August 20th, 2014
Armada proudly presents “Oil and Water”, a project following the ...more
NAME: JP Auclair
D.O.B: 22/08/77 Québec City
SUMMER HOME: Québec City
WINTER HOME: Zurich, Switzerland
YEARS WITH ARMADA: Since 11.01.02
In 2007, I almost walked away from skiing. I kind of got really cynical about this job. When you first started, it’s the greatest thing in the world. You go through a phase when you’re younger that all you really care about is doing skiing the best you can. It’s really a dream to do that. You’re so focused and pumped to be skiing, you keep doing the best you can. Whether it’s doing comps or building movie parts, it’s all that matters in life. It was pretty fulfilling, until, at one point, something makes you put it back into perspective. If you’ve been locked in for a long time and locked in intensively, that can happen.
For 8 years of my life, my biggest priority was to produce a good 3-minute segment. I was disregarding all other aspects of my life. I wasn’t a horrible friend or son, but I was extremely selfish with everything. I was in a highly competitive field – if you’re not good enough, you’ll get canned and be pushed out of the industry. You have to work really hard so I was really immersing myself into skiing and putting all the effort I had into that goal. I kept disregarding regular life things. It’s like F&$%, dude my life is not balanced and it’s wrong. What am I doing, what am I doing this for?
That was the year Marc Andre got paralyzed. I went to see him in the hospital on my way to AK, which is a f$*%ed up experience. He got hurt big mountain skiing, and I went to see him in the hospital before a big mountain ski trip. It was on my layover to Haines in Vancouver. He was out, so we didn’t talk. I looked at him, spent time with him, then went to the airport to participate in the activity he got hurt doing. It seems almost disrespectful or inconsiderate to go do that thing your buddy got hurt doing. So I felt uneasy about it, but I blocked it. I kept telling myself that’s what we do in life, so you just gotta keep going, we gotta keep going.
Then [Anthony Boronowski] got buried in Haines. Not full burial, but I saw him get worked in a super huge slide and get buried to his neck. His mouth was exposed, but that was it. He got pulled over massive cliffs without injury. It was later in the day, kind of sketchy. I couldn’t see him after the slide, so I was running up to go dig my buddy out of the snow as far as I was concerned. It was the worst situation. After that year, I basically went to thinking I had the best thing going, to thinking pretty ugly.
I went from thinking my job ruled to thinking that unless I’m trying to find a cure for cancer, then everything sucks. I put skiing against things like huge humanitarian issues. It seemed like the worst job.
When you’re ready to walk away from something, good things happen. You have nothing to loose, so it’s an awesome position to be in. So long as your attitude comes from the right place, which is doing things you are passionate about, I think good things happen. When I was ready to walk away, legitimately ready to quit, I defined what mattered to me and chose to do things that I really liked.
That’s when I started signing up for guide classes and avalanche classes. I was taking time in the winter for myself. Before that year, you never take time off filming. It’s winter. There’s only so many months to do what you need. You’re constantly going. It would have been ridiculous for me to take two weeks off in February. It seemed like segment suicide. That winter, I decided to do what really seemed important and in the end, I had great support.
The thing I like the most is learning. Once I started learning more about avalanches and learning more about traveling through the backcountry, it really kept me happy. I’m still doing it. Living in Europe, being in Chamonix and spending more time on the mountain and learning about alpinism and mountaineering. There are thousands of people better than me at mountaineering, so there’s not really value as an athlete. But the fact that I can go do that and go suck at something for a few months is great freedom to have from Armada. I love that stuff. If I was forced into doing only what I’m best at and focusing on that, I would have quit. The fact that I’m allowed to go shift and change and go suck at things and learn things during winter months is awesome. That’s what keeps me going for sure. Just go learn new things. That’s why sometimes you feel like you don’t have that freedom, you feel like you have to really perform.
Some people like linear progression. They like learning a 180. Then a 360, then 540, then keep spinning more until you reach the future or their absolute limit. That’s the easiest analogy. For me it was like, I can do a 360, so now I want to learn rails, I can do rails, now move to backcountry booters, now I want to ski a big line. It’s more a lateral progression. I like to try many things and not focus on one aspect all the time. I like mixing things up.
