Anaïs Caradeux, we've known her for a little while now, she is competing in all the major halfpipe competitions since the age of 15... For those who need a little introduction, Anaïs comes from La Clusaz, France, she turned 21 last June and she is full of energy and joy ! In France there's always been a lot of complaining about the level difference between boys and girls in the pipe. So we decided to leave the floor to the only girl who represents the "baguette-and-smelly-cheese-nation" abroad !
Anaïs Caradeux, we've known her for a little while now, she is competing in all the major halfpipe competitions since the age of 15... For those who need a little introduction, Anaïs comes from La Clusaz, France, she turned 21 last June and she is full of energy and joy ! In France there's always been a lot of complaining about the level difference between boys and girls in the pipe. So we decided to leave the floor to the only girl who represents the "baguette and smelly cheese" nation abroad !
- Hi Anaïs ! How are you doing ?
I’m great! I had prepared « politically correct » answers at first, but I think it is time for me to speak the truth. It will probably come around eventually but nothing I haven’t been through before… And above all, I hope to help generations to come.
Anaïs, dans le lobby de l'hôtel Diva pendant les X Games Europe (P.M)
- You’re in Colorado right now, how is your early season training going?
Almost all the halfpipe skiers and snowboarders of the world are gathered here in Copper right now. (Sarah Burke, TorinYater-Wallace, Jen Hudak, Simon Dumont, Kelly Clark, Louis Vitto, Danny Davis…) It’s beginning to look like a zoo ! The halfpipe here is amazing!
- What tricks are you working on?
I have some in mind but until now I have only worked on the tricks I have already mastered in order to improve them even more. After the Grand Prix I’ll start training on the Air Bag in Vail. I’m a little superstitious so I’d rather tell everyone about my tricks when I’m sure I can actually land them on real snow!.
- What about the other girls ? Who’s going to kill it this season according to you?
I think everyone is going to have to step it up because the Olympics is approaching fast. Training is taken more seriously by everyone. There are more injuries than usual but that’s how you learn, when you get back up after a fall, right? For example Dania Assaly, who’s just back from a knew injury, threw down one of the biggest cork 9 of this season so far but unfortunately she fell on her hand and broke it. Devin Logan has amazing Alleyoop flat 5’s and Megan Gunning works on her back-to-back 9’s… All the female freeskier family is progressing fast! No doubt we’ll all be ready for the X-Games in January!
En action dans le superpipe de Tignes lors de la finale (A.P)
- You started freestyle skiing and competition when you were 15 right? What appealed you the most in this sport ?
The trips and the incredible people! But also the fact that I was good at something for once in my life! I’ve never shone at school or in any other sport. Feeling special to people’s eyes has driven my motivation into giving the best of myself and pushing my boundaries.
- You turned 21 this year and you already have a long list of achievements, travels, competitions and podiums... Has it been hard to grow up in the freeski industry?
Indeed, it’s pushed me into growing up faster! I’ve never been given anything and I’ve always been expected to act as a grown up. I made loads of mistakes, and I believe it’s fortunate that I learnt from them. But also skiing has allowed me to enlarge my horizon and I enjoy every minute of my life to the full despite all the hard work that top-level sports imply. I am really grateful I got the opportunity to live this life.
- If you look back, what would be the most important moments of your career?
Firstly there’s the day when I won the world cup in les Contamines in 2005, I was just supposed to hit the pipe first as an opener because I was not allowed to compete since I was too young. Then another great memory is when I finished 2nd between my idols Marie Martinod and Virginie Faivre for the Orage European Open in 2006. And of course there’s my bronze medal for the Tignes X Games in 2010!.
