Louif Paradis’ recent Rider of the Year designation was a long time coming. The quiet Quebecois is not one of the most talented street riders to strap in but one of the best snowboarders to exist. Coming off a well-conceptualized film that is equal parts cinematic and gnarly, Lou represents what is right with snowboarding. His calculated and fluid approach shuns stunts in favor of aesthetically pleasing authenticity. Below are Louif’s thoughts on several subjects, from gardening to his choice in boots.
Winning Rider of the Year
I was told that I should come to the awards ceremony, so I was expecting maybe one award, like the Video of the Year. I was shocked to win Rider of the Year, ’cause Halldór and Nicolas had such amazing years. I wasn’t really prepared to give a speech in front of that many people. That was another portion of the shock.
I didn’t prepare anything ’cause I didn’t know what was going to happen. I know that if I prepared something I’d probably stumble or make a mistake. So it was just full improvisation. I was pretty intimidated; I can speak in front of a small group of people that I know well, or I can have a good conversation one-on-one, but publicly speaking, well, that and dancing and karaoke, are my not strong suits.
I think both awards are amazing. I think both show a huge appreciation for Beacon and where we went with it.
An enthusiastic Halldór embraces Louif as he stands to accept the Rider of the Year award both were nominated for. PHOTO: Mark Clavin
I kind of blacked out for a second and the people I was sitting with looked so excited and to my right, there was Halldór hugging me right away. Halldór’s the man.
I tried to pitch them the idea, but it didn’t really work cause of Bode’s project, so we had a full year to think about it. The year after, Bridges came to me and said do you want to do something? We have the support of your sponsors and you can do whatever you want to do. So I talked about it with Hayden, and we knew that we wanted to make something more flowy, with as many lines as possible, with all natural speed. No winches and no bungees. And I told Hayden that I wanted do chase locations that have only natural speed. So that was kind of the whole concept. We wanted as many moving shots as possible and to make it look like we’re moving the whole film.
Lou threads the needle, mid-line. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon
Lack of talking in the movie
That’s just our style, I guess. Hayden and I are both quiet guys I guess. Also with the natural speed stuff, I didn’t want to try to make a point or talk about it in the film. I was just looking for the result.
We started working together years ago. He was working for Roxy, and I was doing TransWorld SNOWboarding’s These Days. We crossed paths at the Olympic stadium at Montreal, but we didn’t really know each other. I think we just said hi or whatever. Then years after, I realized it was him. While he was working on In Color, I think, I went on a trip with Keegan Valaika, Jed Anderson, Harrison Gordon, and Tyler Verigan and those guys. We went on a super fun trip and just connected there. He was around Quebec working with Frank [April] and Phil [Jacques] and Ben [Bilocq] on some other TransWorld projects and Enlighten, that I was involved in. So we stayed connected that way, and when I got the opportunity to film a Real Snow part, he was my first pick. That was the first time it was just him and I fully working on a project together. There weren’t too many chefs in the kitchen. So I think after that we worked together for the next four years, and we just connected pretty well. It didn’t take any effort. I feel like we have similar taste in a lot of things, like in music. I always like his suggestions, and I think he likes my suggestions. It’s just a natural fit.
Above: Louif’s 2012 Real Snow part. His and Hayden”s first major collaboration.
Yeah, this last season I worked a lot with Mark Wilson and Tommy Gesme. Also Mammouth Durette and Frank Bourgeois. I really like to ride with them, and I like their riding. I tried to find people that I knew could ride without artificial speed. I was trying to go with people I knew were already applying that. Of course it’s ideal when we share a sponsor, but I also knew that my sponsors didn’t care if I went outside those parameters. I had such a big list of riders I wanted to work with, but we only did like five or six trips, and a winter goes by quick. A winter goes by quick. But I’m really happy with the people that were able to come, and I wouldn’t do it any differently.
The current season
Right now I’m on a quick BC trip with a little bit of heli time. After that, it’s open. I’m going to do some different things with different people–maybe film with Tommy Gesme, who’s doing an adidas project, and then maybe do something with Derek Lever and Jake Durham for House Call.
I was going to go on a trip to Iran, but it seems like it’s getting complicated to go there for Canadians. So we may cancel. I’m going to try to stay on the move, not really concentrating on one big project, but I would like to get on another one as soon as possible.
Classic Louif. Serialized scenario, size large. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon
Getting started with adidas
I remember thinking how cool it would be if adidas made boots, and I thought it would be cool to get on that program, so I started trying. But it didn’t work. Then when Evan got the job, he contacted me at some point. And I thought, “Wow, that’s unreal.” He asked me if I would make a portfolio to send over so he could present it to someone higher up. And from then it took almost a year before it actually worked. He would call me every now and then and just say, “I want to let you know I haven’t forgot about this.”
I’ve never felt like I needed one. I’ve always worked with people I get along with. I think if I had gone the energy drink route I might have needed an agent.
I’m definitely attracted to that. I’m also still attracted to the crossover. Like whenever I can find like a mix of human structures or things that I can do a little bit of street-influenced riding but into powder, where you have like only a few tries, that’s a challenge that I’d like to find more of. I still want to do some street trips, but I want to work with as much snow as possible, and find flowy scenarios with lower impact. I’m not into full impact anymore. Lines and whatever feels… I keep saying flowy but there must be another word for it.
Metal and powder. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon
I really like mountain biking. This summer, I didn’t skate as much as usual and ended up mountain biking more ’cause it just kind of felt right for the body and the soul.
I like to be out in the woods and pick mushrooms. I like cooking a lot and growing food.
It’s doing ok. I think if I had more time I could get it going, But the sun goes down early behind some trees at our house. Maybe doing a greenhouse would help.
Lou, setting up. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon
Boot: adidas Tactical ADV, 10.5
I like that it’s low-profile. I’m a size 10.5, and I can still use medium bindings, and when you look down it doesn’t look humongous. It feels like you’re just wearing shoes. They’re super comfortable and have the right flex for me. Some boots have a more square toe, but these are nice and rounded.
Board: Salomon The Villain, 158 and 155
I ride the 58 for bigger stuff. That’s mostly what I rode in Beacon. Then sometimes I ride the 55 for street stuff as well. I just find it’s a super versatile board. It ‘s definitely on the softer side of things, but it’s still got a ton of pop.
The guy’s got an eye. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon
Binding: Salomon District or Hologram, medium
It’s got ShadowFit, which is the softer heelcup. I like it ’cause it’s got sort of a skate or surf feel where you can move your ankles left and right, but front and back you still have really good support. It’s definitely a softer binding, but I like it. It has a lot of freedom of movement for tweaks.
Goggle: Smith Squad XL
They’re just a simple goggle, but they’ve got the ChromaPop technology. They’re easy to take care of and remove the lens. I just like the look of them. They’re simple.
Shoes: adidas Blauvelt boots and Samba ADV
They’re really durable. They fit well. The Samba ADV kind of feels like an indoor soccer shoe. That’s kind of how they look and feel a little bit. They have the gum sole, which I like. The Blauvelt boots are nice after riding.