In the absence of the Mark McMorris and Maxence Parrot, the spotlight will be on the new international stars of the city of Quebec at the Big Air World Cups that take place until Saturday at the Fleurie Island. The skateboarder Laurie Blouin, who won gold at the Big Air at the last Xgames and money at the PyeongChang Olympics, and skier Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, bronze medalist at PyeongChang, who made a historic treble at the XGames with a podium at Big Air, slopestyle and urban skiing, will lead the charge this year.
“We knew Maxence could not be here as a competitor this year because of treatments for his illness [he is treating Hodgkins lymphoma], but he had to be here as a facilitator. Unfortunately, he had a planned activity with one of his sponsors this weekend. It’s the same for McMorris. These athletes need to be represented around the world, “said Chantal Lachance, vice president of marketing and operations at Promoter Gestev, at a press conference on Wednesday.
For her, however, having two local athletes like Blouin and Beaulieu-Marchand at the end of exceptional seasons compensates for these absences. “We are talking about the best athletes from the Quebec City region who have distinguished themselves internationally. In fact, Laurie and Alex, we can say they grew up with us since we have been organizing competitions for 28 years, “she continues. Moreover, Chantal Lachance recalled that Laurie Blouin was somehow one of the pioneers of women’s Big Air.
“In 2015, the International Ski Federation [FIS] wanted to bring this discipline to the Olympics and had to open competitions to women. So they offered to open our Big Air competition to women by invitation and that’s what we did. Laurie was one of the first women to participate in the Big Air events, “she says.
Up to gold
We can say that it has fallen a lot of snow since that time since Blouin is now the reigning gold medalist of Big Air at XGames. “Usually, it’s better in slopestyle than Big Air, but this year it was the opposite. I do not know why, I did not train differently, “she said in a press briefing.
At her first XGames, the 22-year-old knew she had a chance to make a podium. “I was not putting pressure on myself, but I was really happy to bring back a medal, especially gold. It’s big! “She continues, adding that she has not started thinking about the next Olympic cycle. “In snowboarding, we have our” tours “and our world championships and we usually start thinking about the Olympics two years before the Games.”
For the athlete of Stoneham, nothing better than to finish his season in Quebec, in front of his family and his friends. “It’s really nice that they have the chance to see me live because normally they have to follow me via the Internet. In addition, here we may not have the biggest jump, but it’s really one of the most beautiful jumps on scaffolding. My goal is to land my jumps. If I reach the final, I have my plan too. ”
For Beaulieu-Marchand, who has never reached the Big Air final in Quebec, the challenge is a little bigger. “I always prepare myself the same way. What’s different is that there are more cameras and journalists around me here. But I have no higher expectations than for other competitions, “says the one who admits to having had the best season of his career.
“Yes, I think I make the best ski of my life. Finally, my body is in shape and I have no injury. I’m also in the right place mentally, “he continues. Although he admits to being more comfortable in slopestyle, the one who is nicknamed ABM adds that his daring at Big Air probably brought him big this year.
“I tried a lot of maneuvers I had ever done at the Big Air, including new grabs and I think it paid off. I am always more comfortable in slopestyle because there are a lot of modules while the Big Air is just a jump, “he concludes.