JP Auclair does Kenya and is too freakin cool for school

Posted By: Steve Bellamy on October 5, 2009 9:45 am

When Obama just had his coolest people in the whole world contest, his first choice of the 10 nominations was JP Auclair.  Maybe it was alphabetical order – lets see Ghandi, Rafael Nadal, Bruce Springsteen, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong…  Nope  that’s not alphabetical order – JP must have been first.  He is  one of the pioneers of  the newschoolers.  He is the one who rag dolled 17 times in a Warren Miller movie and then got up and waved.  He is one of the most revered and respected cats in the game.  He is one of the owners/founders of Armada Skis.  He directs and edits with the great Poor Boyz Productions, and he is a charitable Saint.

We caught up with him today while he and father Gean were in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on a wind-surfing and surf trip.

Ski Channel – So JP, could you give us and up to date on you charity Alpine Initiatives?

JP – We just got back a few months ago from Meru, Kenya where we built a kitchen for an orphin shelter.  It was an incredible experience and was probably more beneficial for me than it was for the kids.  Their community was ravaged by aides and that is why there are so many orphins.  We went there for a physical project to build a kitchen.  What we built was a community of relationships and bonds with the local laborers and kids that were priceless and completely unexpected. 

Ski Channel – So this was your second trip to Kenya?

JP – Yes.  This time we raised about $30,000 and built an entire kitchen.  But again the relationships, comradery and unity were as valuable as the kitchen.  I like to think that we left more than a kitchen there.

Ski Channel – Will you go back?

JP – Oh yea, for sure.  The people will keep us coming back for years and years.  They have so little yet are so content.  They are really special and it is our honor to go there and help them enhance their facilities.

Ski Channel – Obviously Kenya is a 3rd world country and you hear terrible stories.  Is it ever scary?

JP – I’m not going to lie, there are certainly times when you are out of your comfort zone there.  It is 3rd world.  On one hand, there are the nicest people on the planet and the other hand there are people who are bound by very few rules.  It is a little like skiing a big spine in AK.  It can be very scary, but then completely worth it when you are done.

Ski Channel – For more info go to

Ski Channel – Can you tell us a little bit about the new Armada line?

JP – It has been amazing to see the company grow from year to year.  It has been 7 years now.  We started out with two models and now we have every segment covered.

Ski Channel – Anything that you haven’t expected?

JP – I think the one thing I underestimated was the value of the new, younger riders.  All of our products are designed by the riders.  We are a completely rider driven brand.  This year a lot of the designs by the younger riders didn’t make as much sense to me.  That is until I got them on the hill.  It was then I realized their genius.  Fresh ideas come from fresh perspectives and our young riders really have it.

Ski Channel – Could you tell us a little about your skiing future?

JP – I am going to continue to focus on big mountain skiing.  That is where my heart is.  I love standing on top of the world and looking straight down.  There is nothing like that.

Ski Channel – Now isn’t that terrifying?

JP – The whole point of big mountain skiing for me is to tackle the scary stuff.  But if you have tremendous respect for the mountain as I do, there is a feeling of one with the mountain.  You take care of them and they take care of you.

Ski Channel – Great.  Last question, what are you doing in North Carolina?

JP – My Dad, Gean had a trip booked to Cape Hatteras and I decided to tag along.  We are surfing and wind surfing.

Ski Channel – North Carolina?  How big is the surf?

JP – Well today, it is double over anke, but yesterday we had 2 feet and tomorrow we are supposed to have 4 to 6 feet so we are crossing our fingers.

Ski Channel – Do you spend a lot of time with your Dad?

JP – My Dad taught me how to ski at age 5 and we have been skiing together ever since.  We also surf and wind surf when we can.  I travel so much now it is hard to find time.  We lived by the Lawrence River in Quebec growing up and wind surfed all the time there.


Well there you have it…an update from the legend.  Go checkout the Alpine Initiatives website at: