Alex Beaulieu-Marchand is home in Quebec for the last time this winter. Soon, he's heading to Austria with the Canadian Freeskiing Team, and after that he'll be on the road until March, competing, filming and hopefully taking his first-ever backcountry turns. Beaulieu-Marchand is one of Canada's best slopestyle prospects for the upcoming Olympics, but this winter, he's also planning to film with Stept Productions for a second season. This fall, he appeared in Stept's film, "Mutiny." All that and 19-year-old ABM, as he's known, has homework to contend with, too.
How did you start shooting with Stept?
Nick Martini came up to me at X Games last year and asked if I wanted to film with them. I'd always filmed with a crew of my friends in Quebec, ESK, but they stopped making ski movies that year so I didn't have the opportunity to film any more. It was perfect timing.
You'd been filming with ESK since you were 12. What's different about working with Stept?
The Stept crew is more focused on one skier hitting one feature. Everybody puts work into that shot. With ESK, we'd build a setup and five people would hit it. With Stept you could be shoveling all day for something that someone else will hit. That happens a lot. On my last trip everybody helped me a lot, because I didn't have much time between competitions, but over seven days I think I hit three features. I think it makes for a really different film, because there's much more diverse style.
Speaking of diversifying, there's a little event called the Olympics coming up. How does that impact your winter?
There's more pressure for sure. And I'm traveling with the team a lot more because there are so many comps in December and January. It's more serious, but my coach JF Cusson is cool, and I have two friends from Quebec on the team, Alex Bellemare and JF Houle.
Do you ever feel competitive with those guys, even though they're your friends?
I don't feel tension. I think everyone wishes the best for each other, but we are going to be battling for spots soon and maybe that'll change.
Do you have time for anything other than skiing?
I'm taking two classes at Athabasca University. I'm taking it one step at a time. I don't want to have too much on my shoulders, but I feel like I have to be open to the opportunity. It's good that I'm still in school, because no one in the freeskiing industry stays in school. I know that this doesn't last forever -- eventually I want to try to start a business. The finance industry, that interests me a lot.
What else do you want to do with your winter?
My dream season would be going and crushing the comp scene -- I'm going to try to do some new stuff that nobody has seen; then something urban in Quebec, my hometown; then going to the backcountry, either BC or Jackson Hole. I've never skied in the backcountry before so I'm really interested in trying.
So, basically you want to do everything?
Yeah, I guess everything. I want to touch all the aspects of skiing.