A twenty-three-year-old with more accomplishments under her belt, more grace in her style and a more level head than most folks double her age. Andi Naude has been competing in skiing most of her life and has a long list of impressive accomplishments under her belt. This well-spoken go-getter is shifting gears while on top of her game. Andi dishes on her past, present and future ski career and what wild turn she’s taking next.
FAST FACTS ABOUT ANDI NAUDE
Born: Regina, Saskatchewan
Raised: Penticton, British Columbia
Home Mountain: Apex Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Sponsors: Oakley, Hart Japan, Toyo Tires, Columbia, and Dermaviduals.
Teams: Apex Freestyle Ski Club, BC Mogul Ski Team, Canadian National Mogul Ski Team, Canadian Olympic Team.
ANDI NAUDE: the past & the present
I grew up skiing every weekend at my local hill (Apex Mountain Resort) from the age of 4. I joined the local freestyle club at the age of 11, and absolutely fell in love with the sport. At the age of 13, I qualified for the provincial mogul ski team, and after competing on the National and North American circuits for a few years, I qualified for the Canadian National Team at the age of 16. I spent 6 years competing on the World Cup Circuit; an absolute dream come true.
Ski Achievements: FIS World Cup Rookie of the Year (2013), 10 FIS World Cup podiums, 6 FIS World Championship starts, 2018 Olympian (6th place).
After spending 6 years representing Canada on the world stage, and qualifying for the Olympics in 2018, I decided that I was going to take a break from the sport I loved for the 2018/2019 competitive season. I started the application process for Veterinary school (my other dream), and after I received an offer to attend my dream school (The Royal Veterinary College in London, England), I simply could not pass up the opportunity to attend. And here I am! After a tough decision on whether to return to sport or not, I finally came to the conclusion (this spring) that I would retire. Mogul skiing has been such an extraordinary part of my life, and I am beyond grateful for everything the sport has brought me, but now it is time to move on to the next chapter.
Q&A WITH ANDI NAUDE
Any upcoming ski-related goals?
AN: Ski as much as possible! Full-time vet school doesn’t leave me with a whole lot of spare time, but whenever I have the chance, I will definitely be out in the mountains.
How did your career in the ski industry set you up for your next chapter?
AN: I feel incredibly fortunate to have had skiing in my life; the lessons I have learned, the skills I have acquired, it has most definitely shaped who I am as a person. I have learned how to deal with stress, overcome adversity, self-motivate, work hard, as well as come to appreciate the importance of making the most of every single day. Skiing has provided me with the best possible education, and for this, I am forever grateful.
How do you see the balance of skiing, a new career, and a social life coming together?
AN: Balancing skiing and school has always been a challenge. I completed my entire high-school education online while I was on the road training and competing. That being said, I think this method of schooling prepared me very well for vet school. University is very much self-propelled, which is what I have been dealing with for years. In terms of social life, skiing gave me an international family; we were all such great friends, and I know that we will continue to be very close. Taking a step away from the ski community, I have found an entirely new family here in London, England. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing, like-minded, determined people.
Any words of advice for aspiring professional skiers?
AN: You can’t be afraid of making mistakes and pushing your boundaries. At the end of the day, if you fall, it’s just another learning experience that you can take with you. No matter how many times you have to pick yourself back up, if you have a goal and you are doing what you love, in the end, it will pay off.
What was the hardest ski-related goal you had to overcome?
AN: In 2014, I missed qualifying for the Canadian Olympic Team by one spot, and I was absolutely shattered. However, I believe that this was probably one of the greatest things to ever happen, as I learned that I could overcome any disappointment thrown my way. It also made me realize just how badly I wanted to reach my dream of representing Canada at the Olympic Games. I put my head down and worked harder than I ever had for the next 4 years leading up to the 2018 Games in PyeongChang. In my eyes, the Olympics were definitely not the be-all and end-all, but it was definitely something to strive for. Finally managing to achieve my childhood dream was nothing short of incredible.
What do you think your biggest accomplishment has been so far?
AN: I think that one of my biggest accomplishments has been to push the sport of women’s mogul skiing by being one of the few women in the world to compete with a bigger, harder trick, the back-full (backflip with a 360). I am thrilled to see that more and more women are branching out and pushing the envelope.
Are you actively working on any kind of legacy projects for yourself or others?
AN: Right now I am really quite focused on making it through vet school. That being said, I really hope to leave a lasting impact on the ski community, especially the younger generation. Whenever I have the chance, I make sure to spend time with the younger skiers. Whether that be coaching, having a conversation, or even just taking a fun run or two with them. I think it’s important for them to see that anything is possible when they put their mind to it and have fun!
Two things that most of the world doesn’t know about you:
1) I love cats. In fact, you could call me a crazy cat lady, I have two living back at home in Canada, one named Muffy, and the other named Blooby.
2) In this past year at vet school, I spent two weeks at a sheep farm, and I helped birth baby lambs. They are ADORABLE.
AN: I would like to thank my family, teammates, coaches, support staff, and the entire community. I could not have asked for a better support crew; you were there for me every single day, and I cannot say thank you enough.
Big transitions, big accomplishments, and a big heart. Andi Naude might be taking a step back from competitive skiing and into something new, but her passion, legacy and community involvement will continue to leave a mark on the ski industry for decades. All the best Andi!