Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Snowboarding [Print without images]

Friday, October 12, 2012
Look Who's Calling Matt Belzile


Some men are destined to find their way into the mountains. It's in their very soul. They find freedom there, seeing beauty and opportunity everywhere.

Matt Belzile
Not what you'd expect from a guy from the flatlands of Calgary, is it?

In our new era of snowboarding many have opted to stay home and put board to rail. Matt Belzile is from the flat lands of central Canada and could have ended up in the streets, but as he grew older and more proficient on his snowboard his quest for powder consumed him until he was driven west to the bountiful mountains of British Columbia.

Since landing in B.C. Belzile has stacked up quite the video-part resume, from Variety Pack to Standard Films. This year he joins the backcountry-focused Videograss "Enlighten" crew and his future looks to be on fire.

How are you Matt?
Not too shabby.

What are you doing?
Right now I'm just hanging out in Whistler, trying to enjoy some off-season time.

Let's just cut to the chase. Do you like U.S. or Canadian women better?
(Laughs) Well I haven't had too much experience with girls form the U.S., so I'm going to have to say Canadian girls. I was not expecting that kind of question.

Well I'm glad I could throw you a journalistic curve ball. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in Quebec, just outside of Ottawa. I rode at small local hills and started competing and then before you knew it I was headed out west to Whistler.

Were you filming before you moved west?
No, the local scene was mostly competition because rails hadn't really become popular yet. I went to Whistler one summer to ride the glacier to sort of get a leg up on everyone back home and just never really left.

I was drawn to the mountains and they seemed so new and full of possibility, so I'm really happy that I moved west and have gotten to experience the backcountry.

How did you make the transition from competition to backcountry?
The first year I moved to Whistler I mostly rode park, because going into the backcountry scared me a little bit. Then I started checking stuff out and building jumps and it was really hard at first, not just landing tricks in deep snow, but having the confidence to know what you're doing back there. It took a lot of time to feel comfortable.

You're in a Videograss movie this year. How did that happen?
Well, Hayden Wrench is the main filmer for his side of the VG project and when I filmed for Variety Pack, Hayden was the Canadian filmer. He pretty much brought me in with the help of K2 and Quiksilver.

Matt Belzile
He can get his jib on, too. He just usually chooses not to.

You're in the "Enlighten" video. The other VG movie is called "The Darkside." Are you guys more spiritually fit then those other dudes?
(Laughs) Those other guys are a little more badass and our video is a little bit more of the epic backcountry stuff. The other guys are in the streets in urban settings shotgunning beers and stuff.

Do you think you would have gotten faster recognition in the U.S. if you would have dressed up like a clown and filmed yourself doing stupid stuff?
(Laughs) Yeah, maybe. It would give everyone something to talk about. Everyone respects Sean Johnson so that would probably work out.

In conclusion, if slopestyle makes it to the Olympics are you going to try to represent Canada?
It's definitely crossed my mind, but I'm just really content with filming and that side of the sport. I don't know if I still have that competitive edge in me, and I always thought snowboarding in the Olympics was a little weird anyway. So I don't know, we will have to wait and see.