It’s a different kind of scared in Chamonix. It’s more focused and some kind of intensity, but it’s definitely not scared.
Heliskiing is too fast for me. I have a gut fear when I’m up there. You have to be super aggressive, super committed, and the whole process is super invasive. You’re in the hotel room, then 45 minutes later you’re charging down a face that you just saw once. You assess the avalanche conditions in like 3 minutes. It’s cool, it’s really cool, but it’s not in line with my personality.
When I helped Phil and Bellemare get on Armada, their skills caught my attention, but their personalities were the most important. Phil was a lot more introverted back then, but he really came into himself through his ski career. For Alex, I haven’t been around him much lately but he was good attitude, big smile, happy-go-lucky kind of guy. When I first met them, they loved skiing, they were doing it for the right reasons, so it seemed natural to put them on the team.
The actual best skier in the world is Kye Peterson, but Hoji still holds the title.
My favorites park skiers are Henrik, Phil, and Max Hill.
I have spongicus specifics. It’s a birth defect between the L1 and L5 discs. Most people will go their whole lives without knowing they have it, but if your body takes some abuse, it can come out. I’ve skied with pain for a while, but I was ignoring the fact that I was hurt.
No matter what you do, it can be a lifelong pursuit. With skiing, it’s so big and there are so many things to do. This year, a huge goal I had was to do the north face of the Aiguille du Midi by myself without local people or badass friends from over there. It’s not a huge goal, many people have done it, so it’s not a huge achievement. On a personal level, it was a goal of mine, and it was great. Knowing that you reached a certain level to handle a certain situation was a cool goal. In that direction, I feel like I can keep learning so much more. I discovered mountaineering at 34 and have goals that I’m as driven as some other goals when I was 16. I feel the exact same way as then, it’s amazing for me.
I was so bad at school back then. I have to learn my own way. It was really, really hard. The whole system and concept didn’t work out for me. It only works for 90% or whatever of people, but the system didn’t jive with me at all.
My grades were so weak there was no way I could get accepted into a university program. It was so weak I couldn’t even get accepted for the hands-on program. But I wrote letters throughout the summer and would call them constantly. They only take 30 people a year for the program, but I bugged them so much that they let me in as the 31st person. For the first few days of class I didn’t have a desk and would just stand in the back of class waiting for someone to drop out. Seb, the guy who does the JJ graphic was a guy I met in school.
I want to figure out how to get rid of emails. It’s become the wrong way. It’s really hard to make it work efficiently. You’re really swimming upstream and it’s a heavy current. Everything is an emergency always because people are used to fast-food communication. Someone needs an interview or photos or something that day, but I already had a day planned or doing something completely different. It’s tough deciding what is actually the most urgent thing.
I have unanswered emails from 2009 for sure. It’s funny because Shay Williams (former photo editor at Freeskier Magazine, current Ski Marketing Manager at Monster) is staying with us. I didn’t tell him but I wanted to say, hey man, I’m still working on that interview! I’ll email it to Freeskier eventually. I keep a neat desktop without tons of files, but that interview word doc has been sitting on my desktop for years.
Alpine Initiatives is a hobby. I consider it a hobby. It’s a huge challenge because it’s a lot of stuff that I don’t know how to do, but I’m pushing myself to be better at.
I feel I have a lot of similarities with Armada. It makes sense, because Armada came around the same time as my career, so we have parallel paths. It’s not a corporation, it’s just a group of designers, and marketers, and people that are passionate about the sport. The designers at the brand are always looking for challenges and want to create things that are badass. They want to create cool stuff, see athletes succeed at their goals, and be challenged. That’s why I’m stoked to be involved at Armada. It’s about goals, and peoples’ goals. It’s a pretty cool relationship when you think about it.
I think some other brands give athletes that freedom. Definitely not all, but I think some. The person with the vision and drive will get support to fulfill their dreams and the brand is really excited to be involved and make it happen.
