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Mid March, Louif Paradis wins X Games Real Snow 2012 fan favorite by a mere 32 votes over Halldor Helgason. Louif pockets a cool 50 grand cash for a 1 minute and 12 second video part (that’s $694 bucks a second) and suddenly Louis-Felix Paradis Lemieux, Louie Paradise, Louis, Sweet Lou, or Louif Paradis as you most commonly know him — say “LOO-EFF PA-RA-DEE” and you’re there, dude — hailing from the backwoods of Quebec City (population 765,706) was on the Sportscenter map and rolling in dead presidents after the wonderful ESPN send off. Previously known for career illuminating parts in the TWS release “These Days” and the Videograss flick, “Bon Voyage”, Louif’s smooth approach and fluid style on gnarly, technical street obstacles, is simply a fucking bewilderment to watch. Louif Paradis — bilingual freak of nature.
Take us back to your first day of snowboarding.
I started sledding at a hill close by my house with my parents. Then we started standing up on the sled, then my parents got us snow skates, or black snow they were called here, then we got a Canadian tire at a hardware store. Eventually on spring break my last year of elementary school, when I was 11, they took us a on little ski trip on to the East of Quebec at Mt Comi. We took snowboard lessons for the whole week of spring break. We, my brother, Alex, and I spent the week on snowboards and really liked it, but on the last day we rented snowblades (laughing). The year after, it was for sure that I wanted to snowboard, so I started taking lessons at a mountain much closer every Sunday. And that was it. I was hooked. Le Relain was the name of the resort.
We almost lost you to snowlerblading?
Yeah, almost (laughing). It had snowblades, but back then they were just like ski boots with a ski that wouldn’t even go further than the ski boot. It was pretty much just a ski boot with a mini mini ski on it. It was definitely not as fun as snowboarding.
After your first time out snowlerblading, did you have a big pile of poutine to celebrate? Is that the national dish of Quebec?
No (laughing). I would say it’s the thing we have that you can’t find really anywhere else. That’s what mostly tourists eat all the time here in Quebec. Some people eat it all the time, but it’s like eating a block of butter so I try and stay away from it. When you’re wasted you go and get that. It will soak up all the alcohol the next morning.
Why are French Canadian girls so slutty and wonderful?
I don’t know about slutty, but I don’t know – there is a tale that said some king way back when brought a bunch of beautiful girls here from Europe. That’s what people say. They had kids and their kids had kids (laughing).
What’s more fun – searching the world looking for rails, or searching the rails in your backyard of Quebec City?
They are both fun because, well, searching out of home is cool because in Quebec I know how to get around and it’s fun to just come back home, rest and cook my own food. It’s also really fun to just go explore and find different cultures. It’s also a little harder to find new spots because like let’s say in Japan we had a pretty hard time finding spots because of the language barrier and just things in general — we would just get stuck in traffic because we didn’t know the good roads to take and shit. So, at the same time it was just really fun to find out what they had over there. I enjoy both. I would say I am more productive in Quebec when there is good snow.
Two Lou’s for the price of one. Photo: Alex Paradis
Quebec has always been a hot spot for pro snowboarders, yet few become big names in the states. Outside of the language barrier and hard to pronounce French names why do you think this is?
Since it’s good here, we just stay here to snowboard. In the U.S., people will just go ride Mammoth or Big Bear, I know I am generalizing, but that’s where the industry sort of is. When you are just snowboarding the resort in Quebec and nobody really see’s you unless you have a video part, or send out tapes.
Are French Canadians the Mexicans of the snowboard industry? Disrespected just because of language barriers and a few cultural differences? You can come here to break yourself off in our fields of snow and factory like cities of metal, but at the end of day your disposable and can potentially just always go home to Quebec? Do you feel more disposable?
Maybe? It’s possible. Our names aren’t as easy to pronounce, but I can’t really complain. The sponsors I have are really awesome.
