Louif Paradis' winter took him across the globe, and one of those places was the frozen tundra of Kamchatka, Russia while filming for his signature project with Hayden Rensch. Louif says, "The two places I really wanted to go were Japan and Russia. I talked to DCP a long time ago about Russia and then in December I talked to Travis Rice and he told me about this town that he had gone to that was on a hill and there was so much line potential. He made it sound like there was some good street stuff there. I asked him a bunch of questions to make sure and after the conversation I was kind of like, 'Alright, we're for sure going.'"
He continues, "I hit up Mark Wilson, Tommy Gesme and Artem Smolin way in advance and was like, 'Hey guys do you want to come?' and they were down."
Tommy Gesme chimes in on what it was like to session with Louif, stating, "It was an awesome experience. I've ridden with him before, but only at resorts, never on a film trip. He's one of the hardest working snowboarders I've ever seen, and it definitely shows in his video parts. Multiple spots a day, always shoveling, and he stays motivated through the ups and downs. He's a real inspiration."
Mark Wilson was on the trip, too and he had a fresh, young perspective, seen through the eyes of a kid on the come-up, hungry for the opportunity to film for a new project. "When we showed up it was super crusty with minimal snow, like it had just rained. We just scoped for the first two days to get a good feel of the area and to find spots and then the snow that was in the forecast came with perfect timing. Overnight, we had two-plus feet of snow, which made pretty much anything possible. The area was super hilly so there were tons of features, and good speed for everything."
Artem Smolin acted as the guide to what became one of the most productive trips of the entire film, and Louif explains what went into the idea of having Artem tag along. "I've been trying to link up with Artem for a few years now. I've been talking to him on Facebook, and I've been attracted to Russia for years but I was never able to go and Artem was always my guy because I watched his video parts and I've always been a fan. I really like his style. He was in the Postland stuff and the adidas Trans Siberia edit and everyone at adidas told me he was cool. I just wanted to link up with him. He was just as much a rider as a guide and it was cool because he could speak the language fluently. I really wanted him to get just as much footage as us but he got kinda hurt which was unfortunate, but in the first couple days he was able to get some footage that's going in the video. I think everyone on the trip was younger than me, which I like. I like being surrounded by younger people that have a different motivation than established riders. Younger riders just have a certain drive and that's cool. I had gone on a trip with Tommy before in Japan and he and I got along really well but we hadn't ridden much together. I was just impressed with him and I was stoked on how hard working he was and how on it he was. And Mark, I had a really good experience riding with him the year before in Quebec. I've always been a big fan of his street riding and I thought it would be really cool to see him ride lines in Russia."
"Riding with Louif is always a cool experience. It seems like he always knows what he wants to do, and he makes sure it's done well. On top of being one of the most naturally talented snowboarders, he has maybe the strongest work ethic I have encountered in snowboarding." – Mark Wilson
"I feel like we saw non-stop crazy stuff. I showed up a day later than everyone else and within the first few hours of meeting up we saw a fender bender, a dead stray dog in the road, and a young kid light a building on fire. It kicked in pretty quickly that we were in a wild zone." – Mark Wilson
"It was really impressive to see Hayden and Louif filming lines. Sometimes it would seem like they nailed it in my eyes, but they would continue to do it until the filming and riding met up perfectly." – Mark Wilson
"I went to the town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia with Louif. Most time spent on an airplane in my life. Three-hour flight to JFK, then two 10 hour flights back to back." – Tommy Gesme
"One day Lou was hitting this kink rail, and it happened to be a Russian holiday. We ran into many drunks on that day, but one dude hung around. At first he was cool, then he became a big inconvenience. Blocking the lip, standing in the stairs, being a pain in the ass. So Mark and I lured him away from the spot and followed him around for a bit so Lou could keep hitting the rail. I tried to help this dude but he was a mess. He started falling all over the place, rolling in puddles and dirt, falling into a dumpster, rolled in dog shit, he was a mess. Mark happened to be filming him most of time so he made an Instagram video documenting our one-hour hang with this drunk dude. The video ended up going viral. Not only on Mark's account but the vid also went on @drunkpeopledoingthings, haha. For the rest of our trip, every time we'd go out for dinner, a bunch of kids would be looking at us funny and come up and ask, 'Mark Wilson?'" – Tommy Gesme
"It was my first time working with 16mm, and I was so hyped on it. I did not expect the camera to be as heavy as it was. Also, how it ran off a big ass DeWalt battery pack, haha. Hayden nearly burned down our place trying to charge that battery. He plugged it in to the converter to charge it, and the converter blew up, started smoking and all. After a few converters later we got it figured out." – Tommy Gesme