I don’t mean that he has to be your hero. I don’t even mean that he actually is your hero. But if you were to pick someone to be your hero, there are few like Candide Thovex.
First, let’s establish one thing: Candide Thovex IS human. He’s made of the same material that each and every one of us is made of. He lives in a house (sometimes), speaks his native language of French, and puts food in his mouth just like you do.
But that’s where the similarities really start to taper off.
When you view one of his videos, whether it be one of the early Rastafaride episodes, the sensational Few Words documentary, or One of those days, you’re not just watching another film with a skier in it. You are watching a man who has dedicated his life to the mountains and his skis. A dedication comprised of moving dynamically with the slope, learning how to interact with fluids in their various forms, and understanding what the mountain will allow while pushing those limits as far as naturally possible.
If you’re still lost at this point, follow this link to One of those days 2.
Candide doesn’t just ski the mountain, he rides with it’s natural curvature and pulls energy through his frame in ways people can only attempt to emulate. None are as smooth, as forgiving, or as in-tune as this skier from the small town of La Clusaz.
A born innovator in his ability to link turns and airs in an effortless nature-driven ballroom display. He is as much a storyteller as he is a skier. His form of speech flows through his skis and if you pay close attention you may be able to hear his voice through the lines he paints in the snow. His subtlety with words allows his riding to speak for him, in large swathes as he transitions from powder to kicker, and ridgeline to bump-field. His story is our story. His story is the story of skiing as he continues to push the boundaries of the sport.
Candide is a wake-up call to the world.
His storytelling does not end with his skis. He’s a shaper of film, a creative mastermind in-front of and behind the lens. He routinely lets the world into his mind, releasing jaw-dropping clips to the millions of skiers and non-skiers who view his videos. He not only appears in these segments though—he is the idea-man, the surveyor, the landscaper, the builder, the planner, the director, the editor, and the producer.
He’s an undercover celebrity—an example of modern-day mystery. Humility and showmanship in an unsuspecting package. He’s an example of pushing the boundaries in ways that we don’t even dream of, from his earliest D-spin 720 over chad’s gap to the infamous Big Bertha that broke his back and sent him into the backcountry. He’s an example of triumph in the face of outstanding adversity as he conquered the world stage of freeriding only 3 years after an injury that not only almost killed him, but should have crippled him and his career. Watch his Freeride World Tour Chamonix run here.
Candide is a wake-up call to the world. This is what humans are capable of when we push ourselves and trust our inner-drive. This is how far we can advance our disciplines when we are determined to do more. This is what heroes are made of. This is the spirit that drives us.
Candide is certainly human in both mental characteristics and physical make-up, yet he takes the human experience to it’s full potential. He is an example of what IS possible. He embodies the spirit that Warren Miller left behind, and then some. He takes what we know and then pushes it in a direction we didn’t think to consider. “Yeah, okay, you take your skis and ride them on grass and rocks and see what happens“. He sees what is currently being done and says that there is another way that noone has thought of.
Tell me that’s not what you want in your heroes!
Warren Miller once said, among many things, “adventure is the invitation for common people to become uncommon”. If you are still unfamiliar or unconvinced and have some time, watch Few Words because it will truly give you a different perspective of what this man is about.
Anyone of us can be a hero, and some of us have everyday heroes walking in and out of our lives. I pray that every one of your heroes embody at least some of these qualities, skier or not. That they too strive to push the limits. That they too speak louder through their actions than their words and act with humility over bravado. That they follow the energy that moves in all of us.
Maybe we’re not all that different. Maybe the only difference is that most of us won’t follow our inner drive, our true spirit. That most of us will not follow our inner Candide.