For Montreal’s 375th anniversary, our northern spirit was on full display during the activities of Les Hivernales held from January 6 to March 11, 2017. Les Hivernales included the Motoneige MTL Xtrem freestyle snowmobiling demonstrations organized right downtown by the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary, with the support of Tribu Expérientiel, on February 4 and 5. Micah Desforges, President of Tribu Expérientiel, spoke to us about the challenges of putting this event together.
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) – Describe your business in a couple of words.
Micah Desforges (M.D.) – Just a couple [laughs]? “Adrenaline” and “entertainment.” Our specialty is taking action sports that people aren't as aware of—like snowmobiling or skateboarding—and making them more accessible to the public. To do that, we seek out the best athletes, who become ambassadors for their sports. We give performances against more urban backdrops and use the city as a playground. But we always make sure we never take away from the true nature of the discipline on display. Our major projects include Jackalope (which you certainly know), which is coming back for a 6th edition this August.
CCMM – Why did you want to be part of Montreal's 375th anniversary?
M.D. – As a Montreal company, this was an opportunity we couldn't miss! The Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary was looking for a spectacular event for Les Hivernales. We had already made a name for ourselves in 2014 with Mud Rocker, a mountain bike jump competition held in the Quartier Latin. A natural collaboration came about between our two organizations.
CCMM – Tell us more about Motoneige MTL Xtrem.
M.D. – For two days, Union Street up to Square Phillips was transformed into a snow course for ten world freestyle snowmobiling champions. These athletes attempted incredible jumps at over 10 meters high and over about 25 meters above Sainte-Catherine Street. Their acrobatics were spectacular!
CCMM – What were your main challenges for the event?
M.D. – 1) Headliners: getting the best drivers in the world to come. 2) Coordination: getting all the required permits, visas and equipment for the performances. 3) Infrastructure and logistics: setting up the event in 36 hours, trucking in the snow, and doing the event in a public space, specifically on one of downtown Montreal's busiest streets. Since space was very limited, we had to make full use of every square inch. There was no room for error. Let's just say the pressure was on!
CCMM – What were the technical aspects you had the most fun setting up?
M.D. – Broadcasting the jumps live on a giant screen. It took some technical prowess to truly show the performance to people further from the site and who couldn’t see the beginning or end of the jumps. We had to capture the most impressive moves and create a fluid montage to really get the “wow” effect.
CCMM – What did you like most about working on this event?
M.D. – Several things. First, helping to make Montreal's 375th anniversary something special. Also, creating a surprising event for people in the city. We had 17,500 spectators overall. I measure the success of an event with the number of cell phones in the air and the number of likes of social media content. By this metric, Motoneige MTL Xtrem was a true success. Finally, we really liked rubbing shoulders with top athletes. This was the most rewarding part for our team.
CCMM – If you had to describe Montreal in one word, what would it be?
M.D. – Daring.
CCMM – Do you have recent events or upcoming ones you'd like to share?
M.D. – L’Été Mile-End to celebrate Ubisoft's 20th anniversary (early June). And of course, Jackalope 2017, our action sports festival that I mentioned earlier.
Consult the activity program for Montreal's 375th anniversary
Discover what Montreal companies are doing to celebrate the city’s anniversary
This blog post was produced in collaboration with the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary.