Sponsors: Burton, Pop Headwear, PRFO Boardshop, Electric Visual, Bern, MyPackage & Nixon
You are known for your Jedi rail tricks / steez but also ride a lot of powder, that’s a pretty unorthodox mixture, how did that happen?
I guess I only rode rails for the longest time, filming urban stuff with Brothers Factory and before that Sequence Films… Then in the past few years I have been trying to get into more powder trips to switch it up; this year was definitely awesome for that… Powder for me is the essence of snowboarding; I hope I only get to ride more and more of it !!!
You are Canadian from Montreal but are studying in the small town of Kufstein, Austria. How did that come about and have you checked out the surrounding hills? If so how do they differ from back home?
I’m in my 4th year of University wrapping up my business degree and was sick of Montreal. This was the last year where I could study abroad, so I hammered down & got the GPA for it, applied then looked at where to go… I had 3 criteria: Not a big city (not a city guy), easy to travel from, and close to major resorts.
I’ve been here 1 month now, and I swear I’ve been on snow 28 days haha. I’ve met the best people and took part in two awesome contests (Leysin Champs in Switzerland and Street Vs. Snow in Kaunertal)… All the parks are so proper; jumps are perfect, not too crowded, conditions consistent… Austria is the Scheisse !!! (aka the SHIT)
You have been a Burton Knowbuddy for a while, what exactly is a Knowbuddy?
The Knowbuddy team is basically an Am army of the raddest people in the US & Canadian snowboard scenes. It started as a way to support local dudes who rip hard, give back to their local scenes and are passionate about snowboarding. Each Knowbuddy has been killing it recently, shits kinda blowing up; it seems like the boards are popping up everywhere. Hats off to the Kings of Vermont Zach Nigro & Frankie for backing us. Proud to be on with the homies and thankful for what Burton has done for us.
You seem to be quite a forgetful person and lose a lot of your possessions. What’s the most expensive item you have lost?
HAHAH. I was burnt out when we met, but I’m normally better trust me. Being on the road all the time and dealing with school stuff at the same time, shit occasionally slips my mind and gets left behind haha. Past month has been insane; I lost a few chargers, hats, and one jacket…. I don’t own many super expensive things apart from my snowboard stuff / laptop, but I lost my hard drive recently (no idea how) which sucked. But things are just things. Not too worried about it.
Would you rather win a rail contest or ride the sickest pow all day?
Depends on the size of the prize I guess Hahah. Under 400$, definitely ride epic pow all day.
Would you drop everything and turn pro if Burton said you had to quit school tomorrow for it to happen?
Haha, I graduate in July so I probably wouldn’t have to drop school. I don’t know man. I guess I would yeah. But its not like I’d wanna be on the TTR / X Games tour, that’s not my shit. I’d just wanna keep doing my thing, traveling, filming with new people, and endlessly discovering snowboarding !!
Which other riders do you look up to?
These days, being in the big mountains… Anyone who charges down steep, deep gnarly lines. Nicolas Müller is definitely a style icon in big mountain settings. I had 2 epic powder days with Henry Jackson himself this week, and that was fucked; he literally straight lines down and off of anything. Such a solid snowboarder.
In the streets, I’ve been super stoked on what the Brothers Factory dudes have been doing. Frank Bourgeois is the most progressive urban rider in the world right now I think – so much steez, he’s on fire. And he doesn’t even have a legit board sponsor… Definitely inspiring to film with.
How do you think the riders in Europe compare to Canada?
I think Europeans are spoiled compared to Canadian riders, for sure. So many good parks and cities nearby to film in, and it just seems like there’s so much money here; resorts and events are just so fkn ballin’ !!! Hahah.
Euros definitely shred hard and kill it in the backcountry / park jumps, but I think East Coast Canadians have an edge in the rail/urban side of things.
How come you don’t have a funny French Canadian accent?
Both my parents are bilingual; my mother is originally French and father English… I’ve always studied in English and grew up with some rad Anglo Canadians, so English comes naturally. I don’t have an English accent when I speak French both actually haha, cause my mother is French and I have a bunch of French homies, too. Trippy.
You did an internship at Burton, could you see yourself joining the industry after you finish riding?
That’s definitely the plan! I think it’s a natural transition to give back to the industry that made me who I am today.
What are your goals for your snowboarding future?
Ride as many different places and contests as possible, ride more pow, then take what I’ve learned and somehow turn it into a living when my knees give out (knock on wood.)
Follow Zach on his Instagram here.