The Miracle in Montreal: Emile Veilleux
By Jon Stark
I was behind the camera filming for Videograss this past winter, working on my fifth full-length snowboard video. I have been filming snow- boarding for the past seven winters and need to tell the story of the Montreal Miracle.
When I found myself in Canada working on Cole Navin’s Real Snow part for X Games, we hit up Dillon Ojo while we were struggling to get stuff done in Quebec, he mentioned to us that Montreal had gotten more snow and that he was willing to show us around. So, in early January 2016, we drove down to Montreal.
When we got to Ojo’s house that night, he showed us a bunch of pictures of spots, and for Cole and I to hit this one that Ojo showed us looked unique, difficult, and fun all at the same time. But little did we know...
When we got to the spot we quickly saw that it’s located in a nun- nery and church compound, fully fenced in. The rail is fixed along the walking path for the nuns to go from their living quarters to the church below. So during our five hours of hitting the rail, eight nuns walked down the stairs, eight nuns walked up the stairs. Each one carried with them a unique perspective of our snowboarding on their turf. Some were down and some were absolutely furious we were there and had covered their stairs in snow. The rail itself had its share of issues. There was a lock on the fence that we used bolt cutters on, and we needed something to pump down on the drop-in to get proper speed for it. Not to mention the rail is 10 different sections of two to six feet. Small separated rails, that all vary in height, direction and angle from each other.
This is where Emile enters the story. He was the one who originally found the spot. He shows up bringing the 2x4 lumber for the drop-in. Emile also hadn’t got a clip in two seasons due to his commitments to a full-time bakery job.
So Cole Navin, Jesse Gouveia, Dillon Ojo and Emile Veilleux start the battle and five hours in and after two attempted kick outs by the church employees (where at one instance they demanded $3,000 dollars to film on their property), Emile does the improbable, by board- sliding a rail that by no means should have been snowboarded on.
When I tell the story of the baker, who hasn’t gotten a clip in two years and at the craziest rail ever, out-boards some great snowboarders and lands— it’s the “Miracle in Montreal.” People don’t believe how crazy it is until they see the clip. Emile’s knees locked, scared shitless, followed by one of the best celebrations I’ve ever filmed.