Firsts Tatum Monod

Firsts with Tatum Monod

Firsts with Tatum Monod


Despite coming from a long line of skiers (her grandfather, a Swiss mountain guide, founded a speciality ski shop in Banff, Alberta back in 1949 that still operates today, and her father, a ski racer, excelled at the World Cup level) Canada’s own Tatum Monod didn’t pick up skiing until the age of 12. Yet, she won ski races in her very first year competing and when she made the switch to freeskiing, she won the qualifiers and took second place overall at a Freeride World Tour event in Revelstoke, British Columbia—her very first big-mountain contest.

Monod skied her way to FREESKIER’s Skier of the Year status (Riders’ Choice, 2014; People’s Choice, 2015) and nothing seemed to slow her down, until knee injuries ended her ski seasons in both 2016 and 2017. After a summer’s worth of rehabilitation and with physical therapy ongoing, Monod is eager to make the most of winter ‘17-18 and “come back stronger than ever.” Having been away from the ski hill, we caught up with her to discuss all of the FIRSTS she’s looking forward to this season, and more.

AGE: 25
HOMETOWN: Banff, Alberta, Canada
SPONSORS: Red Bull, The North Face, Rossignol, Oakley, YETI, Monod Sports

The first time I click into my skis each season… I re-discover the feeling that brings me the most happiness.

The first thing I do in the morning… is attempt to meditate, which usually causes me to fall back asleep. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

The first time I landed a backflip was… in 2009. I built a booter with some friends outside of Sunshine Village resort, I hiked up the in-run as far as I could and just hucked it.
I didn’t spot my landing and I’m pretty sure I even had my eyes closed, but I somehow managed to land perfectly on my feet.

The first resort I would recommend to skiers is… Whistler Blackcomb. The resort has so much to offer, including amazing inbounds terrain, great ski touring right off the resort and amazing terrain parks to lap on a bluebird day.

The first ski film I ever watched was… MSP Films’ Yearbook. I remember seeing Sarah [Burke] and Ingrid [Backstrom] in there and wanting to be just like them. Years later I was skiing around Revelstoke resort with Ingrid, I was so stoked I immediately called my dad to tell him. [Laughs]

The first ski film I ever appeared in was… Level 1 Productions’ Less. Level 1 had only ever put a few women in its films and I remember Josh Berman [Level 1 founder] looking at me like I was a bit crazy when I told him I wanted to be in his movies. I had never attempted to put together a film segment before. We agreed that any worthy shots I captured would be used in the upcoming film.

The first sponsor I ever had was… Orage, for outerwear. The company signed me in 2011 after my first-ever Freeride World Tour performance, in Revelstoke. Shortly afterwards I got an invite from Orage to shoot at Retallack Lodge with Banks [Gilberti], Charlie Ager, [the late] JP Auclair, [photographer] Blake Jorgenson and the Orage team manager [and former pro skier], Mike Nick. I had never been on a film trip before and I remember being pretty intimidated. Some of my favorite memories ever were created on that trip, like JP teaching me how to “get the shot” with Blake and then the following year, also at Retallack, JP teaching me how to do a double backflip. He took me under his wing and he was so encouraging.

The place I’d like to have first tracks at is… the Stove Pipe, at Retallack.

The first time I realized I could be a pro skier I felt… totally confused. My teachers told me I would never make it in life without a college degree.

The first time I seriously injured myself was… this year in Alaska. I planned to catch some air in the middle of my line, off of a glacial ‘chunk.’ It looked good to go from the heli and the turns leading up to the air were super deep, which gave me confidence that the landing would be, too. I sent it as big as I could and when I landed it was like concrete. Looking back, I think it was so steep there that the snow just constantly sloughs off of the landing, leaving the glacial ice exposed. The heli was hovering overhead, which can be quite noisy, but upon landing I clearly remember hearing my ACL snap. The tumbling down the rest of the face was what did the real damage, though. I blew my MCL, LCL, medial and lateral meniscus, suffered a bone bruise on my femur and fractured my tibia. My knee was locked in a bent position because my meniscus was lodged into where my ACL should be. That was by far the worst pain I’d ever felt and the worst experience of my life.

The first huge mistake I ever made in my life was… not listening to my gut when it told me strongly not to drop into that line.

The first thing I grab before going skiing is… snacks and a Red Bull. I get extremely hypoglycemic [low blood sugar.] When this happens I am completely useless and feel like I could die right then and there. It happened to me one time biking and I physically couldn’t walk, I had zero energy to even stand. I had to hitch for a ride, I felt pretty pathetic.

The first book I recommend to people is… How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.

The first time I can ever remember being truly terrified of something… was when Red Bull took myself and a few other athletes to Los Angeles for a performance camp. We did all kinds of things that pushed our comfort levels, like public speaking, underwater breath holding, acting on stage and bomb defusing. At the end of the camp we had to crawl through a box while blindfolded and attempt to make it to the other side. In the box were three pythons. I completely panicked as soon as my hand grazed one of the snakes. I never did make it to the other side…

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