A native of Banff, Alberta, 24-year-old Tatum Monod earned Skier of the Year – Riders’ Choice honors in 2014, securing her place among skiing’s elite. Monod ranked second in the athlete poll this season, behind Angel Collinson, demonstrating she remains a top gun in the eyes of her peers. These two skiers placed one-two in the public voting department this go-‘round, as well—though it was Monod who narrowly edged Collinson out of the top spot. Indeed, the fans love the Level 1 star’s award-winning film segments and no-holds-barred attitude. When we broke the news to Monod, as she trekked from Utah to British Columbia in her Chevy 1500 pickup, she responded with grace and humility. This gal is a blend of fierce and fun that’s impossible to ignore.
I’m in the first hour of my fourteen-hour drive, so… [laughs] I just left Salt Lake City and I’m headed to Revelstoke.
I hope you have a good playlist queued up.
I don’t, and my satellite radio is broken. It’s a tragedy.
Well, some good news for you, then. You won the Skier of the Year – People’s Choice Award.
You’re joking. I know Angel won.
I was looking online last night. I thought Angel won. How many votes did I win by?
Oh my gosh, that’s ridiculous. I was watching the voting. She would get 10 votes, and then I’d get 20, and then she’d get 15, and then I got 52. That’s exciting! Angel totally deserves it. It’s been cool watching her. All of her success… she’s definitely deserving of every ounce of it. It’s so inspiring to see. I guess I just have some friends who have my back [laughs]. I’m honestly quite blown away.
You might have friends, but I think your performance with Level 1 this season probably had something to do with it.
Well, my first season in Alaska was such an eye-opener for me. It was just a crazy move to be in those mountains and I learned so much in the little amount of time I got to be there. I had always dreamt about going there, and now I’m glad I didn’t go any younger. [By the time I got there] I kind of had some experience under my belt when it came to choosing lines and being in bigger mountains. I showed up and felt I knew what to expect. I wasn’t completely sh#tting myself, for lack of a better term, [laughs] ‘cause I had prepared for that larger scale. But nothing can really prepare you for when you’re on top of those lines. From the heli, maybe you’ve scoped out a cliff that you could jump off of, and you get on top and it’s just a 100-foot tall thing, and you’re like, ‘Oh f#ck.’ The only way to get good at skiing in Alaska is by skiing in Alaska, there’s no substitute for it.
Was there a stand-out line you skied there, in your mind?
Yeah, there was this line I skied towards the end of the trip, when I had my feet underneath me and felt more comfortable. It was basically this big, ribbed spine feature over a ton of exposure. The filmers and photographers were not crazy about the idea. That day we were skiing with Tanner [Hall] and even he was like, ‘F#ck no, I don’t see a line on this mountain I want to ski,’ and I was like, ‘Well, I see a line.’ So, they dropped me off. It ended up being a really fun learning experience for me with slough management. It was fun to progress through two weeks in Alaska and just work up to a line like that; it funneled into a big choke, like a couloir. To have Tanner give you props after skiing something like that, it definitely felt good.
As someone who dedicates her energy to filming, do you feel you’re getting ample support and recognition in comparison to skiers competing in slopestyle and pipe events?
I’m speaking for big-mountain skiers, specifically, but I don’t think that there’s anything wrong [in terms of exposure and support] and there’s no reason for girls to ever complain about not having the same amount of opportunities [as the men have]. If you’re not happy with how things are going, then just throw down. Ski so well that people can’t look away—so they can’t say ‘no’ and so that sponsors want to support you. Do what it takes. Make it happen, you know?
You’ve won the People’s Choice Award. You’re obviously connecting with many skiers out there—people who really appreciate what you do. How does that feel?
I’m blown away to be honest. I’m so… I don’t know… touched by the support I’m getting from friends, family and other skiers. It gives me motivation to go bigger and better in the future and keep inspiring people. I look up to every one of the girls that were nominated and to think I’m up there with them is huge to me. I’m super grateful for everyone who voted.
You’re inspiring many. Who’s inspiring you right now?
I love what Kye [Petersen] is doing. I loved his new movie [In Search] because he [incorporated] a mountaineering aspect, tricks, big lines, pillows… he literally has it all. For me, that’s where I want to take my skiing in the next few years. I don’t want to necessarily kill it in just one aspect, but bring it all together — have tricks in the bag, be confident in the park and also step into the big mountains in Alaska. I don’t want to be a one-trick pony; I want to model myself off someone like Kye.
I also really like what Cam [Riley] and Clayton [Vila] did with their film [For Lack of Better]. The way it was produced was super inspiring, in terms of what I hope to do with future edits and film projects. They really just told a hell of a good story and it made sense to the average outsider. It’s so unique. I’m not even an urban skier and if someone like me can relate to that, anyone can.
Where are you going to call home this winter?
That is a really good question. I ask myself that every day. It’s the biggest thing I don’t like about what we do. I’m a bit of a homebody and I like to have my things with me. It’s hard, to just pick up and leave every week and chase storms and weather. I’m basically going to be between Salt Lake, Alberta and British Columbia. And Alaska in the spring. And maybe go to Europe [laughs]. I’ll be all over the place.