© Andy Wright
GIRL ON: Priscilla LevacNov 21 2006 / Los Angeles, CA
There’s nothing like an accent to get people all hot and bothered. And if you are lucky enough to have a French Canadian accent that’s extra good in helping a gal wrap people around her finger because you have a sexy accent and the always-friendly-and-ready-to-party Canadian gene. When it comes to snowboarding, 26-year-old Priscilla Levac has certainly figured that one out. Born in Quebec and raised “in a town so small you would have never heard of it,” Priscilla moved to Whistler ten years ago in search of powder and parks and has called this world class resort home ever since. North America’s largest ski resort has been good to Prisc and she’s be good for the town with her fun loving personality and fearlessly charging style on the mountain.
Interestingly the Olympics are going to be on her turf in 2010 and while Priscilla is a dominator when it comes to park riding and big jumps, don’t expect to see her reaching for gold. She’s not interested in pipe or boardercross, the two snowboarding disciplines in the Olympics. In fact, competition in general isn’t really her thing even though she won Queen of the Hill in 2004, the US Open of Snowboarding that same year and got second in the Session at Vail, CO. Even though events are fun, she’d much prefer to head off into the backcountry with snowmobiles and a pack of good friends than pin a contest bib on. Lat34 caught up with the lovely Quebecoise speaking ripper and here’s what she had to say with her very cute accent:
Lat34: How did you get into snowboarding?
PL: During high school some friends of mine got me into it. I tried it a few times and got addicted. The next thing you know I was skipping school to go snowboarding a lot. Back then there weren’t parks where I lived so there was just riding on little icy mountains in Quebec. It was cold and small, but it was fun. Later when I moved out west I started riding parks. There was one park at Mount Tremblant and that’s when I started hitting jumps. There were no handrails back then though. Not that I knew of in my world anyway.
Lat34: Growing up did you do any other sports?
PL: Not really. I didn’t care much about being sporty until I found snowboarding at fifteen.
Lat34: What did you think when you first saw the real parks?
PL: I started in a small park and I worked my way up. Still when I first saw a big jump I was a little scared, but then I went for it. When I started I mainly rode jumps. Me and my friends would build kickers in the woods and practice jumping, so I just had to remind myself that I knew how to do it.
Lat34: Where’s your favorite place to ride?
PL: Whistler by far. There’s so much to offer. The terrain is amazing for the backcountry. There are two huge mountains and you do one run from peak to creek and it’s super long. On a powder day it’s so much fun. The park on Blackcomb is really good. Whistler is my home. I love it. Lately I have been snowmobiling in the backcountry and I love that too.
Lat34: Do you have a fan club?
PL: I have this little girl, she’s my favorite one. Her name is Emma. Her family writes me all the time and ask me to sign X Games bibs and send it to them. They write me letters and send me photos of their family. They are so sweet.
Lat34: How about the boys?
PL: I do have some boys around who aren’t exactly a fan club but they lurk around. They call and try to hang out with me. There are definitely guys who like snowboard girls. I didn’t know that. I thought it was only girls all over the snowboard guys but I am learning it goes both ways.
Lat34: What’s the strangest pick up line you’ve ever heard at a ski resort.
PL: In the lift line guys will try to pick you up all the time. I can tell when a guy is interested. He’ll push his way up and try to take the chair with me and start bragging about himself the whole way up. I am too nice so I listen and smile when I am really thinking this guy is a dork. Then I just smile and say take care, see ya, and take off.
Lat34: Worst injury ever?
PL: Probably when I broke my wrist. That was six years ago. I was at the X Games and I was in a big air. I landed on it and it was icy. I broke it in two places. It was bending all strange. Looking at it, it was completely crooked. I couldn’t look at it. In the hospital the doctor put it back in his place and I thought I would pass out. I turned all white. That was painful.
Lat34: Scariest moment?
PL: I rode off this cliff once in Utah and it was big. I was just starting to jump cliffs and I decided ok, I am going to try for it. I made a couple of turns in the powder and then dropped it. I was going pretty fast and I needed to be going slower and in the air I was falling and falling and I realized I was going straight to the flat. I kneed myself in the face and I ended up with a huge black eye and I was bleeding everywhere. I was ok, but I had a little concussion. That was pretty trippy. When you are in the backcountry it’s scary because you are so far in the backcountry away from a hospital. It’s a long ways to get help. In the end it was all good.
Lat34: What did people say about the blackeye?
PL: Everywhere I went people thought my boyfriend beat me up. It was pretty shocking the first day especially, so it was hard not to comment on it.
Lat34: What does it feel like to drop a cliff?
PL: It’s really a cool feeling because first of all I don’t like to wait on top of one because the more you wait, the more you think and that isn’t good. You don’t know how it’s going to feel like when you drop and on that take off and landing. You go and hope for the best. When you are falling there is such an adrenaline rush. When you are in control you can grab and it’s amazing. Sometimes you are out of balance and it’s like “Oh s*#t!!” It’s hard to land if you are off and there are a lot of butterflies in those moments. It’s a good rush to go big though, but it happens so fast. When you land it’s almost like you let out a sigh of relief. You look back at what you dropped and it’s like “Wow. I did that?.”
Lat34: Crazy hook up time. ‘Fess up. Where have you gotten down while snowboarding? The gondola?
PL: No not there. Definitely I have done stuff in the backcountry. It’s romantic out there and you are on the snowmobile and way out there. It’s surprisingly warm in the backcountry on a sunny day. It’s a work out just getting there. Then you get to a spot and take off some layers and it’s easy to get romantic out there. Something about having a big machine and strong man. There’s a lot you can do out in the backcountry other than snowboarding.
Lat34: What’s the best thing about being a snowboard girl?
PL: I get to travel the world. It’s amazing. I love it. I have never liked routines and so travel offers me a chance to have adventure. When I was younger I would just go hitchhike around Canada and so being a pro snowboarder is a continuation of my travels when I was younger. Traveling makes you grow as a person.
Lat34: You and your girlfriend crew are all really hot and know it. Do you get a lot of attention out there on the road?
PL: Oh yeah. The boys are always trying to get our numbers. We have like five guys calling each of us. It gets pretty hectic at times. I had to learn how to be more direct and let guys know that I am not interested. Some guys are way too aggressive when they see a bunch of cute snowboard girls.
Lat34: Have you and your friends ever fought over a guy?
PL: No, that hasn’t happened to me at all. We all seem to have different taste. Thank God because that would suck because they are all so pretty. Lexi likes the pretty model boys. I like the tough, manly guy more and Leanne has a boyfriend so we are safe there.
Lat34: Are you competitive with your friends?
PL: Only when I am in a contest. Just for that moment. But we are all really supportive of each other. I am insanely competitive in my head though in a contest. I am like I can’t lose. But we are all friends off the field. When a girl is dropping in for her run we cheer for each other and I really mean it. Even after if I didn’t win and Lexi or Leanne wins I give her a big hug and I am super happy for her. We are all like that. That’s what is cool with us. I get sensitive when I don’t do well but I am still happy for my friends for sure.
Lat34: What’s your specialty in snowboarding?
PL: A lot of people think I am a big rail girl but it’s not my favorite thing to do at all. I like jumps better.
Catch Priscilla and her girl crew in Misschief Films new movie "Ro Sham Bo." This film features a handful of the top snowboarder girls. For more information go to http://www.projectmisschief.com/