Spirit of Snowboarding: Annie Boulanger
Though a successful contest rider early in her career, a succession of injuries and disillusions made French Canadian Annie Boulanger second-guess her purpose in snowboarding. With a personal definition of riding that transcended the margins of machine made jumps and confined formats, it was these apparent setbacks which proved a catalyst for Boulanger.
Ultimately, she imposed a challenge on herself – learn to ride the backcountry. Her dedication to learning the craft of her mentors, Martin Gallant and JF Pelchat, and a couple of years of “putting her time in”, eventually led to working with the legendary Absinthe Films – a first for a female snowboarder. In view of that, her tireless resolve has proven victorious everywhere from classic B.C. pillow lines, and meaty Whistler cliffs to snowboarding’s biggest venue, Alaska.
With her undying passion for soul shredding matched with a fearless demeanor, Annie continues to charge where few dare, proving to be one of the greatest influences in the history of women’s snowboarding.
She has opened the eyes for girls in snowboarding. I am really proud of her for pushing it to the next level. Whereas before, there was this big gap, her influence is allowing some of the girls to nip at the guy’s heels. Annie charges!
– Devun Walsh
“When I started riding backcountry I fell in love with snowboarding all over again. But I did feel like a beginner again too! It was like having to relearn everything. All I saw was rocks and snow, I didn’t see lines or landings or anything. For an entire year or two I just watched and learned. I saw that it was even more impressive than I realized, but I also saw that it was the definition of snowboarding for me –the creativity and the friendships and being free to play in nature.
“To me it’s easy – it’s all about just following your heart and simply doing what you love. Don’t listen to anyone who doubts your passion. What do they know about anything? Why should their limits apply to you? I’ve been hearing that forever, but I knew what I wanted and what my heart told me I could do. If you are able to do what you love and not follow societies rules, that’s success in my book.” – Annie Boulanger