West Canadian Mountains
In 2007, Jean-François left Quebec with his family and settled down in Nelson, British Columbia. He then followed a mountain environment training which introduced him to the Western Canadian ski stations. He developed a network of artists and galleries.
With the partnership of the CWSAA (Canadian West Ski Areas Association), Racine began in 2008 the painting of a collection of artworks highlighting the different Olympic disciplines through the mountains of Western Canada. This collection, made up of 36 paintings, was the subject of a travelling exhibition as part of the Olympic Year and was presented, among other places, at the Odin Gallery in Vernon.
During these years in Western Canada, Jean-François deepened his knowledge of off-piste skiing, avalanches as well as the realities and potential contingencies in the mountains. During the winter of 2010, he worked in mountain operations at the Silverstar Mountain Resort to put his knowledge to the test. Throughout these months, Racine also developed a wonderful relationship with Carole and Brad Karafil, owners of White Grizzly Cat Skiing in Meadow Creek. The artist will stay there several times with different guests in the next few years. He will realize many paintings on these skis, in the mountains and in the snow groomer garage. There will also be great skiing moments, between heaven and earth.
The return to Quebec in 2010 is somewhat resigned, even if the West remains a vacation destination for the artist. Racine discovers a whole new Quebec, one with the Plan Nord where the wild territories of Quebec seem available to the mining companies like an all-you-can-eat buffet. At that time, the best shot for the Gaspésie seemed to be a huge cement plant project in Port-Daniel. There is even talk of a project in the famous Parc de la Gaspésie. There are outrageous delays on projects to protect public lands. Since his official return to the old Mills in Baie-Saint-Paul, Jean-François has been more interested in the wild territories of Quebec than in ski resorts. Happily, today's off-track ski equipment allows him to access new territories.