“Without wide boards, us big-footed people would still be segregated and considered second class snowboarders. There may have never been a Marc Frank Montoya, Scotty Lago or Mikkel Bang.” – Chris Engelsman
Evolutionary once again, K2 snowboarding opened up a side of the industry that has become a standard today. As the poster child for the Fat Bob I felt it was crucial to get Chris Engelsman’s thoughts on what the Fat Bob meant for snowboarding. Here’s what he had to say.
“Before the Fat Bob, you could only chose a board by it’s length to match with your height. Once the Fat Bob came out people could choose boards based on their foot size which is important because we’re standing sideways… not straight like skiers. It’s ironic that a ski company would be the first to come out with the variable width story…”
“I was no longer inadvertently falling due to booting out on my toes and heels. I could finally shred like the rest of my friends with small feet, and power turns like Jean Nerva and Peter Bower.”
It seems like Ottawa-born shredder Matt Belzile graduated from grom to veteran in the blink of an eye. Wasn’t it just yesterday when his first am interviews appeared? Reality check: It was in fact five years ago when he moved to Whistler and got hooked up by Westbeach (who he still rides for and also works for). One year later he added K2 to his sponsor list, and began filming with Alterna Films under the mentorship of then teammate and current boss Jon Cartwright.
While Belzile began, he no doubt looked up to top Canadian dogs like Cartwright, but he can now count himself among them. He splits his time between contests and a full-time filming schedule with ease (witness his totally bananas backside 1260s at this year’s Shakedown), and somehow manages to be a contributing member of the Westbeach staff; not just a team rider who breezes in and out of product meetings and photo shoots. He’s also stepped up to the top video ranks, earning a spot on the Standard Films rider roster this season.
“I’ve been trying to get into American videos for a while,” he explains. “Last season I filmed for Variety Pack’s Not Bad, based out of Utah. I had a decent part in it and my American K2 team manager worked some magic and got me on Standard. I was pretty hyped on that!”
The best part about Belzile is that he’ll be the last person to tell you these things. Low-key and cool to a fault, he typically seems content to allow his accomplishments (and his avid supporters) speak on his behalf. I ran into him a few times this season, and even did a run or two with him: in the Blackcomb beginner park with Jesse Fox and Robjn Taylor. The fact that he was as stoked to hit some tiny jibs with friends as he was to take down the mighty Shakedown jump says it all.
Click here to read the entire interview: http://www.push.ca/blogs/matthsn/archive/2010/05/07/matt-belzile-s-no-rookie.aspx