The sun fades to black over the Whistler skate park, conversations cease, and all eyes follow Nic Sauve as he drops into the speed line, snapping ollies over the hip, and slaying backside into the deep end of the bowl. Rolling fast, he flows back through the snake run -- his easy-going, seemly effortless style remains evident -- showing not an ounce of angst from any recent injuries.
Wrapping up the session, he explains that he came out to Camp of Champions to see where how his body would hold up. He's been down after breaking his ankle while skating Quebec City's new park a few months back, and is still getting over an early-winter back issue from over-rotating a front ten off the Avalanche Jump (named for it's run-in being on a very exposed face) in the Cook City, Montana backcountry.
Heading back to the hotel to play guitar with Austen Sweetin, the conversation leads to how in the off-season he jumps on his cross-country bike, drives, or skates throughout the streets of Quebec City, seeking out spots to hit up come winter. It becomes apparent that he views the world of snowboarding differently to what one would expect of a shred hailing from a country known for big mountain style riding.
"Even though we have good snow in Canada, it's pretty far away from where I live, and I want to stay near my family and girlfriend," he says. "I guess growing up hitting urban features, I got good at it, so that's why I prefer riding street over backcountry."
Case in point, Sauve's nine-trick submission into the inaugural Winter X Real Snow video contest really showcases his street-style ethos, especially around Quebec City area.
"The moment I looked out my window of my new apartment I knew I was going to handplant the lamppost," Sauve says, expressing how this and the wallride castle segment became top priority for him and filmer Nathan Yant to shoot. When snow came late, the crew grabbed Pat Moore, and headed to Tahoe to bang off a few tricks in the low areas around North Star (like the gap to downbar shot) and wrapped it up by sledding into a dam and finding the wall ride that Sauve backflips off the fence.
Back in La Belle Province for the first three week of December, nothing set them back -- not even while setting up at the Citadelle, in the old part of Quebec City, when the Chief Commander came up and wanted to know what in the world the snowboarders were doing.
Explaining that he was going to build a jump and hit it on his snowboard for the X Games, Sauve was dragged into the army's office, but only to sign waiver, and get granted a full day of filming. With the edit in January 2, Sauve took a month off to just enjoy shredding with friends, until realization that he would have to compete in the live portion of Real Street in Aspen sunk in.
"I'm not used to lots of cameras and tons of people watching. I went down with my girlfriend and Louif Paradis, who was competing too," says Sauve. "I was stressing, even before the practice. When we saw the features, we were like 'that's kind of gnarly,' but after the first night of practice, I was like, 'OK, this is going to go pretty well.' So the next day I just went for it."
Asking him how he feels about winning silver for the video segment and gold in street, he says he would be stoked to get invited again, and looks forward to sending it, and getting more footage.
"I still have new things I think about hitting around where I live," he says, "but at some point I will run out of ideas, so I'm thinking of going over to Montreal, which is a bigger city, and there must be lot of things never been done."
Back at the hotel, with a couple of books on astrophysics nearby and an exercise ball in the corner, Sauve picks up his guitar -- which he has learned to play by ear -- and starts strumming a few chords.
"When I was very young, I found a violin in the house," he says expressing where his love for music first surfaced. "I don't know who owned it -- maybe it was my grandfather's? It had two strings, sounded so bad, but I just started playing it. At some point my parents were so over it that they asked me if I wanted to take lessons. I played for 12 years," he says. "But then snowboarding came into my life and everything changed."