By David MacKinnon, photos by Chad Chomlack
Last week, the 2019 X Games Real Snow parts went live. This year’s parts are the best yet– the snowboarding is completely gnarly, and each rider took a unique approach. Frank Bourgeois and Anto Chamberland managed to film edits that stand out among the madness. The two Quebecers are veterans of the event; each has competed four times, Frank has two golds and a silver (not to mention three fan favourite wins) and Anto has a silver and a bronze. We caught up with the boys to get some insight into their approach– you know what to do.
First of all, congratulations on your parts. Insane. How are you feeling now that they’re out?
Frank: I feel pretty great man. I’m happy with what we got, and I’m still riding. It was a big project, and I got hurt, but I took some time off and still had fun.
Anto: I’m super stoked, I’m really proud of the final result and I’m really happy to be back working with Matt [Gibeault]. It’s a super hard process, but in a lot of ways it went well. No injuries on my side, and I managed to do most of the ideas that I had. It was a good one for me for sure.
How much do you plan your part before the filming window starts? What goes into planning?
Anto: There’s not that much you can do because you never really know how much snow you’re gonna get and where. What I do is make a list of spots on my phone, as big a list as I can, and then let the weather lead the way. The best I can do is come up with as many ideas as I can, and the rest has to do with Mother Nature.
Frank: It’s pretty much the same for me, the weather is the big factor. There’s nothing you can do to plan the weather, so you just have pictures of spots you wanna hit and ideas for tricks you want to do. When it snows, you start from there and boom. But before that you can’t do anything.
Anto: I’d say 70 percent of my part is spots I had in mind, and the rest are spots we found randomly or ideas we changed after we scoped.
How is filming Real Snow different than filming a conventional video part?
Frank: You’re in a rush, so you have to get clips pretty quick. At least two clips per week, or three. When you film a part you have a little more time to wait for weather and stuff like that, with Real Snow you have to wrestle it out. It’s a little bit stressful; it’s a short time that we have to make this project good.
Anto: Right after Real Snow I went to Russia and filmed for DC Transitors, which was more like filming a part. It’s kind of the same– Real Snow is what I’ve been doing, so it’s what feels normal now and I take a similar approach to other filming where I’m trying to get a shot every three or four days. One difference is that in Real Snow you don’t want to go small. Sometimes I like to go smaller and do a more technical trick, or hit a spot that has a lot of flavour even though it isn’t big. With Real Snow you focus on going big.
You guys are both Real Snow vets. Did 2019 feel different than previous years?
Frank: They’re all different, every year is different. There’s 365 days in a year, so your mind has a lot of time to change between them. That’s why the parts all have their own feel. You always want to do something you’ll be proud of, but the mindset is different so the results are different.
Anto: I agree with Frank. The pressure is as strong every year– maybe for me the pressure’s even higher, I’ve been really pushing myself because I want to get one gold at some point. But I like to be pressured, and I like to work around it, and throughout the years I’ve gotten way better at rails and my approach has changed. The first one I wanted to get as many shots as possible, but I found over the years I need less shots but better quality. This year was more about saving my energy, building it up so I could do this or that. It’s changed, yeah– I think I’m handling Real Snow a lot better than before.
Do you have a favourite out of the other riders’ parts?
Anto: There are so many variables– if you’re asking which part I think is the coolest, it’s by far Schubert. He went out of line and did something very cool with great style. But everybody has really cool stuff in it. I like Craig’s because it’s really creative, and he stepped out of his comfort zone. Frank’s– I love Frank’s. Will’s the new kid and I was really hyped to see what he did, it was really good. Maria stepped it up too, she had a great year. I guess I don’t really have a favourite.
Frank: I would say that Anto’s part could be my favourite. But Schubert had a really short time to do his, and he did it all at the same zone and did pretty well– it’s very fun to watch his video.
What have you been doing since Real Snow? What’s next?
Frank: After Real Snow I went to Baldface with Absinthe, and then I came back to Quebec to film with Theo [Muse] for the Lobster team movie. The Sessions team is coming to Quebec next week so I’m gonna film with them for a week. I’m gonna finish my winter in La Plagne, France, hanging with the Lobster guys at their Dream Week.
Anto: That’s dope Frank– for me, Real Snow was December and January and I spent the whole month of February filming for DC Transitors. March was supposed to be dedicated to filming with DC in Whistler, but the weather’s been really shitty there. I’ve pretty much been on standby in Quebec for that, but we’ll see if it happens at all. I’ve been riding my home resort, and Frank and I just spent a week at Snowmission. That was super fun; it’s a great local event.