Remembering JP Auclair 

Quebec-born skier and Whistler regular leaves lasting legacy

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVE MOSSOP / SHERPAS CINEMA - creative genius JP Auclair during shooting for Sherpas Cinema's award-winning film All.I.Can.
  • photo by dave mossop / sherpas cinema
  • creative genius JP Auclair during shooting for Sherpas Cinema's award-winning film All.I.Can.

There are a few key, recurring themes that just keep coming up when you talk to those who knew freestyle skier JP Auclair.

The first — and probably the one that most people associate with Auclair — is his ability to innovate.

"JP was one of the guys that changed the sport — that sort of kept it relevant to anyone under 25 years old," said Mike Douglas, longtime friend of Auclair.

Douglas met Auclair in the mid 90s, and alongside a handful of other innovators the two went on to fundamentally change the sport as the "New Canadian Air Force."

"He kind of brought style and progression and new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things," Douglas said.

"I think if you look at almost everything JP's done in his life, you can see those elements of creativity and progression and that's one of the things that made him amazing."

On September 29, Auclair and fellow skier Andreas Fransson were killed in an avalanche on San Lorenzo Mountain in Patagonia, South America.

"I learned a lot from that guy during my life, and from Andreas, who died alongside him," Douglas said.

"They were both very close to me. It's a tragedy."

While Auclair was born in Quebec, like many skiers, Whistler became a second home.

"They would be up here every summer for summer camp and then spend a lot of time in the winters filming with one company or the other," said Feet Banks, another friend of Auclair's.

"Everyone that ever met that guy, whether it was for five minutes or 15 years, was touched in a positive way," Banks said.

"He was never too big for anyone, he was always there... he was just really engaged with people, and I think that sort of humility and grace and creativity and wisdom will just carry on."

Humility and creativity are two more recurring themes that everyone associates with Auclair.

The latter was on full display in the award-winning 2011 film All.I.Can., in which one segment features Auclair skiing the streets of Trail, B.C.

"When we arrived in Trail we didn't have a specific plan. We had just dubbed the segment the 'creative seggy,' and we were going to let those words direct our actions, so it was just a truly organic creation that came right out of, I think, JP's childhood memories of looking out the window of a car, imagining a skier bumping along the features on the side of the road," said Dave Mossop of Sherpas Cinema, one of the directors who worked with Auclair on All.I.Can.

It's a little-known fact that Auclair himself did the edit on that segment, Mossop said.

"He's a phenomenally great athlete, but he's phenomenally great at everything he does, especially art and filmmaking."

Auclair also went out of his way to give back, whether it be through his role as co-founder of Alpine Initiatives — an organization dedicated to the betterment of mountain communities — or doing relief work in Africa.

"I think JP was one of those guys that didn't really settle for the way things were, or are," Douglas said.

"I think that's his legacy — don't settle."



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