BY: Gordie Bowles PHOTOGRAPHY: Paul Morrison APPAREL: Columbia
It has been said that in the sports arena, nobody can be friends. Survival of the fittest. Might makes right. Kill or be killed. Anything goes.
In the case of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, a Montreal trio on the Canadian moguls team, the art of balancing competition, sisterhood and support was a skill learned.
“We wouldn’t call ourselves rivals,” say’s the youngest sister, Justine, the second ranked moguls skier in the world. “We are sisters who compete at the same competition. If Chloé or Maxime go on the podium, I am happy for them. When I’m not feeling good they will be there for me.”
Occasionally finishing each other’s sentences – as you might expect from sisters who spent most of their youth on a sail boat together in the summer and on the slopes of Mont-Gabriel in the winter – Maxime, the oldest sister, finishes her thought.
“Instead of being rivals, we push each other in a very positive way so that we can all improve so that the three of us all can be the best in the world.”
With stars aligned, the trio could sweep an entire World Cup podium. They did it at the national championships in dual moguls in 2010. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Justine took home Olympic gold while Chloe was second.
With five years between them, which can be a lifetime or a career in sports time tables, the three Montrealers are constantly at each other’s side, on podiums or shopping outlets.
“We’re pretty much always together,” says Chloé, the middle sister . “We like to go shopping, hang out together. We do have our own friends at home but then sometimes we meet up.”
“Yeah!” Justine shouts as her voice elevates a few octaves. “We shop around the world and also at home. But what we love about shopping is buying stuff that we don’t see in Canada or in Montreal. We want people to say, ‘Oh my God, where did you get this?’. ‘Yeah I bought it in Barcelona, or Japan …
“And it has to be a good price,” jumps in Maxime, considered the more cerebral and practical of the bunch. “But even if we’re not together we’ll send each other pictures to get opinions. We do shop alone, but seriously, most of the time I second guess myself so it’s much easier when we’re together.”
Chloé, patiently waiting for her turn to speak on the subject of fashion, jumps in to express her more serious interest. “I would like to work in fashion, to design styles or even clothes for sport. But I would also like to do high fashion. I’d like to someday create my own line.”
With slightly different fashion styles – Justine, with the skater-punk look, Chloé, with a sultry sassy appearance and Maxime with a more elegant, polished style – all agree they also have a different approach on the hill. Slight variances in technique and tactics that separate their skiing styles.
“Chloé’s strength is finesse, she has a very beautiful skiing style and is consistent with her jumps,” says Maxime. “Justine is the tiger. She has loads of energy and you see that in her skiing and in her jumps. She gives a show. My strength is my fitness and jumps, I like to push the limits in the air. And I’ll never stop. I just go until someone tells me to stop.”
Getting into the sport was part luck, part life, for the Dufour-Lapointe family.
Skiing was considered just family time until Maxime, then 10, watched a friend in a moguls competition. She was “blown away” by the jumps and wanted to try it. The spark was created, as it often does with athletic-minded children, and soon she was competing with a team. Then her sisters, seeing the travel and fun she was having, wanted in.
“I did get through some life experiences first so yes I did pave a path for my sisters,” says Maxime. “I think now we’re all on the same page and growing together but at first I lead the way to the point we are now.”
For Maxime, who finished 12th in Sochi, the window for elite status in the sport may be beginning to close but the spark for her is alive and well.
“I was a forerunner at Cypress (Vancouver 2010 Games), after just missing qualifications, and it was really one of the greatest experiences of my life,” she reminisced. “I got to see both sides, as an athlete and a spectator, and at that point I knew it that I had to be there for Sochi. It was my turning point. I’m a late bloomer but I realized that I wanted to become an Olympian.”
For Chloé, she feels that stress management is the key to her success. “Jennifer Heil (Olympic silver medallist in Vancouver) has always been my idol since I was young and I still talk to her about things, how to prepare, how to manage the stress of getting ready for my second Olympics. The pressure was the hardest part of it.”
Helmet vogue: With a keen sense of style it is no surprise that the Dufour-Lapointe girls design their own helmets. Choosing characters and symbols to represent their own personalities, along with some space for their personal sponsor Saputo, the helmets became a special project for the sisters.
Year of Birth: 1994
Hometown: Montreal, Que.
Freestyle club: Mont-Gabriel
Superstitions: I change my lucky outfit every year. I used to think my wolf T-shirt was lucky as I had good results so I kept wearing it but the year after I had it on and I fell. So I said, ok the lucky closes are good for only one year so I change every year.
My motto: Give your all and never give up!
Favorite film and TV series: The Hunger Games, Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy
Education: CEGEP distance learning in humanities
Hobbies/Interests: Photography, shopping, surfing, cooking
I never leave home without… My iPhone, lip balm, camera, and my Oakley sunglasses.
Favorite yoga pose: I don’t do yoga.
It would surprise you to know that … I have a very sophisticated system for storing my shoes that includes photographs and numbers.
Favorite World Cup stop: Quebec, since it’s in my backyard, and Deer Valley for the shopping outlets!