Interview by Fréderic Magnus & Niels Vanhuffel (skisluts.be)
Video by Michiel Neyens
It's November, the season hasn't really started yet and it's grey and rainy outside while we're heading to the premier of Candide Thovex's new film, Few Words. We can all feel that winter season is kicking in and we are super stoked for the movie! About an hour before the doors opened we had a chance to talk with Candide about his new film.
Hello Mr. Thovex, what do you prefer, our questions, or a beer?
Both at the same time! (laughs)
Few Words is a pretty catchy name for a ski movie, how did you come up with it ?
I didn’t actually come up with it, it was Matt Pain, the director who came up with it. It was a way for him to describe me. It’s kind of hard for me to explain. It’s more a way of saying that we’re letting the skiing do the talking.
What was the most memorable moment while you were shooting Few Words?
Oh, there were a lot! There were a lot in terms of riding when we were in Canada or when we were riding stuff that hasn’t been ridden before. But there are also a lot of other stories that are not in the movie, like when I got bitten by a wolf or almost died in a waterfall. The camera's weren't filming at that moment.
You’ve been in a lot of ski movies, how was working on Few Words different?
Well, at the time I use to do movies with trick after trick and session after session. The goal in this movie is to document what I’ve been doing since a kid on skis. There are a lot of interviews with people and important points in my career. That was really the goal of it. We’ve been filming for two winters so it’s a documentary of those two seasons. It’s hard for me to just talk about it. I’ve seen it once and now I’m good with it. I do my speech and then I’m gone.
If you think about the beginning of your career when you won Winter X Games big air with a d-spin 900, did you ever think that freeskiing could become what it is today?
Well, maybe not at the time but now it is what it is. But you know, it’s a bit sad that it turned out this way. The spirit of the sport is more about creating your own style and creativity and not ‘spin to win’. Right now everybody is doing pretty much the same thing. If you don’t have a double cork in your trick bag, you cannot win. This takes something away from the real spirit of the sport. The way that skiing is going now, for example with the Olympics, is making the sport ‘mainstream’ and bringing it to the masses. But do we really have to be like everybody else? Back in the day the purpose of the sport was to get away from things like mogul skiing and aerials, and we got inspired by snowboarding which was more fun and creative. But today when you look at the Olympics in terms of coaching and training, it’s kind of losing the real spirit of the sport.
Over the last few years you’ve had a chance to work together with certain companies and design your own skis. Just how much were you actually involved in the design process ?
Well the thing is that I’m actually pretty bad with technical terms. I’m not really developing the ski from the ground up, but I do test my skis and give feedback about how they ski and how I want them to ski. Something I find really important about skis is the weight. So with Faction Skis we’ve been working with very special materials to try and make a ski that is lighter, but still has the properties that I want in a ski.
Now that shooting Few Words is over, what are your future plans?
I’m not sure yet. I’ve been working really hard on the movie and for now I’m still really focusing on the promotion of the movie and on the tour. So I’m not sure yet, but my general goal is to just get back on skis and make the right decisions. For example I really want to get back into park skiing, because I haven’t really done it since my back injury. I just want to see how far I can get!
So you’re mainly going to focus more on freestyle?
Not always, if there’s powder I will still go in the pow! If there’s no new snow, then you go in the park. This is what skiing really is about!
How did your injury affect your skiing?
Right after I broke my back there was more than a year that I couldn’t do anything. My first year back on skis I still had a lot of pain when skiing, every jump hurt like hell so at one point I was even asking myself if I could ever get back to my old level. So I really had to be careful with what I did. I definitely became more careful and calculated in my skiing. For example on the Freeride World Tour, I always studied my lines very carefully. I took pictures and made sure that I knew exactly where I was going. Like for the Verbier stop, it’s just really massive and full of rocks, and if you crash there you just tumble all the way down. It was also my first time there. I had been studying the face for a month, I had a ton of pictures and watched all the videos of it so I was sure I knew it by heart. Then when I heared that I was ranking second at that point, I knew that it all depended on this one run so I really pushed myself to ski this line in the central couloir which wouldn’t have been possible without the careful preparation.
Why didn’t we see you doing any more contests after that?
Well it was because of Quiksilver, they have been my sponsor for over 15 years and after I won the FWT, they came to me and told me: ok, you’ve done what you wanted to do in freestyle, now you’ve won the Freeride World Tour, now let’s do something completely different. And that was when they proposed to work on a long term video project. It was such a great opportunity from my sponsor, I couldn’t refuse it! They told me to stop doing contests and just focus on my skiing and on the movie, which was pretty much my real passion, so I was like: Okay! Let’s do this!
That sounds amazing. We have one last question, when and how will ‘Few Words’ be made available for the public?
It’s going to be available on DVD and iTunes at some point in December, right in time for Christmas! We decided to wait a bit with making it available because we didn’t want to be like The Art of Flight and have the movie available right from the first premiere. We wanted to have a real premiere!
We still have one small last question that one of our visitors wanted to ask you: “If you could be on top of a powdery mountain with three guys or on a sunny beach with three beautiful girls, what would you prefer?"
Oh that’s tough! But I think I’ll go for the top of the mountain, there’s plenty of time to go to the beach!
Thank-you for the interview Candide !
Thanks to you!
Skisluts.be would like to thank Quiksilver Benelux and Candide Thovex for the interview.