Be sure you’ve already read Part 1, so you are not totally lost.
As our giant conversion van pulled onto Canadian soil, I started to get a little bit excited. My first trip as a real photographer—I hoped I wouldn’t blow it. We picked up Kalle Ohlson at the airport and then headed to our first hotel. At the desk, Josh asked how much it was, and then said, “We’ll take three rooms. I’ll split the first with Nova.” I was confused, but bit my tongue. The older Justin spoke up and said we’d probably only need two because they were on a budget, and then asked me to pay for a third of my room for the next two nights. Interesting, because “lodging was paid for,” but I was already there. $77.92 after the Canadian exchange rate.
The town we were in was called Trois-Rivières. It smelled like a paper mill and was blanketed in about six feet of snow. The next day we would meet Max Baillargeon, who was nice enough to take us to a few spots. Of course, I didn’t learn Max’s full name until after the trip, since Josh never bothered to learn how to pronounce it.
The first spot we hit was called “The Perfect Rail.” After three hours of digging, we uncovered a low down-rail that looked like it could easily have been in any snowboard park. I figured it was a warm-up rail, and/or some seriously tech stuff could go down, which made sense for the first spot on the trip. As I tried to figure out a way to make it look decent in photos, including attempting to dig myself a hole at the bottom of the rail so I could shoot up at it with a fisheye, Josh just shook his head at me and said, “Brooke, I’ve never seen a photographer shoot from there.” Yeah, photographers never shoot from the bottom of rails… But I hoped he was just concerned for my safety, and tried to ignore it.
A few hours later, it had already become very clear that the only one in this crew that could really hit rails was Nova. Unfortunately, he also fell super-hard on his shoulder, and didn’t think he’d be able to ride for the next few days. After a while attempting to make turds look like diamonds, I went to sit in the car. Josh, who’d already landed some hideous spinny trick, was already there. I finally asked what, exactly, they were filming for. I mean, it certainly wasn’t Mack Dawg. I’ll admit, my phrasing probably wasn’t the most gentle, but Josh’s response was basically, “Why do you think we have a 16mm and an HD filmer here?”
After The Perfect Rail, we went to check out a double kink. More digging. (I should note that it never occurred to me to bring a shovel, so I couldn’t really help—and I got a lot of dirty looks for it.) Josh got mad at me for asking if I should try and build a kicker at the top of the rail, saying, “OBVIOUSLY.” I’ll spare the gory details, but the only ones who ended up hitting this thing were Max and the injured Nova. No real tricks went down, and Josh and Kalle claimed they wanted to come back tomorrow.
Tomorrow came, and we went back. The rail was too frozen, or something, so no one hit it. No one hit the triple kink we went to next, and the last rail was too buried. We decided to just head to Québec City, where plenty of spots were fabled to exist. We drove around the historic city for hours. We saw a few spots (most of which had been hit in various videos over the year) and marked them in the GPS. The snowboards never came out, though. Eventually it started to get dark, and it was time to give up pretending we were going to snowboard. I suggested we book a hotel room; maybe even a suite, so we could all split it. I was shut down by Josh, who said, “We’re staying at the Ozone. It’s where everyone stays.”
Of course, finding the Ozone was the first challenge. We had a GPS, but Tom-Tom didn’t seem to know where the Ozone was (Not a good sign, right?). So, being the only one with a Canada plan on my phone, I called information and got the address. Unfortunately, the free text message with the info didn’t come through, so I had to try and remember the exact address. After the boys were sufficiently pissed that I failed them by trying to help, we finally arrived.
Sure enough, two other film crews were also staying at the hotel: Runway and TransWorld. I must say I was excited about the prospect of seeing other people I knew on this trip, because at this point I was trying to plan my escape. I never really intended to end up this deep in Canada, and the plan had always been that one of the crew would drive me back to Burlington in time to catch my flight. But now we were five hours away, and Josh suggested there were probably buses. But, I thought, maybe having other riders around might make the trip a bit more bearable.
I dragged my bag through the biting cold to the warm lobby of the hotel. There, it had already been decided that I would room with Justin and Nova (it turned out he snored, so Josh didn’t want to share a room with him, but he pretended he was trying to split his time evenly…or something.) At this point I was over it, so as they told us we had to pay in advance, I told the guys I would probably only be there one night, even though they would be there for three. They looked at me, then at the girl behind the counter, and just said, “Yeah, can we split it in three?” So, another $100 worth of “free” lodging, most of it for days I wouldn’t even be there.
That night I went to hang out with Leanne Pelosi and Raewyn Reid. They showed me their pictures from that day—the day we’d driven around and done nothing because the weather wasn’t perfect. They had tons of pictures using the amazing scenery—tail blocks in front of horse-drawn buggies, etc. Nothing super epic, but man, it looked like they were having fun. After a little venting, I headed back up to the room, where I was happy to find no one was around. I did my best to sleep in the loud, drafty hotel, and tried to figure out how I was going to get home tomorrow…
TO BE CONTINUED.
Check back for Part 3, the conclusion of the trip, and my snowboard photography career, next Monday.