If you’re a chick who’s into her winter sports, chances are you’ve already heard of Maude ‘’MAAD’’ Raymond! Born and raised in the province of Quebec, Canada, and having freestyle skied professionally for roughly ten years now, Maude is one badass woman that ain’t afraid of heights!
Sitting by the beach in Nicaragua, I called Raymond in the hills of Whistler – where she spends most of her winter time – to find out a bit more about this rad individual. Here, I learn that being a professional athlete means much more than just being paid to compete. We talk about her experience outgrowing the competition box and I get to hear a bit about what it means to make a living out of her favourite sport.
But first, let’s throw it back a little to Maude’s background.
Back in her younger days Maude would train and compete in ski racing on the weekends and springboard diving on the weekdays. At one point she found herself having to choose between the two disciplines, and she surprisingly chose the water sport, where she ended up practising Olympic diving for about 12 years.
“I liked it and I was performing well, I guess,” she recalls.
“But somehow I always felt like the black sheep of the team.”
When she was 18, things took a new spin. As most of us have experienced during our late teenage years, she hit that moment where she started to question if that specific discipline was what she really wanted to be doing. She took off to Whistler for two weeks to visit her brother who was freeskiing out there, looking for a breath of fresh air. And it was there that something clicked. Maude called home, cancelled everything and decided she just wanted to stay out West and ski. Sometimes big leaps of faith create big momentum, and Maude’s freestyle skiing career kicked off quickly, attracting sponsors and beginning competing within that first season.
“I was old when this all started!” Maude laughs.
“I mean, 18 years old is kinda old to start freestyle skiing. But when you commit one hundred per cent to something, everything is possible! Plus, I had a good background. It was the perfect combination between ski racing and the acrobatics of diving. I fell in love with this new sport and the lifestyle that surrounds it.”
“When I started freestyle skiing I didn’t have a coach – neither do I today – and there was so little girls in the discipline. I was new, I was free and I wasn’t scared. I was just passionate ! So I would go on the hills super pumped, I was having fun trying to go bigger and higher and basically try everything since I was inspired by the boys… but my body wasn’t specifically trained for this, and with my hereditary weaknesses in the knees, I broke myself ! I’ve had soooo many major injuries, mostly my knees I mean, and even broke my back at some point… It has just changed the course of my life. ”
“Everytime you need to get a new surgery, it is a heartbreak. Getting knees surgeries is so damn painful, and not only do you lose your muscles during the recovery period, but you also lose credibility with your sponsors, you lose the momentum you’ve been building, your lose confidence and basically you lose your mind ’cause it takes such a long time to be back on top of your game.”
She tells me that while the surgeries did slow her down in some ways, she never let it stop her. It was during this time she was forced to stay off the hills that she would focus 150% on indoor training, being extra healthy and especially work on her MAAD signature collabs and her brand that started to see the light of day.
If you are already following her, you’ve clearly noticed that the girl always rocks a mad steeze, plus she is passionate about designing, branding and creating! So she started collaborating with her favorite companies and sponsors to create relevant outdoor clothing; hoodies, mits, jacket, hats, googles, etc.
With all this motion in her life, came a point where Maude didn’t feel like her heart was driving her towards the competition grounds & schedule anymore. So it’s been 2 seasons now that she’s off the circuit, free to travel where she wants and focus more on producing short movies, because after all, that’s what really sparks her creativity.
As you can imagine, her career and her taste for adventure keeps her on the road a lot, always chasing the best places and homies to shred with. That’s undoubtedly what explains the name of her latest teaser for her web-episode, which might just give you chills.
When she’s not in Whistler, Maude has a few other favourite places; Mammoth Mountain in California, Colorado, Utah, Japan and Montreal – where she grew up + her family & boyfriend live, and where she is also currently studying business one session per year at HEC.
“Where would you call home ?” I asked her.
“My car!” she says.
“I usually drive everywhere with it throught Canada and USA. I’ve been doing the drive between Montreal and the West Coast and Montreal and Utah / Cali / Colorado every year. Once at destination, having my car allows me to explore the surrondings as well. I also enjoy driving by myself !
She tells me she loves listening to audiobooks.
“When I started listening to audiobook on road trips it changed my life ! While you are on the road, it’s the perfect time to educate yourself. I can listen to a book on psychology, then one about business.”
“Then,” she says, “I can jump to an erotic romance and just cruise!” We both burst out laughing.
Maude was one of those girls that self-taught her skills, learning and riding with the boys, and had to deal with the injuries that came from having little to no guidance. Because of this and the passion she has for the sport, Maude also coaches other young and determined girls, sharing with them her love and experience of the sport, as well as her lifestyle.
With an upcoming one on Whistler glacier from July 3rd to 10th, The Camp of Champions – Maad Week is an all girls camp focused on improving your skills on snow, experiencing the mountain lifestyle and learnings tricks to stay on top of your game as well as finding your style and confidence… Plus a unique chance to get to ride with Maude and other inspiring ones.
Moreover, she is currently working on her own signature women’s clinic in Japan next February, which will be offering both park training and ski/snow touring, with a bunch of rad coaches that she has selected. Stay tuned as this one hasn’t be announced yet!
Maude will mostly be spending the summer in Montreal, and hopefully we will have the chance to catch each other face to face to chitchat about more adventure filled projects 🙂 !!