Candide Thovex has a Few Words
About his movie, recovery, and getting back in the park
Few Words, the much-anticipated, Quiksilver-produced documentary about one of freeskiing’s unrivaled legends, Candide Thovex, premiered in France last week. For those unfamiliar with Thovex’s career, the Frenchman has a long list of accolades. At 15, he rolled into Little Cottonwood Canyon and became the first person to clear Chad’s Gap, even before Chad Zurinskas had done so. In 2003, he won gold in three different X Games disciplines—Big Air, Slopestyle, and Halfpipe—in a fabled head-to-head duel with CR Johnson. He’s painted his own event, the Candide Invitational, and countless movie segments with his signature D-spins, tail grabs, and unrivaled cat-like grace. Finally, when he recovered from a broken back suffered in 2007 and won the overall Freeride World Tour in 2010, his longtime sponsor Quiksilver decided it was time he got his own film.
Few Words is the result. Shot in Canada, Alaska, and Europe, the film highlights Candide’s renaissance as a big-mountain skier. It’s more of a documentary than the other much-hyped Quiksilver project, The Art of Flight. It covers Candide since he was a kid, using archived footage from his many segments and contest appearances, and interviews with the master himself along with others who have witnessed and influenced him along his career. The film premiered in Paris on October 20th, and is currently touring around Europe. Quiksilver plans to release the film on major European networks and tour it through a few select North American locales at the end of November.
Are you happy with how the film came out?
I am. It’s always difficult when you’re talking about yourself the whole time, you know? In Europe, for more mainstream people who aren’t skiers, the film still works, so it’s pretty interesting. Quiksilver really wanted to do something that went…wider.
Who filmed the movie?
The first year I filmed with my friend Simon Favier (who made the Candide Kamera series), and then he had to film with another project, so Matt Pain came on. He used to do only snowboard movies—he didn’t really know about skiing or know me very well, either. It was good, since it was a documentary, to have an external vision.
What were some of the tougher times you guys had?
This winter, we were in Austria, and I fell in a waterfall, and that was a tough time. I was on top of it; it just broke and fell on me. I spent like half an hour under it. It was kind of a black hole, with four or five meters of snow on top. It was intense. I was really close to getting drowned. We needed a few days of rest after that.
How has your injury changed how you approach skiing?
Yeah, actually, when I broke my back, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I used to do too many things, like filming and contests and my event, so I was kind of losing the pleasure of skiing at one point. When I broke my back, I stopped my event and I stopped a lot of things. I just wanted to get back to the basics, which was skiing. So I just went out there and into the powder to see how my back was feeling, because I could not ski in the park—it was too painful.
At first every smallest bump on the slope hurt me and was really painful. You stay confident but after awhile, you say “maybe I’m never going to be able to do anything at all.” At one point, I was super mentally down. And then I started really jumping a year and a half after the injury, and had been working with a physio to get stronger muscles, and then that next winter we filmed the first Candide Kamera. It was a way for me to come back after breaking my back and put some good shots together, and that was kind of a rebirth for me, you know?
Do see yourself getting back into contests or running the Candide Invitational again this year?
What’s really been itching me has been to get back into park. I haven’t really been back—maybe I’ve done one or two weeks since 2007. Skiing for me is not just park or powder, it’s everything, and we are lucky enough that we have a sport where we can do everything. And the event that I used to run at the time—it’s maybe something I’m going to get back with. Contests are something I’m thinking of, but for now, I just want to get back into the park and not wonder too much.
Few Words will be announcing North American tour dates soon on Facebook. The film will be available on DVD and on iTunes in early December.
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