RIPPING | GABRIEL JACQUES
Interview by Max Trudel Photos by Renrob Gabriel Jacques Age | 25 Place | L’Ange-Gardien, QC Sponsors | Bataleon snowboards, Dragon, Vans,...
After the first session I ever went out to film with Maria, I knew she was going to have the last part in The Uninvited. She set the bar really high. Maria will hike a spot or battle a trick for however long it takes, she doesn’t stop until it’s perfect. That kind of determination and drive is what sets her apart from those who are willing to settle. Watching her blow up after The Uninvited dropped was really satisfying. Hearing the crowd screaming for her ender on the premiere tour and seeing the audience’s reaction made doing that project feel truly worth it. She absolutely deserves that spot on the Burton team, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next. –Jess Kimura
By Rob Lemay | @_lemay
You just got back to Pemberton from visiting family in Denmark. How was traveling with the pandemic?
Well, traveling actually wasn’t super bad. There are obviously not as many people in the airport and there are people wearing full bodysuits and goggles and whatnot. But other than that, it wasn’t too bad at the airport. Denmark was quite interesting because I went there to see my family and it had just been locked down. The playgrounds were closed, so Tao couldn’t do much. Obviously I couldn’t see my grandparents. I was just hanging out with my mom and my brother and didn’t get to see any of my friends or the rest of my family. So it wasn’t super good. I want to go back again soon when it’s all over and visit everyone.
Do you try to go visit once a year or so?
Yeah, my grandparents are all still alive and I want to spend as much time with them as I can.
Totally. They’re all still alive? How old are you? Sorry, if you don’t mind me asking.
And all four grandparents are still alive?
Wow, that’s awesome. What’s your plan for keeping busy and keeping safe during the pandemic?
Staying at home, number one, and then just garden, bike, and bake. Honestly, I don’t really have a hard time being at home; it’s kind of a nice break to catch up on everything that I haven’t done all winter.
How is your son Tao doing during all of this?
He’s good. He’s definitely pretty bored I think. And I don’t think playing with your mom every day for three weeks is the ideal for a five-year-old. But at the same time we’re staying busy. He’s helping me in the yard. He’s helped me with chores and I play animals with him. “I play animals with you sometimes, Tao?”
Tao: No you didn’t.
I don’t? Okay well, we play lots of cards because he’s old enough now to play Go-fish, the matching game, and Tic-Tac-Toe.
So tell me about your winter was and how different it must have been now that you’re riding for Burton?
Yeah, winter was good. Started off kind of like it always does, back home riding the resort for December. My first trip with some of the Burton crew was to Newfoundland in January, which was pretty wild. I guess the flights to Newfoundland are kind of on and off and get cancelled often, and our first flight got cancelled. The next morning we flew to St. John’s, and we were on the plane with so many other boarders like Tommy Gesme, Derrek Lever, Spencer Shubert, and Mark Wilson. Everyone was cluttered in St. John’s, Newfoundland because I guess there wasn’t snow in many other places.
It was a record snowfall year for Newfoundland, right?
So much snow. And then after a while, I think we’d been there for a week. Then there was something called a bomb cyclone, which was a huge snowstorm. And we were literally snowed in. There was snow completely covering the doors to houses and we had to boot pack through town. You couldn’t drive anywhere. The cars were totally buried. We were digging out neighbours and we tried to snowboard through town but there was actually too much snow. There was so much snow. It was insane. It was cool to be there but we weren’t actually that productive after it happened because it was just too much. It’s definitely an experience that I’ll never forget. We were stuck there for a few extra days because the airports shut down, along with all the stores except for gas stations that had huge lines.
That’s still a pretty cool once in a lifetime experience.
Totally. And I thought that it would be the only state of emergency for a long time. But then, here we are again. I just can’t believe it. But yeah, the trip was good. I was a bit nervous. I was there with Ethan Deiss, Niels Schack, Max Zebe, Alex Andrews, Malachi Gerard, Blotto, and Joe Carlino, all who I hadn’t really met before. But honestly, it was such a good crew. I was so welcomed and I felt really at home.
I had so much fun riding with a crew again compared to last year when I filmed for Real Snow on my own. Obviously anytime you go on a film trip, I think there are positives and negatives. It can be really stressful, and everyone in the crew wants to get shots and all this stuff, but also it’s so much fun being with your homies. This year was just really rad.
So where else did you go after Newfoundland?
I came back home to Pemberton, then to 100 Mile with Dave Walcer, Kamloops to film for Robin’s movie, Colorado for the Snowboarder Mag awards and Dew Tour, Minnesota, Banff, and finished in Quebec and New Brunswick.
Wow, on the road. Do you mean Robin Van Gyn?
Yeah. She’s working on a two-year project, so I went for a few days and brought Tao because it’s more of a documentary style of filming. Tao ended up getting sick and it was tough to be productive, but that’s life with a 5-year-old and probably perfect for her video. After that, I went to Minnesota with the Burton crew again.
And that’s filming for the Burton Project?
Yeah, One World that’s coming out January 2021. I haven’t heard any changes to it. You never know with the Coronavirus. But Minnesota was dope. We stayed at Ethan’s place, and it was Ethan, soft-ass Niels, Luke Winkelmann, Blotto, Alex Adrian, and Carlino.
Yeah. We call him soft-ass because he doesn’t like to shovel, but he does cook for all of us. He’s funny. The spots he hits are so different and, he makes you laugh. He’s a comedian. The spots are kind of like one and done and you’re just like, “Dude, this is not going to work. You might die.” And Niels would say, “What are you talking about?” And then he just somehow gets it. So now I’ve stopped questioning him. But yeah, you have to go check out his stuff. It’s hilarious.
And that was all just filming in the streets of Minnesota?
I almost forgot that you also won the Dew Tour Pro Rail Jam this year! How was that? Have you done many competitions before?
Contests are not really my thing but Dew Tour was hosting a pro rail jam for women and I wanted to support that. Snowboarder had their award show at the same time and I was nominated for a few of them, so it made sense.
On the contest day, I was up against Jill Perkins, Emma Crosby, Alexis Roland, Nora Beck and many more. The level was high and I didn’t expect to win, but I don’t like losing either so I just tried my best. I ended up in first place and taking home a Dew Tour trophy. Who would have thought! All in all, it was a cool experience to be part of and try something new. I have so much respect for all the contest riders, it’s mind-blowing the level of their riding. Not that I didn’t know, but seeing it in real life always makes a better impression.
So after all of your traveling, you’re not feeling any symptoms of the Coronavirus?
No, feeling good.
How about any injuries? Did I see you just knocked your head not too long ago?
I’m feeling good except for, I did bump my head pretty good and got a pretty bad concussion a little more than two weeks ago now. For real, it was actually pretty scary and yeah, I had 11 staples in my head and I was all swollen and I had a black eye. My neck was fairly tense, but I don’t know, I healed up pretty good. I just have some pains in my neck now and a little bit down my back.
I was in New Brunswick. It was like the third spot and it was this triangle roof that I was going to wally off under it and gap to a rail. I just went too high and clipped my head and knocked myself out.
You hit your head off the roof?
Yep, hit my head full speed off the roof, just right in there.
Did you get knocked out?
I don’t remember much. Apparently I wasn’t totally knocked out. Sophie was there and said that I was awake but I just can’t remember. I don’t remember it happening. I just kind of woke up lying under the rail. And I was like, “Oh. What am I doing here?”
I never really had that happen to me, like the loss of memory. And then slowly things were just coming back to me. I was holding my head, and there was lots of blood. So I was like, “Oh, could be serious.” But at the same time, I wasn’t worried. You know when you kind of get high sometimes, the adrenaline is going, and I was like, “Oh this will be fine. I’m going to go and get these stitches and then I’m going to go back to this spot and snowboard.” I ended up getting 11 staples and when I got out of the hospital I was calling people like, “Hey, what do you think? I should probably just go back and do it right?” We went back to the spot and I was considering hitting it at that time. It was ridiculous because as I was FaceTiming one of my friends, there was blood coming down my face. And I was like, “Oh my God.” Wiping it off and I was starting to feel a lot more pain. I was getting super swollen. I was like, “No way, there’s no chance I can snowboard.”
I can’t believe they didn’t shave my head for the staples. I thought for sure there were going to give me one big one down the middle of my head. I think I would have laughed and been like, “This is hilarious.” And then I would have probably gone home to bed and cried about it.
