Franc Ouest is a podcast series presented by the West Kootenays Francophone Association (AFKO) that features Francophones and Francophiles who stand out through their talent, passion, and determination. The series received acclaim for its treatment of important issues, such as race and gender identity, extreme sports, and youth entrepreneurship.

The second season, titled “Nature + Elles”, profiles 12 French-speaking outdoor leaders in the magnificent West Kootenays region of British Columbia. Composed of 15 episodes and a short film, the series will be officially launched on March 8th to celebrate both International Women’s Day and Francophonie Month.

Each episode follows one fascinating woman in the practice of her favorite sport throughout the West Kootenays. The casual interviews will serve as entry points not only to discover each interviewee’s sport, but also lesser-known places of the region, from Revelstoke to Nelson, passing through Creston, Rossland, Trail, and Castlegar.

In the first episode, which has already been published, host Patrick Lac and his team meet Mélanie Mercier, an avid snowboarder and geologist by training with several years of experience in the mining industry. Passionate about protecting the environment, she is an important figure in the fight against a mining project in Rossland. The episode follows her backcountry splitboarding to the proposed mining site, at a breathtaking elevation of 1000 meters.

The series’ interviews are focused on environmental activism, yet the unique perspectives of each speaker shine a light on womanhood and the way it shapes their experiences. An important theme the podcast covers is the desire to encourage other women to get involved in sports deemed to be ‘masculine’, with the topic of imposter syndrome being brought up several times in different interviews. “I was really surprised to have someone like Fannie Dufour, who has studied outdoor guiding and has had a 10 year + career guiding rafting and backcountry skiing in a cat-ski operation, telling me how she lived with imposter syndrome for several years before really feeling like she deserved her job and title”, says host Patrick Lac.

The second Franc Ouest season will also be accompanied by a 30-minute documentary that delves into environmental issues. The documentary follows participants practicing their sport in areas threatened by mining projects, industrial logging, or the development of ski resorts.

Each episode will be released on Fridays beginning February 9th on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Youtube, and Episodes will be released three days in advance on The first season, “Francophonie Sauvage”, is available for streaming as well on the same platforms.