Photo: Sean Kerrick Sullivan
I don’t know Anto Chamberland very well, but I’ve met him a handful of times and he’s a real nice dude. I admit that the first three times I met him, I had to introduce myself to him, but I’m used to that. I usually have to meet someone three times before they remember me. I guess I don’t make a memorable first impression on people, or an impression at all. It’s something I’ve grown to live with. It’s fine. It doesn’t bother me. It’s cool. I also introduce myself as “Eric” and then people often call me “Derek.” Maybe I mumble a D at the start of my name during first introduction. Yes, people always have to meet Derek three times before they know who I am. Anyway, Anto not knowing me until our third introduction is nothing against his character. He’s very polite and carries a humble attitude, and I’m sure he meets new people every day because he’s snowboard-famous, so it’s natural to lapse on a few of the common faces. He, on the other hand, makes a solid first impression. As I said, he’s polite and doesn’t give off an ounce of cool-guy-vibes or righteous attitude like a lot of people who are snowboard-famous. There’s also something about him that seems empowered, like he’s super smart and extra handsome, like a male pop star or a fireman. And then you find out that he is, in fact, a smart fireman, and we all know that firemen love pop music. That being said, you’d have to ask him if he’s a fireman because he would never just come out and say it. One day, Anto and I will be great friends. I know this because I always know who my great friends will be before the bond is made. Call me creepy or stalker-ish, but I’m a great friend to have. I’m very loyal, I’m hilarious, I always behave like I’m rich, I’m on a lifelong run of luck where good times always seem to find me, and I love having a good time with my great friends. So, if I choose you to become one of my great friends without you yet knowing it, consider yourself lucky. And now that I have Anto’s personal phone number and can text him whenever I feel like it with hilarious jokes about all the good times we’re going to have together in the future, the bonding of a new brotherhood is now inevitable. Due to the fact that everyone knows and loves Anto upon first introduction, when we become a team of great friends in the future and are traveling around meeting all kinds of awesome people, everyone will begin to remember me upon second introduction, rather than third, and the unexplainable D for Derek will be an occurrence no longer when I have a new great friend there to make the correction. I will be known as Anto’s great friend, Eric—the hilarious good times rich guy. Yes, because of Anto, I will be in the realm of second introduction recognition and will never be known as Derek again. And that, my friends, is an example of the power and status of Anto Chamberland—the smart fireman who is snowboard-famous.
Cab 270 to Frontside Boardslide. Photo: Crispin Cannon
What’s up? Where you at?
I just got out of the water in Encinitas and I’m going to the carwash.
Good. You can’t have a dirty car in Southern California. You’ll look
I’ve been driving so much. It’s so dirty. Hang on a sec. I’m gonna tell
this guy to wash the inside and outside.
So, you’re on the pre-season Cali road trip?
Yeah. I’ve been on the road for a month. I drove from Quebec to
Vancouver and then all the way down the coast, surfing and camping
the whole way. I’ll send you a photo of my setup. I got this camper and
painted it all black, and put it on my F-150, so I’ve been camping and
living in that the whole time.
Sounds cool. Who are you with?
I was with my girlfriend. Well, I mean, I’m still with her [laughs].
Oh, that’s great news! One-on-one in the car together for a month
and still alive? You two should be good from here on out.
Yeah, it’s been awesome. It’ll be hard to leave.
What’s up with your phone and switching out SIM cards all the time?
I have this “roam about” card that’s supposed to be great for Canadians,
but it sucks, so I use Internet with that and then use another card
to call people.
What have you been doing this fall? Just murdering out your camper
and living in it on the road?
Yeah. That’s pretty much all I’ve done. I’m gonna have to start driving
home pretty soon.
Home to Montreal is a fair jaunt.
We’re going to take it slow and go through Zion Park and Salt Lake City
and all that.
Who’s your main crew in Quebec? You’re not really part of Brothers
Factory, Nowamean, or Déjà vu. Are you on your own program or do
you mix in with all the other crews and share your wealth?
I filmed with Brothers Factory for a while, and those guys are great,
but at some point I knew I had to try to be somewhere else. They’re too
much in Quebec. I work with many other crews. Last year I worked with
Jed Anderson and Jake Kuzyk, and Dylan Thompson came to Montreal.
I’ll work with anyone and just try to get shots. That’s just how it goes
down. I also met some younger kids that are pretty good and I bring
them out with me.
Are the Déjà vu guys cool? They seem to not want anyone from the
outside rubbing up on their scene.
It’s been a while since I’ve been friends with those guys. When I started
my career, I was filming with Frank April all the time and he was the last
one to turn pro. We get along together really good. I was really good
friends with all those guys and filmed a lot with Nic Sauve when I was
younger. But I’m not from the same generation and I’m not from Quebec
City, so I can’t really be in Déjà vu because it’s like a high school
friends thing and they want to keep it that way. That’s fine and we
always end up working together. When they need people in the crew,
they call me, so I feel like I work with them often.