You would’ve had to shave your whole head.
Yeah. Oh my God. I don’t think that would look good on me. I don’t think I could pull that off. So yeah, thank God I’m alive and nothing worse happened. It was definitely a bit of a scare.
You’ve been getting crazy in the streets.
Yeah. But I thought this spot was chill. I guess it just happens like that. You never know when it’ll happen to you. I was just mellow and didn’t think it was going to happen. But yeah, I’m definitely bummed and a little annoyed, you know? All those feelings you feel when you get hurt and you have to wrap up a trip then you’ve pretty much just got on.
Glad you’re feeling better.
Yeah. Thank you. Me too.
And glad you have all your hair.
Me too. I know. I can’t imagine doing this interview with me all bald.
You’d be wearing a hat for a while.
I would be getting a wig for sure.
So, this cut your season short, and now we’re in pandemic mode.
Yeah, I guess it happened at the same time. It was about two weeks ago.
Yeah. Right as things were shutting down everywhere.
It was kind of like that period where it was okay still, you know, where you could still do stuff. It was like March 14th or 15th. Everything was just starting to shut down. This whole pandemic is still hard to accept and accepting that there’s no more snowboarding. That’s a hard reality, but looking at the bigger picture, there are so many more issues more important than snowboarding.
But it’ll sure be sweet when we get back to it; maybe we’ll get some summer glacier boarding.
I don’t know. Even last year when we were on the glacier, I thought maybe that was going to be one of the last summers for Whistler’s summer boarding. But I guess maybe that’s a rumour that we hear every year. But that would be lovely if we could get up there. I’d love that. Or even maybe down to Hood too. We could drive there if the States will open the border.
OH FUCK! What the fuck was that? Something for sure just bit me. OW! Maybe it was one of those… What do they call those? Horseflies?
Yeah for sure. It’s was… OW! It’s in my shirt, I think. Oh it was a bee. Ow. It was there. Oh, it bit my back. It went up my shirt. I might have to take it off for a sec. It flew out. I saw it. God damn it. Hold on a second.
You sure you’re okay?
Do you want some ice or something?
I’m good. Oh, I got stung in two places.
We can wrap this up if you want. But it would be nice to end a different note.
Yeah, totally. Like I’m fine. It’s just a bee sting.
You are tough. She’s tough folks. Okay, it seems like we’re seeing more female boarders out there filming web edits and video parts. Why do you think that is?
Yeah, there’s more for sure and I think it’s also that companies are becoming more aware of their female support too. So maybe it’s just more visible to you now too. Either way I think it’s super rad and I love it.
That said, what are some female up and coming shredders that you’re really stoked on? I saw that you were out riding with The Rude Girls shred day in Banff.
That was awesome. There were so many girls there. I think we were 50 girls or something like that. It was park riding and lots of beginners that wanted to learn. They had a really awesome girl crew there that are really supportive of each other. And they were really funny too.
It’s really nice for women that there are all these events like Miss Super Park, and It’s Tits. There’s a community starting so you actually get to know everyone and it’s good because you help push each other. When there’s one girl getting better, the other girls will get better too. It’s a healthy competition and I think that’s really important.
But I want to make sure I point out these up and comers because there are definitely some girls to look out for. There’s Ylfa Rúnarsdóttir, she’s filming for The Uninvited this year and she’s so rad. She jumps and does every flip. She rides rails. She was in the first Uninvited movie too. I really like her. And there’s Alexis Roland who is always super good and tack on her board. I think maybe she’s been filming a little bit in the streets this year. And Nora Beck, she’s sick. She filmed a bit for Too Hard, and then for some local ones I love Sophie and Georgia Nicholls-Austin, the twins. Sophie came to Quebec and filmed a little bit with me. There’s also Emma Crosby, Savannah Shinske, and Naima Antolin.
That’s rad, some ladies to look out for. Thanks for sitting down with me and catching up. Anyone you’d like to thank to finish this off?
I’m thankful to everyone who helped me all season, friends, family, and Tao especially. Big thanks to the whole Burton family for supporting me and welcoming me with open arms. Thanks to Superheroes, Modest, Timebomb, Dave Walcer, and thank you snowboarding! This season was too short but so much fun and I’m glad to be walking out of it alive! I hope you all stay safe and sane out there. Much love to all.