Penticton’s Andi Naude has won the most coveted prize for mogul rookies, the FIS Rookie of the Year award.
Naude’s Canadian national team coach Marc Andre Moreau said looking at the past, all the big athletes who have had success won that trophy.
“It’s kind of a big thing for them,” said Moreau, adding that it indicates they will have a very good career.
Naude started the season with a fifth-place result in Ruka, Finland. Other notable results include sixth in Calgary, 12th in Deer Valley, UT, 13th in Park City, UT and ninth in Inawashiro, Japan. Moreau said that Naude made finals in most of her events.
“I was really happy with her for sure. She had to make some adjustments and made it really quick,” said Moreau. “The way she responds during competitions, she was always able to raise her game when it was time to compete.”
That was something the coaches weren’t used to seeing from a rookie, who also possesses an unseen level of calmness.
He wasn’t surprised that Naude was named top rookie by the other coaches on the circuit. Competing against rookies from the United States, Korea and Japan, she impressed with her talent and character: voting is based on both those criteria.
“Andi, she has a lot of talent,” said Moreau, adding that she competed in the final world cup last year because she performed well in the Nor Am and won the Grand Prix, a level right below world cup. “Right away we could see that she had a lot of potential.
“We’re really happy that everybody voted for her,” continued Moreau. “Andi is really professional. She is young but she is really professional. She really respects all and she works really hard. She has a great attitude. Everybody saw that right away.”
The former Apex Freestyle Club member said she was amazed by the recognition and honoured to get it.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” said Naude, who called from Spain.
She was pleased with her season and said it was great to continually make finals.
“I definitely can improve on some things,” she said. “It’s just all part of the process. I’m really happy with this year.”
She faced many challenges including the travel involved. Naude said it’s difficult on the body and found she tired quickly.
Helping Naude improve throughout the season was the competition she faced including American Hannah Kearney and other world champions.
“It was really strong,” she said. “It really helped just push me to do my best. Go for every run which is amazing. Just watching them and learning. Just an amazing environment to be in.”
Naude has had moments of feeling down, but she gets through it with the support of family, coaches and teammates.
“I’m pretty hard on myself naturally,” said Naude, who averaged in the 90s for her online schooling. “When I didn’t have such great days, it was definitely tough for me, but I just pushed through it and went back the next day. It was good.”