Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have a front row seat to many of the wonderful things Marie-France Roy has done on a snowboard. Her pleasant character and smiling face often times seem in stark contrast to the ferocious bag of tricks she can unleash. From 270s onto rails, 900s on park booters, tech spins on large backcountry jumps, and high-speed tech lines, Marie is possibly the most well-rounded snowboarder in the world today. Much like Barrett Christy, Janna Meyen, Tara Dakides, Victoria Jealouse, or Natasza Zurek, she’s been able to hang in a male-dominated video part-driven domain, thrive as a role model for women everywhere, and produce parts that dudes don’t just simply skip over. Marie has quietly been working on a two-year film project called The Little Things which will highlight her riding as well as riders who take a slightly more environmental approach to things. As with most things in her life she’s doing it her way. She just dropped this new teaser for the project to give you all a little sneak peek as to what she’s been up to, I caught up with her to discuss The Little Things, her winter, and snowboarding.
So is it true that you are building a house completely out of shit?
Hahaha! Is that what people think? Yeah, it’s made of soot and poo! No, it’s not made of shit. It’s made of cob, which is a mix of sand clay and straw. Some people use horse manure for plasters mix. The cob is just like natural cement.
Oh sorry. In that case, do you ever worry about an animal–let’s just say for the sake of this story a wolf–coming and maybe blowing your house that is made of straw down?
Haha!! Good question, but I guess you’ll have to come and see the walls for yourself! They are a foot thick and are pretty much like cement once they are dry so I ain’t worried ’bout no wolf blowin’ on it!
Tell us about this new teaser to The Little Things.
Well this was just a little edit we made to show people that we have started and to create some hype. We will have more of those throughout the season showing the other riders involved as well. A lot of the footage in there wouldn’t make it in the film anyways so it just seemed like a good way to put it out there and promote the film. The actual movie will be a lot different than this though, and will feature everyone’s story.
What can people expect from The Little Things next year?
It won’t be your usual snowboard movie. We want to create something where the riding is mixed with the stories of initiatives that these amazing riders have taken in their life towards sustainability or different lifestyles, really. We want to avoid preachyness and focus more on letting people get inspired by their personalities and positive changes in their lives.
In talking to you recently, you seem really fired up to shred. I’ve noticed a genuine level of excitement in your tone. What do you attribute this to?
Yeah, it’s funny how there was a time there where I was a bit confused with snowboarding and what I wanted in life, I think. I felt a bit guilty to live this amazing life without giving back much. I felt like I should be doing something more meaningful or I needed a new challenge. This movie idea was a good way for me to mix what I love about snowboarding while trying to make a positive impact. So it’s definitely one of the biggest factors of this new stoke and definitely puts me out of my comfort zone. Ha! Those new challenges keep me motivated, for sure.
How have things changed for you over the years? It seems like you are going in a slightly new direction, but judging by this footage it appears to be working. Does it bother you how people tend to always question this?
Whenever you go down your usual path, people are gonna question it and you kind of need to prove yourself again. I think if you have passion for something mixed with good intentions it should only go well, and if haters hate, it’s usually because of boredom or jealousy. I’m lucky to be in a place right now where my sponsors support me even when my path is changing and I’m really thankful for that or else this project wouldn’t have been possible.
Is it tough to try to progress while always being in front of the camera? Having video parts come out every year makes it a little hard to learn new things. How have you dealt with this?
For sure it is, and you hit a point where you almost get down on yourself and you feel like you’re not progressing as much as you wish anymore. Maybe that means you need to take the time to ride for yourself and learn stuff again. With this movie project, it’s kind of nice because we can make the call on where and when we go. That was also a big reason why we chose to do it over two years. I have never really done this before and we didn’t want to be really stressed out the whole time and release something weak. It takes a lot of time to get good footage of everyone, getting it organized, dealing with music rights and distribution, and getting your own footage on top of that. I’m learning so much and spending a lot more time on my computer than I wished but we want to make something beautiful and inspiring so it’s worth it.
This was a pretty great year for girls with Desiree and Jess both dropping really sick parts, Kelly going huge and Elena doing the double in the pipe. What things did you see this year that stoked you out the most.
Yes, definitely! I think that progression is happening in every field for women right now. Girls are going huge and throwing doubles in the pipe, slopestyle girls put together amazing runs spinning all four ways with rodeos on bigger and bigger courses and the streets are seeing amazing progression from the girls too! It’s really sick to girls like Jess killing it all over again in Never Not and ESPN Women to the Roxy video Wilder filled with bangers, the Burton women webisode, etc… It’s really amazing that girls are given the opportunity to showcase their riding. I really hope that brands keep investing in that. I feel like some people underestimate how much girls relate to watching other girls ride and it makes a huge impact on the brand’s image to support women.
I always joke with you calling you a hippie, but that isn’t really true. In all seriousness you are just a little more conscious of the environment and our role in it. How and when did this come about?
Yeah I’m not a real hippie. What is a real hippie anyway? I just grew up in the bush in Québec playing outside all day with my brothers and snowboarding in the mountains. It’s always been obvious to me that this won’t last forever at the rate we’re going. I hope that we are smart enough as humans to figure it out as it is humanity’s biggest challenge. I am aware that I have a huge footprint myself. I drive a sled, I have a truck, I fly a lot. But I am doing my best where I can and that’s how it starts. Investing my time and money toward this movie was another way for me to donate to the cause and influence the switch. 100% of the profits being made from the release will go to Protect Our Winters and possibly The David Suzuki Foundation. I hope that our children can play in the mountains and clean rivers and oceans in a peaceful world. It sounds really cheesy but that’s what it’s about really, and I’m afraid we’re going away from that goal at an alarming rate.
What are couple small things that people reading this could do to impact their environment?
It’s different for everyone, but I feel like it’s people like us who have the most leverage. We are young and come from wealthier countries. We have a lot of influence through social media and great access to information. Poor countries are just trying to survive. Most families these days are too busy working so it’s hard to feed their children or pay their mortgage so they aren’t in the best position to take action. Some other people have simply lost faith it seems, but that’s just giving up and making sure it all goes downhill. It can be small things here and there that can make a huge difference and eventually make room for bigger changes. Some are obvious like using local organic food, recycling, composting, bike or carpool to work if you can. Using less, reusing more, waste less, buy carbon offsets for your travels, get a more efficient car, organize beach or lake clean-ups with your friends or school, try to grow your own food, support brands that give to charities, donate your old gear to people in need instead of the trash, shop at thrift stores etc… Those are all pretty easy. Then you can go deeper by trying to make your home more efficient or build it with used or natural materials like my cob house. The list goes on and on and there is plenty of information or inspiration out there for everyone to do it.
Did you have déjà vu watching Déjà Vu? You came up in the Québec scene. What were your thoughts on the movie?
I thought it was so sick to see all those guys get together to make a banger movie. They all have been friends forever and each of them slowly made a name for themselves which is so admirable. I’m impressed that they took the initiative to do this even though it may have been hard to convince sponsors at first. But I bet it paid off because they really killed it and got to spend an amazing year shredding with their best friends. You don’t see that too much in snowboarding or any other scene.
Watch Marie-France Roy’sThe Little Things teaser.