Pro Chat: Annie Boulanger

Rocking Whistler

There are many amazing, stunning and trail blazing female snowboarders out there to look up to nowadays, but having started riding 15 years ago and always preferring backcountry cliffs to park kickers, for our web ed there has been only one role model and after the epic Absinthe profile on her, she couldn’t wait to ask the infamous Annie Boulanger how she does it

Interview by Anna Langer

When you are out in the backcountry, ask questions when you are scared.

Hey Annie, where are you and what are you up to right now?
I am in Whistler, waiting for more snow. The conditions are not that great right now so we are debating leaving to Revelstoke, BC, which is a seven hour drive. The snow is better, but no sun in the forecast…

How has your winter been so far?
It’s been super fun, lot’s of powder on the hill and a bit of filming here and there. Lot’s of good friends around.

We dearly missed you in Absinthe’s movie this year… Do you wanna tell us why weren’t in?
Aw thank you. I was suppose to film for the Nike movie last year, but they postponed it to this season. So I took a season off filming. I also had knee surgery the summer before so it was great to let my body heal and not have to push it for a season. I feel great now and healthy.

So you’re back filming now?
I’m filming for Nike this season, they decided to make their own movie. Should be awesome! I’m really exited to work with them. Such a good crew and riders.

We really loved your profile for the Absinthe Flipside episodes – you’re my personal hero! And almost all of your fellow male riders mention your balls and braveness – where do you get them?!?
Ha. Good question. I think I’ve always liked pushing and scaring myself. My brother always pushed me in sports and would make me do painful things all the time, so I built up a tolerance to get right back up after falling hard. I didn’t always enjoy it, but that’s how we played at home. I really enjoy to get myself out of my comfort zone and try new things, otherwise I get extremely bored. Whether it’s snowboarding, traveling to new places, trying new sports or salsa dancing. Whatever I am really bad at, I’ll try. To me that’s so interesting and my way of experiencing life.

Whatever I am really bad at, I’ll try. To me that’s so interesting and my way of experiencing life.

So you kinda have a character trait for it?
I’ve always been attracted to scary roller coaster rides, high diving boards, bungee jumping, sky diving… Anything that looks fast or fun…. I’d love to try it all! But I also enjoy the mellower stuff. Like canoeing or paddle boarding. I’m getting more and more attracted to sailing and hammocks…

Do you ever get really scared? Have there been moments in your snowboarding career that were really sketchy?
Yes all the time! Everyday we go shoot I am scared just anticipating what the day will bring and what I’ll have to jump off of. Alaska is really scary, I didn’t sleep much at night when I was there. I’m scared before hitting big jumps or blind lines. I’m also scared when I’m really into a guy so I seem to blow it most of the time. Haha.

How do you deal with your fear?
Rationalize with it and see what scares me. It really depends on the situation. At times I just take my time. At times I have to just got for it and not think too much about it or you’ll talk yourself out of stuff you can do.
Sometimes fear is a savior. So you have to pay attention to it and know when to back down. Wait for another better opportunity. They always come.

Do you think managing fear is something girls need to learn if they wanna follow the boys into the backcountry?
Yes. And mostly learning what you can do as a girl compared to the guys. That’s hard, when a guy you trust tells you you can ride a line or hit a jump, but they don’t know what it’s like for us. So learning to make your own calls and backing down when the pressure is on you is vital as well.

Having spent so much time with guys in the mountains you can surely tell us: do they get scared?
Yes they get really sacred for sure! Everybody is different with how they deal with it. Guys definitely talk about it way less then girls. Society teaches them to be men and not show their feelings. But you have to be scared out there or you die. Just being on those slopes is dangerous and you need to learn slow and educate yourself. Plain and simple.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to ask for help. In all kinds of different forms.

What was the most impressive/memorable thing you achieved by getting over your fear?
Wow this is a hard question. So many moments, like hiking a steep line and trusting the snow pack. Then getting to ride lines I never thought I could. Or hitting jumps with Romain [De Marchi] that I never expected I could handle or land.
As a bigger picture it would be following my dreams. Letting go of everybody’s opinion that says you can’t do it and trusting your guts. It’s gotten me to where I am now. Riding and working with such amazing people and riders. Traveling all over the world and expanding my mind.

Anything else you’d like to get off your chest?
These were good questions… I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to ask for help. In all kinds of different forms. When you are out in the backcountry, ask questions when you are scared. If you are injured go see a specialist. If you have emotional issues go see a psychologist. It’s all available for us to learn faster.

Annie rides for Nike, Salomon, Anon, Dakine (check out her new pro model series for next season here), Whistler/Blackcomb and Empire.

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