On this week’s episode of the “Sponsored” podcast, host Mike Powell interviews French Canadian Marc-Andre Belliveau. In 2006, Belliveau was one of the top skiers in the world. He was featured regularly in Teton Gravity Research films for his progressive style. His sister, in turn, was an Olympic hopeful. One day they were skiing together and she broke her back.
“I felt really responsible for my sister when she got hurt,” he says on the podcast. “I remember the phone call to my dad to tell him that she was all fucked up. And his reaction was feeling that I was responsible for her accident because we were doing crazy shit. I got really bummed out. I started to feel really shaky about skiing. I actually thought I wasn’t going to ski anymore. But she was the first one telling me, ‘Yeah, it was bad luck. You don’t want to quit skiing just because I got hurt.”
Belliveau continued skiing. Then, in 2006, he lost his way on the last day of a trip while filming for TGR and broke his T12 vertebra. He has been paralyzed since.
“I felt ashamed that I kept going skiing,” he says. “It’s a dangerous sport. You feel selfish. The things you do can hurt other people. When I got hurt, it really hurt my friends, my parents, and yeah, the word that comes to mind is just being selfish.”
After Belliveau’s injury, a number of high-profile skiers died while skiing, including 10 people that he knew. On the show, Belliveau says he has always had a hard time making the right choice, and, given the circumstances, he still can’t believe he skied that last run.
“I’m not bummed out that I chose skiing as a way of life. But I’m very bummed that I skied that run,” say Belliveau, who recently gave up drinking and smoking. “I’ve had a hard time… I’ve been struggling a lot the last ten years.”
Listen to the full podcast here:
6:00: Skiing growing up
8:41: Music career
10:00: Trouble as a kid
12:00: Contests and travel and what it was like being a pro
22:00: His sister gets hurt
27:30: Powell meeting Marc-Andre at the K2 Back 9
28:28: Marc's injury
35:00: Life has been a struggle over the past 11 years, but he's cleaned up
“Sponsored” is a weekly show hosted by Mike Powell that goes deep into the lives and stories of professional skiers. For more Powder Radio, check out “The Storytellers” podcast, which goes behind the scenes with POWDER.
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