How did you get on the Shredbots film project?
Torstein [Horgmo] asked me to be part of the movie.
Are you hyped on how it turned out?
Yeah, it’s pretty good. That’s where all my footage went this year. They
did it as montages of different places and I had too much rail shots, but
they made me a rail part. I rode with Torstein and Andreas [Wiig] in the
backcountry for a while, which was really funny.
That’s a chill crew to learn how to hit backcountry jumps with.
It was kinda weird. We would always rock-paper-scissors to see who
got to go first, and I’d always be like, “You guys can go ahead,” and they
were like, “Really?” so stoked. They’d double- and triple-cork everything
and then I’d do some 540s. It was pretty fun [laughs]. They work hard,
man. Their work ethic is insane and they’re so productive. They made
me a full edit of Tomahawk footage of myself. It was the best. I had some
Tell us about your career as a fireman. Do you do that fulltime and
snowboard on the side?
Yeah. But if you ask me where my priorities lie, it’s with snowboarding.
The reason I do firefighting is because I have a lot of free time in the
summer to do it. It’s a good thing for my future because if I ever stop
snowboarding, I’m gonna have a fulltime job already. I make sure I always
work the minimum amount of shifts so I can keep the full time position.
Is it a grind to get time off to film all winter?
I just have some good talks with the chief and explain everything that’s
happening. I’m really involved in the fire department when I’m there, so I
make it work.
Is working for a chief different than working for a boss? I wonder. And
the chief likes you?
Well, I shouldn’t say that, but I do what I need to do for the job. I don’t
know… I just try to figure it out somehow.
Ollie to 50-50. Photo: Oli Croteau
Have the fire department or DC ever given you an ultimatum to do
one or the other?
No, I make sure to do what I have to with the fire department, and for
DC, I get my full part every year and keep doing what they need me
You’re such a chief pleaser. Aren’t the odds like 5,000-to-one trying
to get a fulltime fireman job for the city of Montreal?
It’s so, so hard to get that job. I can’t quit. It’s the best job in the
world. It’s really competitive to get a firefighting job anywhere. Like,
I heard Chris Dufficy has been trying to get on with a fire department
in Vancouver for six years. It’s so hard to get in and so many people
want to do it. The writing tests are hard and the physical tests are
hard, and if you don’t make it through one test, you’re out. You can’t
Have you seen some shit on the job?
That depends what “shit” is, but yeah, I’ve seen some stuff.
Have you ever had to choose between saving a cat or a dog from a
I’ve pulled pets out of fires before, but I’ve never had to choose.
What would you choose if you had to?
I’d probably choose the dog because I think cats are lame.
Have you ever carried a fat person out of a burning building?
I haven’t had to get a person out of a fire yet.
Do you have to do pee tests for drugs and blow in a breathalyzer for
a drunk check before you start your shift?
You only have to do that when they hire you and during the first year.
After that you can do all the drugs you want.
Wow, it is the best job in the world. What do your fireman buddies
think of snowboarding?
They think my hair is getting pretty long. The Montreal fire department
is huge—like 60 stations. The guys that have been there a long
time have their values and they don’t change how they think. To them,
you need to have short hair and dress well, so I’m kind of the weirdo
in their eyes. A lot of them snowboard or ski because most firefighters
are very active, but they don’t understand what I’m doing on a
handrail or why I’m not wearing a helmet. They don’t get it. I’m the
only snowboarder there who doesn’t take the chairlift. I’m scared of
the chairlift [laughs].
Do you get more respect in the fire hall because you shred?
No, I don’t think so. Maybe they didn’t treat me as bad as a rookie
because the rookies get beat up a little bit.
They get hazed like frat boys?
Yeah. I got lucky with that. Some rookies have a hard time, for sure.
Gap to Boardslide 270 out. Photo: Oli Croteau
Now that you’re five years deep, do you haze the rookies?
Uhmm, I think I’m too much of a nice guy [laughs]. I do some tricks
sometimes. Everybody messes with everyone there. Like I said, they
stick to their values.
You gotta respect the old school. Do you ever host house parties
and invite your fireman friends and your snowboard friends over
I would never, ever do that. I’ve heard so many stories about people
having firemen over to their house. I spend so much time with those
guys, like 24 and 48 hours straight while we’re on shift, and I hear everything
about them. You become so close with them that you can’t
talk about your personal affairs. I’ll go have a beer with them, but I
can’t bring them home to my personal life.
Which side do you think parties harder?
They’re all crazy. Both are nuts. Snowboarders are crazy and so are
You’re trapped between two worlds of crazy people.
Well, they’re not crazy, but they can both party super hard.
Speaking of hard partying, I heard you recently turned vegan.
Uhmm, yeah, but I can’t talk about that.
Sure you can.
I could never say that at the fire station. It’s a word that I can’t pronounce
So who is she?
