Philippe Marquis is one of Canada's top Freestyle Skiers. Despite a near career-ending injury, only weeks before the 2018 PyeongChang Games, Philippe has managed to establish himself amongst the world’s elite, remarkably earning a career total of 12 World Cup podium finishes.
Just how does a professional skier keep his grooming game on point while performing acrobatic maneuvers down a mountainside? We sat down with him to ask.
Q: You've described watching Jean-Luc Brassard win gold at Lillehammer 1994 as your "wow" moment and when you decided you wanted to do freestyle - can you take us back to that moment and what made it so special for you?
Every kid has a "wow" moment in his childhood that will impact his journey or his future path. For me, that moment came while watching the 1994 winter Olympics on TV. I was only 5 years old, but when I saw Jean-Luc Brassard take home gold in the moguls event, I thought it was the coolest thing!
Jean Luc Brassard's Gold Medal run at the 1996 Lillehammer Olympics
At the time, I had already started to ski with my family and watching the event unfold like it did really caught my attention. The skiing was flawless. The accomplishment unprecedented. At that exact moment, the pride and the joy I saw in this athlete wearing the maple leaf was new to me. And, from that instant, I knew I wanted to be an Olympian.
Q: You managed to qualify for the 2018 Olympics after tearing your ACL only weeks prior - how did you do it?
It’s one of those really hard question to answer. Tearing your ACL weeks prior to the biggest sporting event in the world is every athlete worst nightmare. When it happened to me, I was devastated. I knew the 2018 Olympics were supposed to be, not only my prime as an athlete, but also my last ones. I could not let the moment slip through my hands regardless of my situation. Mentally, I made a radical switch reassessing my goals and expectations. Deep down, I wanted to keep fighting and show the world what I was capable of, regardless of my odds. Physically, I was lucky to keep the inflammation down and I worked daily with an unbelievable team that gave everything to make it happen for me. The key was in all the planning, the workload management and believing in the impossible. And, of course, it’s probably the craziest thing I ever done!
Q: Your brother Vincent skied moguls for Canada in Vancouver 2010 - was there any friendly sibling rivalry growing up?
I’d be lying if I said no! I grew up trying to follow my big brother everywhere he went and copying everything he did. We were glued together even if we were 5 years apart. But, I still felt like I needed to bring the best out of me to be accepted by his side. He was an amazing big brother and is the main reason why I became the athlete I am today. Man did I love giving him a hard time and challenging him in everything we did, and he hated losing to me (which rarely happened). In all fairness, most of our rivalry were friendly and healthy. Good fun between sibling and essential life experiences!
Q: What's your morning routine look like? How about your morning grooming routine before competing?
Competition routine is essential to keep the nerves down. I normally start the day with a good song to get my stoked level up and appreciate the lifestyle I’ve had the pleasure to have. I then hit the men’s room to take care of business, clean up my face and make sure I’m wide awake. I’ll grab a quick breakfast, generally something light and healthy. During contest days, it’s all about the snack. My appetite is never massive anyway, so I like to keep it light but eat and drink regularly. Just before I put my ski gears on and head out, I make sure my beard is clean cut and my lines are sharp. Nothing to fancy… I’m a low maintenance guy, but also like to look properly in front of the cameras!
Q: What can fans expect to see from you in 2019?
In 2019, I turn the page on some tough injuries. 2018 was really challenging physically and mentally, nonetheless a majestic one. I’m now back with the Canadian Freestyle team fighting my way back to the top. The first few months, I’ll be back on tour, competing to my best abilities with a knee freshly recovered. I’m expecting to compete at World Championships in Deer Valley, Utah in February and then gradually turning the page on an amazing career. Life’s got a few great projects on the arising for me. And even though competitive skiing will be a thing of the past when the winter end, I’ll tackle school and new ski adventures while rocking a magnificent beard!
Q: What’s your favourite Rocky Mountain Barber Product and why do you love it?
Right now, I can’t go without the RMBC beard oil. Facing any situation, from the harsh winter environment to the important meetings, the beard oil gives that fresh, healthy, sparkling look to my beard. Obviously, there is still so many RMB products I need to try and some many great flagrance options to choose from. Trying that stuff out during the Holiday season gave a great, fresh smell, look to my beard, giving me just that extra confidence in front of the in-laws!