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SKIING’s interview with J.P. Auclair, progenitor of new school big air, and one of North America’s top 25 skiers.
Name: J.P. Auclair
Hometown: Stoneham, Quebec
Date of birth: 8/22/77 — I’m a Leo.
Age when you started skiing: Somewhere between four and six, but not necessarily five.
When did it hit you that you could be a pro/competitive skier? After it already happened. It wasn’t really something I decided.
Current ski mountain: Stoneham
Claim to fame/results: I beat Jonny Moseley in a World Cup moguls final in 1997 in Mt. Tremblant. Moseley came in 12th because he crashed — his binding broke — and I came in 11th. I also have a new Salomon signature twin-tip powder ski — I designed it myself — called the Pocket Rocket. I don’t actually have a pair yet, but Vinnie (Dorion), Philou, and J.F. Cusson do. I also won the first U.S. Open Big Air competition in ’98 and the first King of the Hill event.
Signature trick or event: Big Air. The Cork Seven is my favorite trick but doesn’t score very high, so I can’t afford to do it a lot.
Have any pets? Kazan — the stupidest dog alive. He’s a huge golden retriever that just loves to eat margarine. You throw a stick and he looks at it like, “You want me to get that?”
Favorite food: Sushi
Beverage of choice: Hot chocolate with marshmallows. If there aren’t any marshmallows, then my favorite is chocolate milk.
Favorite bands: Soundgarden and Radiohead
Are you religious? No, but everyone believes in something, eh?
What kind of car do you drive? A GMC Safari Van with 340,000 kilometers on it. It kicks ass.
Last book you read? Nathan’s Run
Do you have a ski hero? Plake. When I was 10 or 12, The Blizzard of AAHHH’swas it!
Movies you’ve been in: I’ve been in 12 or so including Ski Movieand The Gameand Willy Bogner’s new Imax movie Ski to the Max. It’s hilarious; we wore neon and did stupid stunts like in the ’70s.
Pastimes off the hill: Woodcarving and cartoons. I own videos of Tarzan, A Bug’s Life,and Toy Story Iand II. I take them on the road with me.
Plans for the future: My biggest dream is to build my own house and to be able to retire when I’m done skiing. To do that, I need to figure out how to make more money skiing. Any ideas? I also want to finish my degree in Industrial Design. I love designing things — my ski is a start.
What are your thoughts on the state of the ski industry? It’s a good time to be in the ski industry. There’s a lot of energy and a bunch of passionate people. It’s not like any other office job. And as long as it stays exciting, it’s the place to be.
How do you feel about the FIS/IFSA? I’m not a big rules guy so I’ve never really liked organizations or associations, but you do need someone to keep things organized and the IFSA does a pretty good job.
Do you think fat skis are a game-improvement tool or a crutch? It’s all about making life easier. Fat skis are still challenging and let you take skiing to a new level. Those guys couldn’t ski Alaska like they do without them.
Skiboarders: shoot ’em or hug ’em? Shoot ’em. You didn’t even have to finish the question and I already had my answer.
Any words of wisdom for our readers? Don’t drink through a straw, don’t say Pepsi at a Coke convention and don’t yell “Whoa!” at a horse race.
Best up and comer: Jon Olssen. Just a great kid and a great skier.
On Philou: He’s the most amazing natural athlete I’ve ever met. Maybe it has something to do with this crazy confidence. He doesn’t even consider the possibility that he can’t do something — in any sport. And, if he fails at something, he gets pissed at himself and has trouble understanding hoow he could have missed. He just doesn’t think it’s possible.