A man only turns vegan for a woman.
I did it by myself. My mother is pissed about it, though. She cooks a
lot and thinks you need to eat everything.
Are you sticking with it?
I like it. I feel way better—healthy and real good, you know? I know
that I don’t need to eat meat and dairy if I eat a bunch of other good
Do people bust your balls about eating like a bird?
I don’t talk about it. If I go to a restaurant, I’ll just order something
vegan and try not to talk about it. It’s harder to deal with people than
it is to not eat meat or dairy products. Other people just don’t want
to understand. They don’t want to know why. They just want to beat
you up about it.
Do you preach health to your friends when they’re eating gas station
food on trips and you’re nibbling on nuts?
On the road? I just cook all my meals and it’s easy for me. I would never
bother other people about what they eat and I don’t talk about it.
Frontside Handlpant. Photo: Crispin Cannon
Do you fear getting fat?
Who, me? I don’t know. Maybe. I think I’m too active.
Do you get down with yoga?
No. I stretch a lot, but I’ve never really tried yoga.
You’re pretty quiet and reserved, but you’re known as a
madman when you snowboard. Do you feel like you bottle
up all your anger and aggression in life and only release it
in the streets when you’re filming?
I don’t know. Am I quiet? I am reserved, for sure. I’m very
focused. I think a lot. I think too much.
What’s the maddest you’ve ever been?
I get so mad at snowboarding. I get mad every time I don’t
You also pull crazy long sessions in order to get a trick.
Would you say you’re a patient or stubborn person?
I’m very patient, but super stubborn. If I know I can do something
better, I’ll keep going. I don’t get tired, so I won’t stop.
I’ve never ended a session because I was tired.
Do you ever just snap and scream at everyone if you can’t
get a trick?
I snap a lot. It sucks, but I do it. I hate snowboarding, and
then I love it. It’s fucked up. I get so mad and then I land
something and everything is fine.
And then you have to apologize to everyone for losing your
No, I don’t ever yell at anyone. I just get so mad at myself.
I’ve been working with one filmer, Matt Gibeault, for a while
and he knows. He just leaves me alone [laughs]. He’s really
The amount of video clips and photos you’ve been producing
is insane. Do you ever think about calling it a day and
heading to Hawaii for a week while everyone else tries to
I would love that. I’d love to surf more. Every surf spot seems
to be good in the winter and I never get to go, but I can’t
take a break from snowboarding. I’m never satisfied and
never happy with my part. I always want to make it better,
like I don’t have enough shots or they’re not good enough.
There’s always another spot or another trick to do. I also
don’t get injured, so it seems like I get a lot more done in a
winter because I don’t miss any time.
If you didn’t snowboard, how would you stay happy during
a winter in Montreal?
Hmmm. I don’t know. That’s a very good question. I would
have to do something else. I’d get a lot more into surfing.
Are a lot of people in Montreal alcoholics during the winter?
Yeah, I guess. I wouldn’t do that, but I would not be the guy
to go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing because that’s
too mellow, but I would find something else. I’d be doing
50-50 to Fakie Wallride. Photo: Crispin Cannon
Booze is quite cheap in Quebec. Aren’t you allowed to
drink in the parks?
I don’t know. Are you? Maybe I would be partying more if I
How did you survive the layoffs at DC?
Dude, I have no idea.
Do you vibe well with the rest of their team?
Yeah. I get along with some of those guys, but some of them
I don’t get the chance to know very well. They’re all pretty
cool and I can get along with anyone.
You’ve already locked down covers, filmed full parts, and
made some money. What are your other goals with snowboarding?
I would love to get more covers. It’s strange… It starts with
getting your first sponsor and then your first photo published
and filming your first full part, but when you get a cover… I
don’t know. It feels pretty good.
Do you feel like you can enjoy snowboarding more because
you have a backup plan and are not desperate to be successful?
I want to be snowboarding so much that I don’t think about
having something set up after it. All I want right now is to
keep boarding and I want to keep doing it professionally
because I just love it so much.
Would you ever consider moving west to ride powder like
all the Frenchmen who have gone before you?
I don’t like Montreal. I’ve always felt like I was supposed to be
born and raised on the West Coast. But I don’t make enough
money snowboarding to not have to work in the summers,
and the money I make and the job I have firefighting is better
than anything I could be doing on the West Coast, so I think
it’s better for me to stay in Montreal. It’s easy to leave on
trips when I can.
You don’t love Montreal?
I like a lot of things about it, but there are so many things
that I miss when I’m there. I like Montreal, but I love Vancouver.
Portland and Vancouver are the best.
What would make you hang the boots up and move on from
the snowboard life?
I don’t know. Surfing? If I could surf every day for the rest of
my life, that would make it.
Vegan for life?
I don’t know. But I don’t know why not. I don’t see any reason
to eat meat or dairy or any products from animals, so I’m not
going to stop with it.