Yet, I see it sort of changing nowadays. Heck, even Alaskan Gus Engle has really used the streets of Quebec City and the Quebec girls to his advantage.
It’s pretty hilarious. I think it’s cool to just get these guys to come hang out here. I am not really complaining.
Do you think Quebec should separate from the rest of Canada?
I don’t think it will ever happen, but there are always those people who will militate for that. So, at the same time it’s sort of symbolic. I personally feel that we our own culture over here versus the rest of Canada, which we don’t necessarily relate to. The language, music, art is just quite different. I really like when I go to a different country – I was recently in Vietnam, and you met other tourists and they are like, “Where are you from?” and I would say, “I am from Canada!” and then I would specify that I was from Quebec where we speak French. I can’t just say I am Canadian, because then people are like, “Cool! Vancouver! Toronto! Regina!” People always come to Quebec and say they feel like they are in Europe.
Where was the first place you snowboarded in the states?
I went to Keystone Superpark for the first time. Superpark was pretty crazy. A big show, I guess. Very impressive. It was fun because I was with a bunch of homey’s and I spoke almost zero English at that time.
When did you learn English and when did you get good at English? I know most people in Quebec can speak English, but they get little practice because everyone is speaking French?
Correct. I went to High School and completed an English immersion program. We learned to write English and read it really well and then we learn to speak it a little bit, but you get very little practice. I spent a bunch of time at Whistler in the summers and 2 winters in a row. That’s where I really practiced speaking English. I got a couple different little jobs and I was away from my friends whom I would speak French with. I still lived with a bunch of people who spoke nothing but French, but on the jobs I would have to speak English. When I started traveling with Salomon or Videograss people, it was still really hard to communicate. That’s where I got to practice the most, though. Traveling with those guys.
What’s your favorite thing about Oregon – besides the summer snowboarding and the dudes who pump your gas for you?
I really like the concrete skateparks. They’re amazing. Over here we don’t have that. Sort of clichÃ© – but I like how green Oregon is. It’s very nice. I like the forests and Mt Hood. It’s just a different environment. The people there are cool.
The constant crossing of the U.S.-Canadian border can be a hassle for many a pro snowboarder. How have your experiences been at the border?
At first, I was really stressed. I would not tell them the truth at first. Eventually I realized I just had to say, “Yeah, I am a professional snowboarder.” I feel like the closer you get to the truth, the less questions they will ask. They can tell if you are trying to invent some stuff. Salomon got me a visa, but I still haven’t used it, waiting on it from my team manager. I think I have gotten 2 or 3 secondary searches in customs, but I have never been denied entry.
Was winning X Games Real Snow 2012 the career highlight thus far or rank near the top? Were you surprised by the response after trekking to Japan and not finding much snow and spot checking a lot of the time?
It was better than just staying home, so we went to Japan. It was a little bit of work to find spots, but it ended up working. It was a lot of driving, but we found spots. When I was going to give them my video, after the 3 weeks, I wasn’t that confident about how the video was because I ended up using shots I just thought I would keep for my video part and try and get better shots for the real snow event. I would hear about how good Bode Merrill was doing, or how good Jed Anderson and I was for sure the other one’s were doing awesome like Pat Moore and Brisse, so I wasn’t that confident. So, I was actually surprised. A lot of people say I won the thing, but I got silver medal from the judges, and the people’s choice (laughing). I will take it.
Did it mean more to win a constest voted on by the people?
Not really, because it becomes a popularity contest with a lot of the social media involved. It almost feels like it’s who gets it most out there on the internet. It doesn’t even feel like people even judge for who they really like. I don’t know, it might just be which link they saw first.
Well, I hope they are core snowboarders who know the difference. Â
Yeah, like my Mom and her friends (laughing).
Do you have any special technique for detuning your boards you’d like to share with the Yobeat readers?
