Andi Naude isn’t concerned with padding her Federation International Ski World Cup resume with early stellar performances.
“My goal is to do my best, and no matter what the result is, I will be happy,” Naude wrote in an email prior to competing in Krieschberg, Austria Dec. 22.
Naude, 16, made her debut with the Canadian national mogul team last April, placing 16th after spending the season with the Whistler Academy team. She’s now making the full transition to the B team. Naude earned her fifth-place finish in Finland, then placed 16th in Austria.
Naude said she felt good about her performance in Ruka, Finland on Dec. 15.
“I never would have dreamed of getting fifth at my second World Cup,” said Naude, the 2012 NorAm Grand Prix winner. “There is always something to work on and improve, but I am very happy with the way I skied.”
She enjoyed consistent runs throughout the competition and that has given her a confidence boost going into the duals.
“It allowed me to focus on pushing the speed a little bit more and not having to worry about putting down a full top-to-bottom run, which, in duals, is very valuable,” she said.
The former Apex Freestyle Ski Club member is confident she has prepared herself for the season. She spent the majority of the spring, summer and fall attending training camps is Argentina, Switzerland, Quebec, Whistler and Apex Mountain Resort. The work she put in allowed her to build skills and progress. At home, she focused on maintaining and building her fitness level at the gym or from mountain biking, road biking and other activities. Keeping fit is important to her to avoid injury.
Naude’s coach Jean-Paul Richard said that she had a great training camp so her results are not really surprising.
“For sure she has a lot of talent and we right away saw something special from her and we’re really lucky that she was able to stay focused in Ruka,” Richard wrote in an email.
Being on the national team has been amazing for her. Surrounded by the best skiers in the world all the time inspires her to try harder at everything she does.
“I have learned so much by watching my teammates ski and just listening to what they have to say,” said Naude, who was born in Regina, Sask. “The team is amazing, we all get along really well. It is such a positive and healthy atmosphere to train in. I am extremely fortunate to be on such a strong team and I am honoured.”
Canada’s coaches want to see Naude remain focused on the process of competing because good results come with expectations.
“We don’t want to see her go in that direction. We want her to stay focused on having fun and following her plan without thinking about the outcome too much,” Richard said.
As long as Naude stays the course, they know the results will be there.
“That’s easy to say but hard to learn,” he said. “We have to remember that she’s still a rookie and she has a lot to learn.”
Prior to competing in Austria, Naude only wanted to work on the little things. She added that the experience in Finland would help her continue improving. Richard said she is “really coachable and during competition she can put everything together.”
“When it’s time, she raises her game which is what you want to see in an athlete,” he said. “She’s young and new on the team but she has a really good relationship with us and with the other girls. She’s very respectful and kind of funny, too.”
When not taking her bumps on the mogul course, Naude is dedicated to school. She puts in time completing her work through South Central Interior Distance Education (S.C.I.D.E.S).
“My teachers at S.C.I.D.E.S are extremely supportive and help me whenever I am stuck on a question,” said Naude. “It is definitely a different way of learning and a lot of work. I basically teach myself, however, it is working out really well. My grades are looking good right now (90 per cent and higher) and I am really hoping that one day, when I am finished skiing, that I will become a sports physician and help athletes return to their top level of performance.”
During the national team’s trip in Europe, Naude had time with her family to experience different cultures and ways of life.
“Travel has also made me realize how fortunate I am to live in such an amazing country and how great my home is,” said Naude. “I have also learned many life lessons through travelling, such as time management, coping with stress, and keeping the big picture in mind. You never know what to expect when you travel. I even got to pet one of Santa’s cute reindeer in Finland.”