National Slopestyle Coach JF Cusson Pens Beautiful Memoir for Freeski Legend JP Auclair
I’ll always remember the first time I saw JP: it was on the aerial site at Le Relais, just outside of Quebec City. I was with Vincent Dorion and we were about to jump when we noticed some guy hiking all the way to the top of the in-run. We figured he was a snowboarder because he was wearing purple and black O’Neill Cargo Pants and a beige and black checkered shirt. No helmet. No goggles. I remember feeling pretty dorky because we were on a regional mogul team and we had to dress in really ugly jackets with tight white moguls pants. But still, we were cocky little sh*ts and we figured this guy was a total poser. So we sat back and waited. We couldn’t wait to laugh at the impending yard sale….but it didn’t happened. Instead, he drops in, does a massive daffy-twister-spread-twister-spread all the way to the end of the landing and stomps it! In 1994, that trick was badass! Vini and I looked at each other and were like, “WHAT? Who the hell is that?! He is the real deal! That was the first time I saw JP and the first time he impressed me. After that, every time he would put is skis on, I was impressed.
Vincent and I had been skiing together for 5 years, pushing each other and dominating the Quebec moguls circuit. The next year, JP joined us on the Québec provincial team. He got very good, very fast and became the third wheel. We were completely different from all the other moguls skiers, but snow park didn’t exist back then, so moguls was the only option we had. The three of us were a perfect equation of talent, creativity and competitiveness and the reason why we grew skiing to another level!
In 1997, JP and I showed up in Colorado for a Noram moguls contest. Mike Douglas was our coach back then. He heard about the US Open Slopestyle event in the same area and he got us in. We were pretty intimidated at the time cause we saw Seth Morrison, Brad Holmes and Kent Kreitler for the first time. These guys were the stars in every ski magazine back then and we didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t take much time to figure out that we were better then everybody else, and we cleaned up slopestyle and big air podiums the next day. I guess it all started from there; history was in the making…
Snow parks, down rails and traditional jumps bored JP almost immediately, he had a lot more to offer. He was three years ahead of everyone else in the sport in terms of pushing the boundaries of creativity. We would always wonder “what the hell he is going to do next? How can he possibly figure out new stuff to do?” But he did. He never disappointed. I was always amazed at his ability to continually push every limit.
JP was the full package. Nobody worked harder than him. He was the ultimate man, a great leader, an incredible athlete, but he was also kind and passionate. As an artist, he was a visionary. But, most of all, JP was a beautiful human-being and a pure soul. I feel very lucky to have shared all those years with him…
Alpine Initiatives has set up a fund to honour the memory and enduring legacy of JP Auclair. The Auclair Fund will support JP’s young son Leo and his wife Ingrid during these difficult times.
Alpine Initiatives is an organization that provides inspiration and funding for the betterment of mountain communities. To donate or receive more information on the Auclair Fund, click here.