountry filming snowboarder usually wakes up before 5 am, packs his lunch and gear, drives between 30 minutes to 1 and a half hours to the snowmobile access spot that was picked for the daily shenanigans , while on coffee (and CBD now…), then snowmobiles in to the selected zone and most likely, proceeds to trail breaking because it snowed 2 feet of fresh the night before. (That’s also why we are going out early, chasing fresh snow in the first place) because we want to be the first ones there to pick your riding terrain and also benefit from the beautiful morning light for filming.
Photo by @tifotos
Once we get to the zone, we are still looking for a spot to ride or build a jump. I usually take at least one mandatory pow run to test out the waters. Then we start hiking to the top of our line, or we start building a jump with our shovel for 1 to 2 hours or more (depending on the size of the jump we picked to build), next, we strap in, drop in and send it off the jump, often looking like the edge of the world.
Most of the time we land, but since we usually don’t know how fast we need to go yet…sometimes we can come short on the gap or overshoot the landing. Either way, it can be very painful or we could be hitting a rock that was buried under the surface.
Photo by @tifotos
Some days are better than others. Sometimes you land everything but sometimes you tumble down the landing on every attempt and that is painful.
We usually keep doing this until sunset. Most days, I personally, forget to eat lunch as I am frothing too much to ride or find something else to ride. I love it.
Then we snowmobile our way back, we drive home, gas up our snowmobile, dry up our gear and get ready to do it all over again the very next day. If conditions are good and there is a stretch of sun with good snow, it’s go time. We get out every day, from sunrise to sunset.
We work as a team to create those movies and so, when it’s go-time, everyone is sending it. We usually go at it the whole high-pressure cycle. Sometimes it can last 5 to 6 days in a row. That’s when your body goes into over-drive and resting, eating well and also using supplements such as CBD becomes essential.
Everything above is if you don’t get injured. If you do… then you have to deal with frustration, impatience, anger, muscle or joint swelling, potential surgery, more pain, recovery time, time off the snow which can be the most painful. Then, some doctors prescribe you drugs, lots of opioids and then, just like that, people get hooked and that can be the hardest part for some people. Not everyone is the same, we all react differently.
And this is exactly why a crew of riders and I started our own CBD brand called CBDAYZ. We want to keep going every day, all day and we want the same for our community and beyond. We want to inspire as many people as possible to live a healthy active lifestyle and that, I believe, should be on everyone’s agenda.
Our goal is to learn, experience, share and inspire the use of this medicinal plant (cannabis/hemp) compound called CBD as well as sharing other ways of healing and staying fit through this new blog I am starting to write called: CREATE BETTER DAYZ.
Our goal is to provide some amazing products for young adults and older adults who love to partake in sports like surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking, moto-crossing and rock climbing. With products like the OG muscle cream, 2000mg Energy blend tincture, and more. Our goal is to be able to offer an alternative healthy way of dealing with pain, inflammation, anxiety, restless sleep and other conditions related to action sports or to help people with their everyday day-in-day-out physical hard work like construction, the type of hard work which allows them to have a winter free of work and filled with snowboarding.
Photo by Dini aka @__beandog__
Our main goal is to make sure people stay off any opioids such as Percocet, Oxy, or even strong Advils and incorporate CBD products in their daily regimen. Although rest, eating healthy, drinking good water, exercising, loving and receiving love is most important to your well-being. CBD can help your body do its magic even better.
Humans each have an endocannabinoid system and receptors which help to release neurological messages between all our human body organ systems. It helps balance and calibrate those systems; nervous , digestive, muscular, immune, etc … That’s what I understand about it and experts are still doing research to find out about all of the positive effects of CBD.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound of Cannabis or Hemp plant. It doesn’t make you high.
Adding CBD supplements to your regimen only makes sense to me. My business partners feel the same and so, we want to get people in the know so that they can get after it as they please and for a longer period of time without dealing with the side effects related to pharmaceutical addictions.
As far as I am concerned, I am very fortunate to have snowboarded for a living for many years. It sure came with sacrifices, disappointments, injuries and mistakes but the positive experiences I gained truly overshadow the negative ones big time. It mostly came with bliss, learning lessons, satisfaction, successes and lessons about myself and my body and soul connection. Lessons about how and when your body and mind perform best. Lessons about how to balance it all: Pro-Athlete life, business-entrepreneurial life, social and family life.
I feel like, after having lived all of these experiences so far in my life, I can say that there are a few things that have worked for me and definitely extended my career as well as facilitated my longevity in snowboarding and other board sports.
Photo by @tifotos
I know for sure that sleep and taking time to rest when you feel like your body needs it is very important. It’s also equally important to listen to your body and give it the respect it needs. I know for sure that eating healthy food is very important. Staying fit, flexible and strong is important. Any type of addictions and over-consumption of substances is not good for you and your ability to perform. I think that stretching, doing yoga and meditating or simply deep belly-breathing is a very good thing to do for yourself as well and to be the best you can be. The love and support of my family and friends have contributed to it too.
Photo by @tifotos
I also can’t forget I was very fortunate to meet an amazing woman who already had some great experiences in everything related to living a healthy lifestyle. I owe it to her, truly. Thank you Megan, you have been one of my biggest influences and inspiration throughout my whole snowboarding career and you have, for sure contributed to my success and longevity in the sport. You have also made me a husband and a father of 2 and this is, in itself, a true gift and reason to keep living life to the fullest and with the most love, intention and passion. Life can be short and there is no reason why you should be wasting any time on things that don't bring you joy.
Photo by Dini Aka @__beandog__
At the end of the day, my snowboarding, my surfing, my travels, my learnings, my goals, my friends aren’t really who I am. They are only part of my identity.
Though, I am a devoted father and husband, the truth is: I am energy like you and all of nature. I am trillions of particles, sensing… All is connected and there is no difference between yours, mine, ours … it’s all the same.
So love yourself, treat yourself right, treat everyone and everything else the same.
I am my choices, my intentions.
Photo by @tk_mccarty
I will be publishing blogs every 2 weeks and releasing Pod-cast style Vlogs on CBDayz.com under the name “CREATE BETTER DAYZ blog and vlog"