Australia’s Segal sisters have had a good season. Slopestyle pro Anna Segal, 25, podiumed at both 2012 Winter X Games events capturing a bronze in Aspen and a silver in Tignes. Anna was also invited to the honorary Red Bull Cold Rush in Silverton, CO. Her younger sister and big-mountain skier Natalie, 23, clinched a first place finish last week at the Moonlight Basin Freeskiing World Tour qualifer, earning her pre-qualification for all of 2012/2013 stops.
Last week, we caught up with Anna and Nat—who are usually a world apart these days—over a dueling Skype session:
Anna, Nat getting the goods.
“No revenge tactics here,” says Anna Segal, who was in California at the time.
“Just because you’re evil doesn’t mean I am,” says sister Natalie, who’s stationed in Salt Lake City.
Through their giggling and teasing, they explain that the last time they were interviewed together Anna spilled some embarrassing beans about her younger sister.
The girls grew up skiing at Mt. Buller, three hours out of Melbourne, Australia. Anna began racing at age 7, and Nat followed suit in true sibling fashion. Eventually Anna gravitated towards freestyle, and little sis' was not far behind. They were competitive mogul skiers, and Anna was on a national development team. Nat continued to follow in her older sister's footsteps, and eventually they both began competiting in park competitions on the side.
Both agree that Anna excelled in the air, while Nat was a graceful, technically sound skier. As Anna’s air sense progressed and big sponsors began knocking at her door, Nat refocused her interest. She randomly picked up and moved to Chamonix for a season. There, she took a crevassing course and decided that big-mountain skiing fit better with her style and goals.
HOW DO YOUR PARENTS FEEL HAVING TWO DAUGHTERS WHO RISK LIFE AND LIMB FOR A LIVING?
Anna: We got Mom on Facebook so she could catch up on us. I’ve had a lot more injuries than Nat has—touch wood—so after the second time I blew my knee, my mom was trying to coax me out of skiing as a career. After she saw that I could make a career out of it, she got better. She’s been a bit more relaxed with Nat, because she went through it all with me. We explain to her it’s calculated risk.
Nat: She’ll always ask me, ‘have you checked the avi report today?’ She has her own way of dealing with it. She tells us ‘good luck.’ Our dad is pretty funny as well. Part of our family doesn’t ski and when we show him pictures of what we do he’s like, ‘I didn’t see it like that!’
Anna: My dad watched me compete for the first time at X Games this year. He said he had to take a Vicodin so he wouldn’t pass out.
Nat Segal takes 1st place at the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour qualifier at Moonlight Basin.
HOW ARE YOUR DISCIPLINES DIFFERENT, HOW ARE THEY ALIKE?
Anna: I like to think of skiing as skiing. But you’re always after that little bit of adrenaline. At the end of the day you get a feeling of achievement from learning something new or conquering fear. We are both addicted to that little bit of progression.
Nat: Both are really similar. Even though you do it so much differently, we’re both picking a line, we’re both choosing how we’re doing things, we’re both hitting features. One time before a comp I was nervous, so she [Anna] told me what she does before her comp runs, and how she thought about every trick. You can pretty much copy and paste it into big-mountain in some ways. It’s focusing on what you’re doing and thinking about your next hit. And they’re pretty much judged the same way.
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU WATCH EACH OTHER COMPETE?
Nat: I’m always nervous and she’s always nice and mellow so it just chills me out. I know she won’t get hurt, because she has her shit dialed. I just get nervous because I want her to do well. Have you seen her Dew Tour run? It’s pretty much the best I’ve ever seen Anna do. She did a right 7 to a cork 9 and I was at the bottom with my mouth hanging open. I’ve always been so impressed with her skiing.
Anna: I actually haven’t been to one of her comps yet, but I always watch the live feed online. I know how much work she puts into it. And I know that the judging can be difficult. They're both judged sports. I just always ask her if she skied like she wanted to, because that’s all the matters.
