As some of you may have noticed, my summer has not been devoted to skiing.
I’ve been to Greece to attend the International Olympic Academy, I’ve enjoyed some vacation and I’ve spent quality time with friends and family, but mostly I’ve been reflecting on my career. I still love my sport just as much as I did when I started mogul skiing at 12 years old, but it is time for me to move on to new life challenges.
To be honest, transitioning from my athlete life to the next chapter definitely feels weird, but is also very exciting. The whole summer felt like I was floating between two parts of my life, and there was nothing I could do to shake that feeling, except immerse myself in it.
As an athlete, I knew my schedule in detail, a year in advance. Now, things aren’t as clear all the time. Planning is up to me, and it’s okay. It’s an interesting feeling, no longer having anyone watching over my shoulder, no coaches setting my plan for the day. I am my own boss now.
I must admit that my biggest challenge is finding new ways to get the adrenaline rush I got from skiing. Only time can tell how that will go. It will be different, but being an intense person, I will find new ways to get high on life.
I’m curious about the outside world. Mogul skiing is a small community. I have lived alongside the best in my field. I know pretty much everyone there is to know in moguls. Now I’m out in the wild, starting from the bottom, climbing my way up in completely new areas of life.
Let’s talk about getting out of your comfort zone. The toughest adjustment will be no longer training, skiing and traveling with my sisters. Watching them train together still pinches my heart. We will certainly always be sisters, and we have many projects in the making, and we want to explore our creative sides through different projects. So even if we aren’t on the slopes together anymore, we’re working together. That is very important for me. And of course, I’m their biggest fan and cheering squad now.
Transitioning from competition felt lonely for a while, but I have so much support around me, especially from my family. Chloé and Justine know I’m ready to move on, and my parents have been listening to me with so much love. I owe my family so much. My journey in mogul skiing would not have been the same without them. Every step of the way was simply more fun, sharing with my sisters. I’ve always admired Justine’s strength of character and Chloé’s finesse. Thank you Djoubie, thank you Coco, from the bottom of my heart.
While I’m at it, a heartfelt thank you to all my sponsors who supported and believed in me as an athlete and a person. We had a long and fun-filled relationship, which is all any athlete could ask for. You played a massive role in all my success on the slopes, and I’m truly grateful.
I also need to thank four special people: Paul Gagne, my physical trainer who was the mastermind behind my fitness. I give him all the credit for my healthy career. Coach Jean-Paul Richard made me a better athlete, and a better person. Jacques Forest, my sport psychologist, helped me find my own voice and discover how my mind works.
My uncle, speed skater Patrick Dufour, was the first one in my family to believe in me. He found my first corporate sponsor. His optimism powered my Olympic dream.
I’ve had a pretty amazing career. It was in Vancouver in 2010, deeply moved by the Olympic spirit, that I decided I wanted to become an Olympian. Sochi, four years later was my defining moment. And well, we all know what happened. I was 12th, Justine and Chloe winning gold and silver. History. I’ll never forget it. And four years later, in Pyeongchang, I played a supporting role again, cheering for my sisters, helping them in any way I could so they would be on top of their game.
It sounds funny, but I appreciate the hardest moments in my career. For sure, those are when I learned the most. Going back to Norams in 2011, after being on the World Cup tour, that was tough, but it made me reconnect with my sport. Getting stuck between 10th and 16th place in 2012 and 2013 pushed me to open up with my coaches, work as a team and overcome my fear of failure. That’s when I finally started performing to the best of my ability.
During this last four year cycle, I also had to adapt to new coaches, fight through my mom’s cancer, deal with my own chronic pain, and finally come back from hip surgery. It’s been challenging but I’ve become a better skier and learned so much about myself from it. I can say that sport definitely has been a school of life.
All challenges aside, I have to savour the moment in 2016 when my sisters and I owned the entire podium at the freestyle ski World Cup at Quebec's Val Saint-Côme. That was the cherry on the sundae of my career. That’s why it was all worth it.
(Watch in the video below as the Dufour-Lapointe sisters talk about their unprecedented freestyle moguls sweep)
Doing a back full in competition is part of my legacy in the sport. The whole process of adding the jump was long and challenging, mentally and physically, but nailing a run with that jump was the most incredible joy. I’m excited to see how the sport will develop. Some rule changes will make it easier for women to do back fulls and cork720s. I’ll be watching.
Another new development, my lifelong dream to become a doctor, is one step closer. I have been accepted in medicine at the University of Montreal. After the long and intense selection process, when I finally got accepted, I cried with joy.
I knew that was a defining moment and I celebrated with my family. I have always been fascinated by the human body, and I will find my place within the medical field.
Transitioning is really about finding a new balance in life and challenging myself under new circumstances. It’s a little intimidating, but I am ready and excited to start my new journey. There is so much I’ll miss, but I guess that’s the beauty of life. To fly, you’ve got to take the leap. So cheers to everything that lies ahead.
Thank you everyone for your love and support. I got into mogul skiing as an energetic little girl and I leave my sport as a fully grown woman — one with a very grateful heart.
(Top and third large photos submitted by Maxime Dufour-Lapointe; Second large photo by Todd Korol/Canadian Press)
The Maxime Dufour-Lapointe edition
Q: The best book you've ever read?
A: The Harry Potter series.
Q: Must-listen Podcast?
A: I’ve actually never listened to a podcast.
Q: Best advice you ever received?
A: Getting out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
Q: If your life was a movie, what would it be called?
A: One step forward.
Q: What is a skill you wish you had?
Q: What's something no one would guess about you?
A: I love horse riding. I did my western classes and I’m now learning dressage. Next, I want to do show jumping.
Q: If you could have the ultimate influential dinner party, who are the six people you'd invite?
A: I have seven: Serena and Venus Williams, Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiara Ferragni, Danièle Henkel, Eric Lamaze.
Q: What makes you cry, every time?
A: Cute baby pugs, cute romantic movie scene or fou rire with my sisters.
Q: What's the next goal you want to accomplish?
A: Having a balanced life as a medical student and learn show jumping.