After a long stint in Russia, Louif Paradis headed to Hokkaido, Japan with Salomon teammate Harrison Gordon, longtime friend and second angle filmer/professional shovel buddy Ben Bilocq and Norwegian all-around ripper Alek Oestreng. The snow was deep and the trip was insanely productive. “Hokkaido was the one place where I knew I wanted to go,” says Louif. “I was like, ‘I’m going there and going there for a long time and I want to bring people with me.’ I just wanted to look for more of those things that I knew existed but have not found yet, like big dams and big structures, man-made structures in powder. That was mainly what I was looking for.” Check out Louif’s trip to Quebec through photos here!
Alek recalls riding with Louif as, “Really cool. I learned a lot and it was just sick to watch because he’s a guy I have looked up to for a long time.” Louif explains why he chose Alek for the Japan trip, as well. “I’d never ridden with him before, but I was super impressed by his style and I was trying to think of someone to bring to Japan, and I knew he would fit because he rides street but he also rides park and pow really well. Plus, he hadn’t ridden Japan before, so I just thought that he would be the best kind of person to bring to go there and ride the stuff I wanted to ride.”
Harrison Gordon has spent more time riding with Lou than most, and he describes Louif truthfully as, “a pleasure to be around on and off the board. People who don’t know him might be surprised to know that he has a great sense of humor. He often lets his riding do the talking and since his riding is so heavy it can overshadow his personality. I don’t know if it makes sense but I’ve always felt safe in his presence as well. He’s not just looking out for number one, which is a quality that most big time pros lack.”
Ben Bilocq has known Louif since their formative years as two of Quebec’s most promising young riders, and Lou wanted Ben to be a part of the project not just as a rider, but also as a supporting cast member behind-the-scenes. Ben soft-spokenly says, “A couple years ago I told Louif that if he was to ever make his own project, I’d like to help out like I have been doing with Jess Kimura for the last few years. So I guess he found some strings to pull to have me around all season. Officially speaking, I was filming ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage but I think I ended up being more useful with my shovel than anything.” Ben’s shovel was put to the test for the month that the crew was in Japan, as what they went searching for on the north island, they certainly found, and the footage from Japan is remarkable to say the least, as you’ll certainly see during your first viewing of Beacon.
“Everything the boys did in Japan was amazing. It was really inspiring to watch Louif and Ben. They killed it. But if I had to pick one thing it would be that tunnel/rail thing that Louif did.”- Alek Oestreng
“Louif got a pretty bad concussion only a few days into our trip to Japan. He kept repeating the same things over and over again. We went to the hospital 5 hours later because it wasn’t getting much better, and that really sucked. He took 10 days off of his board but would still hike out with us to hang out and help.” – Ben Bilocq
“I was in Japan filming with Keegan [Valaika] and Scott [Blum] for Brown Cinema stuff and I knew Louif was there too so we met up and I ended up hanging with them for a bit… We were sneaking around gigantic Japanese dams at midnight with headlamps on trying to see what the snow was like. Our crew was small so we could do things like that and I think that’s what we all prefer in a place like Japan. Kind of a secret agents of snowboarding vibe… The craziest thing I saw in Japan was probably the pillow line to cement wall at the dam. First we got kicked out, then we scoped it at night and then we went back, snuck in, and he did it first try. Very professional like.” -Harrison Gordon