First podium for Anaïs at the Euro X Games in 2010 with Jen Hudak
- How does a season go for you? Or should I say year since you ski both during winter and summer…
In September/October I go to school (IAE in Annecy) where I study International Business. This allows me to take a break from skiing before the season starts again. Then from November to April I live in Breckenridge, Colorado with my Australian roomies Anna Segal and Davina Williams. It’s easier that way because my coach lives nearby in Vail. That’s when I compete in World Cups, Dew Tours, X-Games and I shoot with PVS or for my own videos. Then in May I come back to my Annecy’s roomies Johann Baisamy, Victor Daviet, Anouck Grau, Charlie Pitch Lichnowski for 2 intense months of studying ! In July I do as I please and in August I go eat some Kiwis in New Zealand.
- You travel a lot, you must have a lot of mile points by now (laugh)?
Indeed, I am a gold member at Air Canada and I have already had some trips for free! The funniest thing is the looks I get from business men and women when I get upgraded to first class when there’s no room left in the “livestock class” (laugh) ! But it happens too rarely to my taste…
Gold at Air Canada... Silver at Euro X Games !
- You are in the French Olympic team for the Olympics in Sochi. What has the ski federation done to help you so far?
They give a financial aid for each and everyone of us, but since I’m alone it gives me few opportunities compared to the boys who could join their money together.
There’s also a physiotherapist who follows the Freeski Project during all the winter season but I only have access to him during federal competition, so twice for this season.
Unfortunately this is nothing compared to the help my foreign athlete counterparts get from their federation like in the US or in Canada. The have a special training program in the summer time with trampoline, waterjumping… And in the winter time they have training camps all inclusive with the accommodation, the KINE, coach, technicians, nutritionists and on top of this they get paid every month ! But if they get so much it’s also because they looked for sponsors themselves for the financing, here in France we only get the left overs of Alpine skiers. Maybe it is time things change ?!
- Why don’t you train with Greg Guenet and the other french skiers Kevin Rolland, Xavier Bertoni, Ben Valentin, Thomas Krief and Joffrey Pollet Villard??
It’s not a choice I made, they never wanted me in their group. My only solution was to find a new haven land. So when I hear people saying that I think to highly of myself to train with my french fellows and that’s the reason why I train abroad, I have to admit it makes me smile… It’s never been a secret, they have no interest for female freeskiers whatsoever. Unfortunalty I believe they don’t realise how much influence the have on the french freeski scene. They are models to which youngsters and other pro or am riders look up too. They spread their scorn towards female riders around France and you’ll never witness such a thing from our American or a Canadian counterparts. Since my beginings in this sport (almost 7years) Greg and his group – and other riders from the french scene – make it very clear to me that they had no respect for me whatsoever as a pro athlete nor for any other female rider. As far as I’m concerned, I only showed respect and consideration to them over the years. But lately it’s gone a little bit to far…
- What do you want more between becoming an Olympic gold medalist or a X-Games gold medalist ?
What a question, I want both of course ! On the one hand an Olympic gold medal will have a greater impact on sponsorship opportunities coming from outside the ski industry. But on the other hand, I think a gold medal at the X-Games will always affect more the real extreme sport addicts.?
- I’ve heard about your project to go to Japan, can you tell us more about this ?
Yes we talked about it this summer with Miyuki (pipe skier). She told me about how the reconstruction of Japan was going on. I noticed that after a couple of months journalist didn’t fancy any longer mentioning Japan’s physical and moral struggle to rebuild. In the freeski industry Japan is very famous for its powdery and light snow and it’s Virgin landscapes. That’s the reason why I have decided to gather around me four of the best female skiers in the world so that we can set up a relief project and edit a ski movie about Japan. In addition to helping rebuild the area in Miyuki’s hometown we would like to contribute reviving tourism. Franck Marchand from the production company « Flyprod » and Joséphine Bigo are really helping me on this project. By the way, if ever you are interested in this project you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org !
- In 2010 you launched the « Chicks Do It Too » in La Clusaz, why didn’t you continue this advdenture ?
As any other good idea, mine was taken and peped up last year by a company with greater resources, on the same dates and with the same athletes I had planned on inviting. But I’m really happy to see that in a way I contributed into making a change. I’m sure that the Nine Queens will be a great success again this year !