Not really, I usually just leave it like that. My special detuning technique is when I have a new board I will go start it in the park and then I will be good to go to a spot. I really don’t like detuning my edges much because I feel like I am out of control when I am trying to turn. If I unwrap a board at a spot, I’ll then file the edges a bit. Most of it is in your head. Of course, if you’re going to go hit a wood rail, maybe the edges will affect, but if you’re trying to find metal or concrete, I feel like if you’re in the right position then it shouldn’t hook. I haven’t experienced many problems yet.
You haven’t broken anything yet. Do you always look for an out. How do you prepare for bigger obstacles?
I try to visualize all the possible dangers, I guess. Whenever I do it, I am very conscious of what could happen. That probably helps.
What’s the most ridiculous thing that’s ever happened to you setting up to session a rail? Cop beat down, hookers, crackheads, irate business owners?
Setting up a spot, I don’t know, but we did a snowboard trip in Lebanon and I have told this story many times, but it’s still the most ridiculous one. We got to Lebanon and we were going to go snowboarding up in the mountains the next day. For the first day, we looked around in Beirut and after an hour of going around I guess we were in the wrong part of town. A bunch of people from hezaballoh told us to follow them. We really didn’t have a choice. They took us under custody for 6 hours and then released us. That was definitely the most ridiculous thing that has happened to me so far.
I would also file that under fucking sketchy.
Yeah, yeah (laughing).
Have you enjoyed your Canadian healthcare?
Yeah, I do. I have needed stitches and snowboarding issues a little bit, but mostly for stitches. For other stuff – my girlfriends mom is a physical therapist so I don’t even use my medical insurance. I just go see her straight. She’s down.
Have your parents and your grandparents enjoyed their Canadian healthcare? Old people in America like to tell us the old people in Canada get horrible healthcare.
Huh, really? My Grandma is using it a bunch. She has eye problems. I don’t think that’s accurate. When I usually go to the hospital, it’s mostly old people who are there and they look like they are taken care of.
If your snowboard career was a skateboard career, whom would you most like to emulate?
I like Grant Taylor. People like that who skate tranny really well and street, too. I am just dropping the skater of the year name (laughing). Pontus Alv, too. He really contributes to his local scene and his 2 videos are pretty cool.
What’s Louif Paradis’s spirit animal?
I like monkeys a lot. I think they are cool, look smart and they look really agile, If i could be an animal, not sure if that’s the definition of a spirit animal, but if i could be animal, i would like to be a monkey. They look like they are having a great time. Especially when they are not in a zoo (laughing).
Your brother said you were really into the environment and environmental awareness. As snowboarders, how do you see the world differently and what can we do to impact the environment in a positive way?
I don’t know how much of an environmentalist I am, but I try to reduce my waste. I try to stop consumption of useless stuff. As snowboarders we always stop at gas stations, get snacks and bottles and shit, and I think everyone should just travel with a metal bottle and fill it up with water, which is better for you than a Pepsi. I believe that would be a good start.
You don’t have an energy drink sponsor?
Nope. I just support and wear we drink water- Bryan Fox and Austin Smith.
Headed into next season, 2013, what do you hope to accomplish with your time sliding on snow?
Nothing straight yet, but me and my homeys from Quebec are trying to make a project happen. We all did the Bandwagon video back then and after that we all separated in different projects. Nic Suave went to Forum. Alex Cantin, Will Lavigne, LNP, Phhil Jacques — we all went different ways. Â I went to These Days then Videograss. We haven’t filmed something all together in 6 years. This year we’ve been talking about it, so that would be my major accomplishment. It’s something we have talked about for a long time and would be awesome.
Just think, you guys won’t have to speak any English in order to get this video done.
(Laughing) No, but I think we will probably have English speaking filmers and editors. It will be a bilingual project.
And lastly, what words of wisdom or sage advice, would you like leave with?
Enjoy life. It goes fast so take advantage of every minute, every second and don’t get too serious. Have fun.
Salomon, Bonfire, Ashbury, Dakine, Poler, Ifound, Boutique Du Skate, Drink Water.