Editor’s Note: Whether it be slashing backcountry powder in British Columbia, or riding the rails of Montreal, Marie-France Roy does it all. Over the past two years she added film producer to her resume, as her much anticipated, “The Little Things” comes out on iTunes on October 7th (you can pre-order it here). In anticipation of MFR’s new film we had the opportunity talk splitboarding, film making and climate change. See what she had to say:
For more on Marie-France Roy check out her bio on Rome Snowboard’s site here.
How long have you been splitboarding for? What motivated you to split your board?
I think the first time I tried splitboarding was 4 years ago in Whistler. I thought the idea was neat, to earn your turns and rely on your own power instead or using a lift of a snowmobile etc… I also like that it’s a better exercise than just riding down all day!
By far the best Splitboard trip was 2 winters ago at Golden Alpine Holidays. It’s a heli accessed operation with 3 different off the grid solar powered cabins that you stay at for 7 days. Each cabin gets tons of different bowls and plenty of terrain to ride so your crew will get limitless freshies all day. We had water from a lake nearby and the cabin even had an awesome little firewood sauna, couldn’t be happier! The mountains were so epic, I had some of the best runs of my whole life there. I crewed up with Robin Van Gyn, Maria Debari, Darcy Turenne, Phil Tifo and our guide Cam. We just had the biggest smiles and high fives after each run…
What’s at the top of your list for locations to go splitboarding?
There are so many, I don’t even know where to start! I feel like it’s only the beginning of an era of people exploring and discovering more zones for touring. I love exploring. I would always rather go somewhere new instead of somewhere else I’ve been before that I know is really good. There is just so much to see and too little time!
Any tips/ words of encouragement for people thinking about making the jump to the splitboarding world?
For some people, the initial investment seems expensive but it’s definitely worth it and affordable if you are gonna do it a few times a year. more importantly, you need to find yourself a good crew and safe partners to go with who are aware of avalanche safety and have the right gear. Always check the weather before you go and plan for longer than your actual trip is supposed to be in case something happened. Bring extra parts and tools too so you can fix and adjust your gear as you go if you need. I truly think it’s such a rich experience to be out there splitboarding with your friends. The mountains and the fresh air are so good for us and once you get into it, you can get a lot more distance and runs in than you’d think.https://www.vimeo.com/
The Little Things really seems like it was a labor of love, especially considering your donating all of the proceeds to fight climate change. What was your inspiration for making the film?
I basically was trying to find a way to give back to everything I love and everything that has given me so much in my life already. I love snowboarding and I love nature. I always played outside as a kid and noticed from a very young age the effects of human development on the habitat around me. I was always fascinated by bugs or plants and animals and rivers and creeks… it was the best school! I then studied Ecology (in real school) for 3 years before I moved to Whistler, where my snowboarding career kind took me away from all that stuff for a bit. But I always knew I would want to reconnect with that passion one day. I am fully aware of my own impact as a professional snowboarder traveling the world, using snowmobiles or cats or helis. It gave me a lot of guilt and I wanted to do something about it. I even considered quitting and trying to live as simply as possible without consuming as much. But after some reflection, I felt like I had some amazingly powerful tools and connections that could make a much bigger impact than just me downsizing my own lifestyle. Which I still try to do, but making a movie seemed like the best and most powerful way to make a bigger difference. I decided to use snowboarding and my passion for the outdoors as a messenger. I wanted to raise awareness about the importance of being connected to nature, I wanted to bring exposure to a handful of riders who have already taken amazing initiatives, I wanted to promote and raise funds for The David Suzuki Foundation and Protect Our Winters and I wanted to do all that in a non preachy way where people would feel inspired to do more instead of feeling guilty for not doing enough.
This is very interesting and I’m really proud to say that we didn’t pick the riders depending on their sponsor buy-in potential or their contest results or number of video parts. In fact, no riders had to bring in any financial contribution to be in the film.We picked them for their stories, for their lifestyle, their initiatives towards sustainability and belief in true values in life really. I can say that some of the most moving segments of the film are from riders that barely have any sponsors but they are so inspiring and really do make this world a better place.
I noticed the use of a snow-mobile in the trailer, have you received any criticism for making an eco-conscious film and using a such a carbon intensive mode of travel? What do you have to say to those critics?
Yes I got some negative critics already, some pretty harsh comments too. And this is the WHOLE POINT OF THIS FILM. As snowboarders, we sometimes need snowmobiles and trucks to do our job, we use chairlifts and we fly all over the world to compete or film these progressive segments that we need in order to make a living. David Suzuki needs to get on plane once in a while to fight to protect the quality of life we all depend on. People have become so critical towards each other to a point where no one feels like they can take a stand and claim they care for the environment anymore. I realize that credibility is important, but in such a complex and major issue like climate change, we can’ ask for people to be perfect and have no footprint at all in order to speak. Because that would mean that nobody can speak and therefore game over for climate change. We will need some fossil fuels to build a greener future and we can’t ask everyone to drop everything tomorrow like not using vehicles or planes to live. It is unrealistic and simply won’t happen. But what we can do is work together and invest towards cleaner technologies, find ways to reduce our impact wherever we can and make the environment a bigger part of our economical and political decisions.