Andi Naude has what it takes to be among the best mogul skiers in the world, according to her coach.
The 20-year-old member of Canada’s national freestyle team just has to deliver when it counts.
“Every year she looks better. She needs to understand how to put it on the right time, on the right moment,” said Canada Freestyle women’s coach Michel Hamelin. “That is what she was struggling with in the past couple of years.”
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While talking about Naude, a local former Apex Freestyle Club member, Hamelin said she is intense, and at times gets too intense and pushes the limit a bit too much. There is a need to dial it back.
“There is a lot of potential there,” said Hamelin, who talks to Naude at the gate, goofing around a bit and giving a couple of words to help relax her.
Hamelin, women’s moguls coach since 2014, said everything is there for Naude, with her technical components and acrobatics. Hamelin said the first year he worked with Naude, she reached the podium once. Last year she was on it twice with a higher degree of difficulty on her jumps, which he said is pretty good. The course in Ruka, Finland, where Naude crashed this month is difficult, but Hamelin said she was solid in training. Naude was among the top athletes in training and the two runs she had prior to her final in Finland were the best for women’s moguls Hamelin has seen.
During the offseason, Naude placed focus on cleaning up her skiing. She wanted to improve the look of it, while being more consistent. She’s aware that if she puts down a good run it will be up there.
“I just want to be able to go into every competition feeling that I’ve done everything I possibly can to be ready,” said Naude, who won the 2012 FIS NorAm Grand Prix and is the 2013 FIS World Cup Rookie of the year. “To come out of it knowing that I did my best and that I know I have done the hard work.”
Naude was very happy with her off-season training and knows it will pay off in the end.
READ MORE: Naude lands bronze for first world cup medal
“We put in a lot of hours. As you progress, focus on little paths,” said Naude, who spent time working on a water ramp, snow and in the gym. “Always trying to become better. Just trying to keep pushing the envelope.”
Hamelin said she trained harder than anyone.
It’s a big year for Naude, with the World Championships in Spain at season’s end. Her ultimate goal is to qualify.
“There is a lot of competition. Moreso than last year which is really cool,” said Naude. “You find yourself getting into a rhythm. I’m just looking forward to getting in the gate again.”
Naude and the Canadian national team return to action Jan. 13 to 14 in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Follow Emanuel Sequeira on Twitter @pentictonsports.