We’re excited to announce that Tatum Monod is the 2017 female Skier of the Year (SOTY), as voted by her peers.
To determine the winners, we contacted over 200 of the most talented and knowledgeable professional skiers out there and had them rank the five athletes they felt had the best 2016-17 ski season. “Best season” is a term open to interpretation, but we ask the athletes to think about a few things, including, but not limited to, film segments, web series and edits, contest results, magazine exposure and overall impact in regards to spreading skiing stoke and growth.
Each nomination (1-5) corresponds with a point value: A #1 pick earns 10 points, a #2 pick earns five points and so on. Thereby, if a particular skier shows up consistently in the #3 or #4 slot, they’d still have a shot at faring well in the final tally. There were no restrictions on nominations; skiers were able to throw any and all names in the ring.
Monod took top honors this year by a landslide. This marks the third time Monod has earned SOTY distinction; the Banff, Alberta-native earned Skier of the Year honors in 2014 and “People’s Choice” in 2015, as well. [Note: SOTY People’s Choice, which once co-existed with “Riders’ Choice,” was discontinued in 2015.] Monod earns the award this year largely for her performance in Level 1’s feature-length film, Habit; her segment from the film is embedded below. Before ringing in 2018, we caught up with Monod to discuss her new crown, the season gone by and also what’s next for the skiing superstar.
Q&A with the 2017 female Skier of the Year, Tatum Monod
Your segment in Level 1’s Habit is a stunning visual representation of your 2017 skiing highlights. How do you feel about the segment?
I’m really stoked on the direction I took with my skiing last season, learning how to incorporate hits off of natural features and at the end of the season, bringing that same idea into big-mountain lines in Alaska. Before my crash I was on top of the world… I was working really hard, having an incredible season and I had never felt better on my skis.
That injury [suffered at the end of the 2016-17 ski season] was severe and has required extensive therapy. Dropping into steep Alaska lines is “difficult.” So too is coming back from an injury. How does the challenge of mending your body stack up to other challenges you’ve faced?
This injury has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever been faced with both mentally and physically. It’s been nine months post surgery and I still have yet to get on skis. I have put so much work into my rehab. I know things will come around, I just need to constantly remind myself that my injury is complex, so, patience is key. I will get my days in later this season when I’m 100 percent.
Do you feel that you’ll harbor a sense of hesitation as you ski in the future?
Physically, I hope to get to a point where I am not feeling pain in my knee anymore and I’m not feeling hesitant. Mentally, I know I have a long way to go in regaining my confidence. I would be lying if I said that crash didn’t shake me.
You had a cameo in the Sherpas Cinema short “Imagination,” where you were hitting urban rails alongside the likes of Tom Wallisch. You’re known for your big-mountain and backcountry skiing, what was it like to work on a project that was so different from the ones you usually work on?
It’s hilarious to think I went on an urban skiing trip last season. It’s just so far from what I normally do, but I honestly loved every minute of it… even all the shoveling. It was an honor to be a part of JP [Auclair]’s vision and the Sherpas are amazing to work with. Seeing [Tom] Wallisch in his element was amazing. He is so incredibly talented and hardworking, yet so humble and gracious.
Earlier you touched on the idea of incorporating more and more tricks off of natural hits into your repertoire. What has your process been to get more comfortable with these maneuvers?
A lot of it comes down to having an eye for seeing this type of terrain. Usually when you get to a potential filming or skiing zone, one or two prominent lines will stand out, but if you look closely and think on a smaller scale, I find that a lot of natural hits and features will present themselves. Then it’s just a matter of trying it and getting used to softer, imperfect take-offs.
Looking around at the ladies who are excelling in their professional skiing careers, are there any individuals who are inspiring you more than others?
The level of women’s skiing has never been so high. It’s incredible to witness and be a part of that progression. I will always look up to Michelle Parker for the diversity she brings to her skiing and her ability to come back from injury.
How about on the men’s side… who gets you fired up?
Logan Pehota fires me up! Did you see his skiing in Numinous?!
Speaking of Numinous… Kye Petersen took home the title of SOTY this year, as well. Can you comment on Kye’s 2017 performance?
In my opinion Kye is the best skier out there right now. Everything from his mountaineering approach to super-tech lines, going massive off of step downs and ‘natty’ hits, gnarly pillow lines… his overall ability is just on another level. Numinous is an incredible representation of that. He has always been really supportive of my skiing which means the world to me.
Where do you find inspiration, outside of skiing? Additionally, from whom do you draw inspiration outside of skiing?
I find myself looking at the ladies on the snowboard side for inspiration. They are very playful with their riding and often shredding similar terrain to me, which is very relatable. I also look to surfers like Stephanie Gilmore who is incredibly powerful yet has style that can’t be touched.
Fishing is a huge part of your life. Can you shed some light on how this sport and pastime provides fulfillment for you?
There is something about being on a river, interacting with nature and the fish that provides me with so much fulfillment. Observing how a fish reacts to a fly, selecting which fly to use on any given day, where a trout likes to sit in the river, perfecting the cast… there is always more to learn about fly fishing.
Can you shed some light on the gear you’re currently using? What are your absolute go-to essentials on the mountain?
My Summit L3 Ventrix Jacket, by The North Face, is the mid layer I’m wearing on a daily basis. It’s super lightweight, warm and breathable. The Oakley Flight Deck XM is my go-to goggle and the Rossignol BlackOps has been an absolute game-changer of a ski for me.
As 2017 draws to a close, what are the main goals you’ve set in place for the year ahead, as far as your skiing goes?
My goal is simply to get back to where I left off with my skiing before my crash, on both a physical and mental level, and then exceed that.
Any exciting New Year resolutions, perhaps non-related to skiing?
Yes, to continue to learn and grow as an individual.