The eldest of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Maxime, today announced her retirement from freestyle skiing at the age of 29.
Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, who specialized in the moguls discipline like her younger sisters Chloé, 26, and Justine, 24, is leaving the sport after a career that saw her compete in more than 100 FIS World Cup competitions (moguls and dual moguls alike), three World Championships and the 2014 Olympic Games.
“I’m sad, because I devoted myself 100% to freestyle skiing for the past 10 years,” said Dufour-Lapointe. “But it’s also a time to be proud of the career I’ve had. I celebrate and appreciate what I’ve accomplished. After everything I’ve experienced with my sisters, I’m leaving the sport with my head held high. So with all that in mind, I’m announcing my retirement, beginning the next chapter of my life, and following other dreams,” said the athlete, who started freestyle skiing at just 11 years of age.
In 104 competitions on the World Cup circuit as the standard-bearer for Freestyle Canada’s national moguls team, which she joined in February 2007, Maxime Dufour-Lapointe finished 41 times in the top 10 and stood on the podium four times. She also garnered a fourth-place finish at the 2016 World Championships in Austria.
“In all those years on the national team, I learned to become an elite athlete and, also, to become the person I am today,” said Dufour-Lapointe. “It was an amazing school of life.”
For her, there are two standout moments in her career when the joy was shared with her sisters: upon becoming an Olympic athlete in 2014, at the Sochi Games in Russia, where she finished 12thwhile Justine and Chloé came away with gold and silver medals, respectively; and when the three Dufour-Lapointe siblings marked a first in the history of freestyle skiing by sweeping the podium at the World Cup in Val Saint-Côme on January 23, 2016. On that day, Justine, Chloé and Maxime earned the gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
“It’s thrilling to think that the title of “Olympian” will be with me the rest of my life,” said the skier who, at the 2014 Games, became part of just three sisterly trios in Olympic history to compete in the same individual event. “When I was the forerunner at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, I watched my sister Chloé compete; that inspired me to become an Olympic athlete and made me realize how much I wanted that adventure. The Sochi Games were the apex of my career. For me, that was a moment of perfection, when I really gave everything I had while I was on the slopes. I will always be proud of that.”
“Another memory I will cherish forever is standing on the podium with my sisters,” recalls Dufour-Lapointe. “What were the odds that all three of us would end up there, that all three of us would have a perfect day on the same day? Even more thrilling was that it happened with family and friends watching, and in the very place where I’d begun freestyle skiing.” The skier is also proud to have been a trailblazer as one of the first women mogul skier to execute a backflip with full twist in competition.
“Women’s freestyle skiing is starting to include more difficult jumps, and I hope I contributed to that trend by having been a pioneer in that regard and by pushing my limits at all levels,” she noted. “I would like my example to show younger skiers that anything is possible. The magic happens when you get out of your comfort zone; that’s when we learn, when we become a better version of ourselves.”
“The medals are important, but many of my best memories are of personal victories – moments in training and in competition that were not necessarily tied to a result.”
The 3SDL will stay together… just not on the slopes
The sisterhood of three skiers will drop to just two this autumn, and Maxime says what she’ll miss the most is not being on the slopes with Justine and Chloé.
“It breaks my heart a little! I’m going to miss them so much, and it will be an adjustment for all of us. But they’ll always be my sisters. We’ll always be close,” she said, adding that she intends to follow her siblings’ live, “no matter where they are in the world.”
Said sister Chloé, “Maxime has been my inspiration. She started in freestyle, I watched her doing it and wanted to be like her. Now it’s like there’s a piece missing in the equation. Of the three of us, she was always the most level-headed, so we’re going to miss that at World Cup events. But we’ll forever be a trio. She’s our big sister, I know she will always be there for me.”
“It will be an adjustment, because each of us brought so much to our threesome,” added Justine. “I was lucky to have had Maxime by my side all these years. She would give anything to help us. We had a lot of good times together – travelling, training. I appreciated her logical side; I tend to be impulsive, but she put things in perspective and brought more balance into my life. And it’s amazing to see how humble she has stayed. Maxime is my big sister and I will miss her, even though I know I’ll be able to talk to her whenever I need her advice.”
The sisters plan to continue to work together on their business, Les Créations 3SDL, designing and making necklaces.
“For me, it’s important that we keep doing projects together,” said Maxime. “It’s a blessing we discovered through the sport, and we want it to continue.”
The next chapter: medicine
Maxime Dufour-Lapointe plans to stay busy in other areas, not the least of which is starting in the medicine program at Université de Montréal this fall.
“It’s been my dream since high school,” she said. “It would be an honour to be able to practice medicine, just as it was an honour to be an Olympic athlete, and I intend to do this with the utmost respect for the profession.
“I’ve always felt I belonged in the field because it provides an opportunity to help others. The human body fascinates me and I love the human side, the contact, the humanity in the art and practice of medicine. I will face many challenges, and I feel like I’m leaping into the void but that’s how I will grow. I’m really eager to start this new chapter.”