Back then, Armada was our creative outlet. I didn’t really think further than that. We had energy to put into design and no places to put that energy. That was the basic need for Armada. Looking at it now, it’s still very much what it was. Coming up with products for mountaineering is really awesome. It shows we’re being true to ourselves and true to what we’re supposed to be. Building products from the needs and wants from the team, It’s not sales or marketing – it’s just a design thing. After 12 years, I’m still allowed to have the same creative outlet that I had back then and that’s true for everyone. If an athlete has an idea or need a certain product – then we build it. We test it, and it’s out. Sure, the public can buy it, but it’s more for us. That’s what happened with the JJ. We had this crazy design and made super low numbers that was definitely a ski only for athletes. It was a crazy athlete idea that maybe the public wasn’t going to be into. It’s pretty cool we can still do that.
• Co-Director & Editor for ‘Into the Mind’ Sherpa’s Cinema
• Designer for top secret skis & outerwear with Armada
• Co-Director & Editor for ‘Into the Mind’ Sherpa’s Cinema
• Signed with Armada Outerwear
• Street Segment from “All I Can” Receives million of online views
• Co-director and Editor for “All I Can” with Sherpas Cinema
• Starts immersing himself in Alpinism & Mountaineering through experienced guides and skiers in Chamonix, FR.
• Avalanche Operations Level One certification through the Canadian Avalanche • Association, Ptarmigan, BC
• 2nd Place Red Bull Line Catcher, La Plagne, France
• 1st Place People’s choice, Red Bull Cold Rush, Retallack, BC
• 2nd Place Red Bull Cold Rush, Retallack, BC
• 3rd Place Red Bull Cold Rush, Red Mt., BC
• Co-founder of Alpine Initiatives
• Best Editing and Best Film: IF3′s Newschoolers awards
• Movie of the Year: Powder Magazine Video Awards
• Best Core Film: X Dance action sports film festival
• Associate Producer, Editor and Art Director for Poorboyz productions’ Reasons
• Nominated for Best Male Performance at the Powder Magazine Video Awards
• Winner for Best P.O.V. at the Powder Magazine Video Awards
• Co-Founder of ARMADA
•Nominated for skier of the year at the ESPN Action Sports and Music Awards, Los Angeles,
• Nominated for Skier of the year in at the NEA awards, Munich-Germany
• Voted best segment for video The Game
• 2nd Place, US Open, Slopestyle Vail, Colorado
• 2nd Place, Johnny Moseley Invitational, Skier-X/Big Air Combined, Breckenridge, Colorado
• Helped Salomon launch the 1080 ski
• 1st Place, King of the Hill, Half Pipe/Quarter Pipe/Skier-X Combined, Ricksgrensen
• 2nd Place, US Open, Slopestyle Vail, Colorado
• 1st Place, US Open, Big Air, Vail, Colorado
• Started to film with Poor Boyz Productions movies since 1997
Sherpa’s Cinema ‘Into the Mind’
Filming begins for Sherpas Cinema ‘Into the Mind’
‘All I Can’ – Sherpa Productions
‘The Grand Bizarre’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘The Ordinary Skier’ – 1242 Productions
‘Revolver’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Everyday is a Saturday’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Reasons’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Yeah Dude’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Ski Porn’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘War’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘x = 10′ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Session 1242′ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Happy Dayz’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Storm’ – Warren Miller
‘Cold Fusion: Power of Snow – Warren Miller
‘Propaganda’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘The Game’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Ski Movie’ – Matchstick Productions
‘There’s Something About McConkey” – Matchstick Productions
‘Further’ – Teton Gravity Research
’13′ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Area 51′ – Teton Gravity Research
‘Fifty’ – Warren Miller
‘Global Storming’ – Matchstick Productions
‘Degenerates’ – Poor Boyz Productions
‘Freeriders’ – Wanner Miller
‘Sick Sense’ – Matchstick Productions
December 31st, 2013
The path of a professional skier typically follows a rigid ...more
November 14th, 2013
Perhaps JP fell asleep on that “Uphill” Bus, and had ...more