JP Auclair is a Canadian freestyle skier and a co-founder of Armada Skis (helping to design the popular J.J. with Regnier) and Alpine Initiatives, a non-profit organization that aids in humanitarian efforts. His segment in Sherpas Cinema’s 2011 release All.I.Can. redefined the genre of urban skiing. Most recently, he was nominated to be National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year, for which a select number of people are honored for their remarkable achievements in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, and humanitarianism. He needs votes to win, so check out our interview below & head on over to National Geographic to vote!
When did you start skiing and what was it like? As a kid, I would sit in the back seat of my parents’ car and look out the window as we’d drive along.. I would picture an imaginary skier riding along the car, playing with the different features that would passed by… I always wanted to share how it would feel to ski along the road in a long, continuous, flowing line.. to express the sensation of “riding” at it’s most basic.
Why do you ski? Skiing brings the best feeling of freedom and exploration I can experience, it offers endless possibilities and a journey which will never end. Through skiing and through all the time I’ve spent out in the backcountry and all the time I’ve spent studying and learning about it, I’ve developed a sense of intimate relationship with the mountains which feel incredibly rewarding. The other thing that keeps bringing me back on my skis the the incredible feeling of hyper awareness I get when I push myself hard. If I put myself in an intense environment or setting, I become fully focussed on what I’m doing and totally immersed in the moment. So far, only skiing has brought me those feelings…. feeling alive.
What do you like most about skiing? The thing I like the most is learning. Once I started learning more about avalanches and learning more about traveling through the backcountry, it really kept me happy. I’m still doing it. Living in Europe, being in Chamonix and spending more time on the mountain and learning about alpinism and mountaineering. I love that stuff. If I was forced into doing only what I’m best at and focusing on that, I would have quit. The fact that I’m allowed to go shift and change and go learn things during winter months is awesome. That’s what keeps me going for sure. Just go learn new things.
Who are your favorite park skiers? My favorites park skiers are Henrik Harlaut, Phil Casabon, and Max Hill.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Outside of skiing, I enjoy thinking of ideas and trying to make them reality. That mostly manifests itself through design, photography, filmmaking and helping launch projects like Armada Skis and Alpine Initiatives. I love spending time in the outdoors and is a vital part of my life; besides skiing, I like surfing, cycling and anything mountain related; Climbing, hiking, camping, paragliding…
What are your favorite places to ski? British Columbia, Canada, Niseko and Hakuba, Japan, Alaska, and Chamonix.
How would you describe Armada? It’s not a corporation, it’s just a group of designers, and marketers, and people that are passionate about the sport. The designers at the brand are always looking for challenges and want to create things that are badass. They want to create cool stuff, see athletes succeed at their goals, and be challenged. That’s why I’m stoked to be involved at Armada. It’s about goals, and peoples’ goals. It’s a pretty cool relationship when you think about it.
What’s the best thing about working with Armada? In 2002, Armada was our creative outlet. I didn’t really think further than that. We had energy to put into design and no places to put that energy. That was the basic need for Armada. Looking at it now, it’s still very much what it was. Coming up with products for mountaineering is really awesome. It shows we’re being true to ourselves and true to what we’re supposed to be. Building products from the needs and wants from the team, It’s not sales or marketing – it’s just a design thing. After 12 years, I’m still allowed to have the same creative outlet that I had back then and that’s true for everyone. If an athlete has an idea or need a certain product – then we build it. We test it, and it’s out. Sure, the public can buy it, but it’s more for us. That’s what happened with the JJ. We had this crazy design and made super low numbers that was definitely a ski only for athletes. It was a crazy athlete idea that maybe the public wasn’t going to be into. It’s pretty cool we can still do that.
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- on the playlist you listen to while skiing, if anything? I don’t listen to music while I ski.
- the number of ski areas you’ve been to? I lost track somewhere between 97 and 114.
- your all-time favorite ski/snowboard film? The one I watched most must have been ‘Blizzard of Ahhhs.’
- your go-to breakfast before a big day on the slopes? Oh man! I make myself a HUGE bowl of cereal!
- your favorite, run or mountain? For sure mountain (I don’t like to run much).
- your guiltiest indulgence? I don’t really feel guilty about any indulgence of mine, that must make me an indulgent person?
- the weirdest thing you’ve seen from a chairlift? I saw a guy come inches from running into this other person, he was going super fast. I guess it doesn’t sound super wild now that I put it into writing… but he was going super fast and he came really close to hitting this person.