2020 VANS HI-STANDARD | AVILA
It was cold. Like, -17 cold. But that didn’t stop people from showing up and sharing style on the esthetic setup. There...
We first heard of Chris through snowboarding on the East Coast and through mutual friends. At the time, he was making videos with the Trash League homies. When their crew went on to doing other things, he was still motivated to film. We met him when he came to Quebec for Shakedown, and we were stoked on his style and riding, so we invited him to be part of the crew. He’s the only person in the crew who doesn’t speak French, so we like to teach him swear words and how to hit on girls. Last year, he put out his first part with the crew and has been hanging with the boys ever since. —Dillon Ojo
I definitely couldn’t pick a favourite person to ride with on the crew. The energy at each session changes, depending on who I’m riding with, and everyone brings something different to the table. That’s what makes a crew so unique; everyone has their own style and approach to riding a spot, and they all influence me in different ways.
The most difficult thing about being the token anglophone is never fully knowing what’s going on. I might catch a few words here and there, but the only way I ever know what’s happening is if I can read the body language during group discussions. But it’s chill, I just go with the flow. I’m usually down for whatever. Either that, or talking to French girls at the bar. But Dillon’s girlfriend taught me what to say to girls at the bar, so I’m getting better with that [laughs].
It’s definitely nice to have someone fully bilingual like Russel around to explain shit to me, but honestly, all the boys are great at English. They tell me they’re stoked to get a chance to practice when I’m around. It seems like everyone in Quebec is self-conscious of their English, but it’s always a hundred times better than my French, which is sadly still very minimal. But I can order food really well.
There are tons of sacrifices that come with filming snowboarding. It really does consume your life, and you find yourself with minimal time for other shit. In order to film with The Bruners for the past couple years, I’ve probably done the drive from Ontario to Quebec and back like 20 times or something. The reality of street snowboarding is that most of your time is spent shovelling and driving, so I’ve sacrificed time that could’ve been spent riding in order to get clips. Real life gets put on the back-burner as well, so in some ways, since I started filming, I’ve sacrificed the opportunities for careers and relationships to do what I love. But it’s all worth it to me.
I don’t necessarily think too much of a space in snowboard culture is taken up by partying. You don’t have to party if you want to be a snowboarder, and no matter how good you are at partying, you can’t really get away with being a shitty boarder. Snowboarding and partying tend to just go hand in hand. Snowboarding isn’t really a sport, at least not the way we do it. Street snowboarding is rebellious by nature, and you essentially have the freedom to do what you want. You can snowboard on whatever you want, and drink and smoke while you do it. I just think it’s important to find the valuable line between partying and boarding, because it’s pretty easy to lose motivation to film when you’re constantly fucked up.
It’s insane just how happy landing a trick can make you. Especially when you’ve put hours of work into not only building the spot, but hucking yourself down it for hours with no success. When you finally land, you’re on top of the world. If everyone has a good day, the vibes are indescribable. It’s usually after days like this when the best parties happen. It’s equally insane how upsetting it can be when you try for hours and it doesn’t work out. I’ve left sessions fully convinced that I was going to quit; an absolute emotional wreck on the verge of tears, and so much anger towards my life choices [laughs]. I also hate wasting the filmer’s time, and I profusely apologize to Ju when it doesn’t work out. Luckily, he’s chill as fuck and is only ever concerned with cheering me up.
Thank you to Julien and all the boys for making these videos happen for the last two seasons. Thank you Rob Madill, Mark Dangler, Riley Goodwin (Capita, Union, Dragon), Nic Heringa (Salmon Arms), Mike Weatherall (Volcom), Alex Forbes, Stu Cameron, Jay Shoemaker (Vans), Eric Lamothe, Joseph Roby, Mike Scremins, Dillon Ojo, Will Jourdain, Dallas Ianni, Zach Moorcroft, Kody Williams, all the homies I board with, and all my friends and family.