Winter X Games Tignes 2012: Anna Segal slopestyle silver.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE TO WATCH TOGETHER?
Anna: Blue Crush. We used to play our favorite segments over and over again. Especially the girl power parts. I’d get all amped up about how I was going to show the boys.
HOW OLD WERE YOU?
Anna: [Laughs] 18.
SO YOU BOTH SURF, TOO?
Nat: Yeah, we try, [laughs], we boogie boarded a lot, too.
Anna: I finally learned when I was 16, probably after watching Blue Crush. And then Nat got into it. Kook!
Nat: Kook means gaper surfer.
Anna: Natalie thinks it’s cool to wear goggles surfing. [Laughs].
OK, LET'S TALK DIRT REAL' QUICKLY. DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRETS ABOUT YOUR SISTER? NAT, YOU FIRST.
Nat: We were on holiday in Beijing when we were really young and Anna pooed in the pool. [Laughs].
Anna: And they had to evacuate the pool! I was two though.
ANNA, YOUR TURN FOR SWEET REVENGE.
Anna: So when I was, like, 15 and Nat was 13, she has bigger boobs than me. My friends and I wanted to party, so we dressed her up in my hussy clothes, gave her our mom’s high heels and put red lipstick on her… and it worked. She bought us liquor at age 13.
NAT, IT SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE THE SKILLS TO BE COMPETITIVE WITH THE NEW TURN BIG-MOUNTAIN IS TAKING, I.E. INCORPORATING TRICKS INTO THE FREESKIING WORLD TOUR JUDGING FORMAT AND ALLOWING FEATURES TO BE BUILT IN THE VENUE?
Nat: Yeah, I guess I do. I spin most days when I’m freeskiing, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be doing it in the comps. But, it is a big risk. You have to decide between putting down a clean line that you know you can do or maybe crashing. Jackie Paaso has been really good about that, she said in a recent article that she’d rather progress the sport than podium. I think we need more of that. Something I always think about is Sarah [Burke]'s halfpipe run last year [Winter X 2011]; after so many years of perfecting it, she got it.
Anna: Sarah’s a really good example of that, even though she has all this pressure to stomp her stock run that she could’ve won with, she wanted to progress the sport. She kept trying back to back flairs and alley-oop fives, she kept doing it until all her work finally paid off even though she didn’t do well at a couple of X Games.
Nat: It’s kind of hard, and for Anna there is pressure to podium at every comp', for me I want to travel to places and I also need to do well. And that’s why I have so much respect for the girls—and guys—that do that.
Anna: I hope that the younger girls can get a hold of movies like Propaganda. Sarah crashes over and over again and it showed me that if you’re going to get better you’ve gotta' be able to fall, too.
Anna sends a flatspin 3. Photo cred: Dan Carr.
Anna's Sponsors: K2, Bolle, POW Gloves, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Full Tilt, Vis, Icebreaker, Widsix, Marker.
Anna's Results: 2nd place Euro X Games 2012—Tignes, France, 4th Place U.S. Grand Prix—Mammoth, Calif., 2nd place Winter Dew Tour—Snowbasin, Utah, 3rd Place, Winter X 2012—Aspen, CO.
Nat's Sponsors: Volkl, Marker, Dalbello, Icebreaker, POC, SOS, Hestra.
Nat's Results: 1st 2012 Freeskiing World Tour Qualifier, Moonlight Basin, MT 2012, 12th 2011 North American Freeskiing Championships, Snowbird, UT, 2nd 2011 FWQ 4*, Export 33 Extremes, Whakapapa, NZ 2011 3rd FWQ 3* K2 Big Mountain Chill Series, Mt Olympus, NZ 2011 5th World Heli Challenge, Wanaka, NZ 2011 6th US Freeskiing World Championships, Snowbird 2010 3rd Rip Curl Freeride Pro, Thredbo, Australia