It’s tough to imagine being as good at anything as Candide Thovex is at skiing. At 41 years old, he’s been in the game for a long time, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Just a few of his accolades include X Games Golds and a Freeride World Tour championship, but one gets the feeling from his edits that he’s not skiing for glory.
He’s a different breed of skier. Endlessly creative and completely fearless, he’ll lay down lines that no one else can fathom. He’ll take his skis to wave pools, ski through lodges, and huck himself off just about anything with a landing.
Born in Annecy, France, in 1982, Thovex first began skiing at the age of two. His first taste of skiing was as a toddler in the Aravis region of the French Alps, and by the time he was four, he was building jumps in the snow behind his house. A year later, at the tender age of five, he joined a local ski club. Fast forward a few years to his early teens, and he pocketed his first French National Junior Championship in the mogul division. He was only 14. A year later, he signed his first professional sponsorship contract with Quiksilver and truly began his career as a professional skier.
Sometime in late ’90s, he got the nickname “the Flying Frenchman.” It suited him perfectly, and at the 2000 Gravity Games in Mammoth, he lived up to it by winning the Big Air Contest. The next year, he stuck what’s now called “the jump heard around the world.” It was a 110-foot cork 540 tail grab that looked nearly impossible. And to make it even more impressive, he was on the tail end of a relatively bad knee injury after he shredded the cruciate ligaments in his left knee. For someone like Thovex, though, down time isn’t really an option. He shifted his energy from skiing to making movies and became a prolific filmmaker.
After pushing the boundaries of what was possible for so long, fate finally caught up to Thovex in 2007 when he crashed on a jump named Big Bertha in the French Alps. It was one of the largest kickers ever sculpted, and that crash looked as though it would end his career. He broke his back, his knee, both hands, and lost consciousness. Doctors said he might never ski again, but Thovex didn’t listen.
Now, he’s fully recovered. His injuries don’t appear to have taken a toll on his body, and he’s still going full speed into every run he makes.