A young man’s Olympic dreams are becoming a reality

Miha Fontaine, a freestyle skier from Quebec, has paved his way to the Olympics at just 18 years old.

From watching his dad on old VHS tapes to the world’s biggest stage, 18-year-old Miha Fontaine is ready for his close-up. Courtesy Miha Fontaine

This time last year, Miha Fontaine was finishing up some high school math homework. In February, he will be competing on the international stage in front of millions.

At just 18 years old, Miha Fontaine has been named to Team Canada’s Olympic freestyle skiing roster. Hard work and a lot of late nights have allowed him to achieve what many only dream of accomplishing. 

“I’ve been doing it for pretty much all my life, but I started doing single backflips on snow maybe when I was 11 or 12 years old,” said Fontaine. “And then at 15, I started doing double [backflips]. This year, I started doing triples with three twists and maybe four. But we’ll see.”

The teenage skiing phenom was born and raised in Magog, Quebec. Fontaine had fallen in love with the sport of skiing at the age of six, and by the time he was 11, he was already doing backflips off snow ramps.

Although Fontaine was a talented mogul skier growing up, he has since focused his training on aerials, a form of high adrenaline freestyle skiing. The sport requires the athlete to go down steep hills at high speeds, before jumping off snow ramps and doing twists and turns in the air.

“It’s a combination of skiing and acrobatic maneuvers,” explained Fontaine. “You go [down the hill] at about 65 km per hour and hit a jump of about 4.5 meters, and go pretty high in the air. You do the most spins and the most tricks you can before landing on your feet.”

Growing up, Fontaine was lucky enough to be coached by his dad, who was also a four-time Olympian and a Canadian Ski Hall of Famer. His father not only moulded him into the athlete he is today but taught him to work hard and dream big.

“All my life I’ve been following [my dad] when he went to coach,'' said Fontaine. “He’s not my coach right now, but he has pretty much been my coach my whole life. He’s one of my biggest inspirations.

“Hey, Dad I can see out house from here” — Miha Fontaine, probably. Courtesy FIS Freestyle

The young skier has watched and rewatched all of his dad’s Olympic performances from the ‘90s, footage which the Fontaine family has kept stored on old VHS tapes. 

“We still have his old VHS player. I’ve watched all his past competitions that he’s done, probably two or three times each.

Earlier this month, Fontaine competed at the 2022 Freestyle International Ski World Cup in Deer Valley, Utah, where he shocked the competition with a flawless lay double full full, and earned himself a perfect score from judges. This strong performance helped Fontaine solidify himself as one of the best in the country, and allowed him to gain a spot on Team Canada’s Olympic roster. 

Fontaine is still in awe. Not only did he pull off what was an extremely difficult trick, but he executed it to perfection,

“I don't know how many times I’ve watched my perfect jump in Deer Valley,'' said Fontaine. “I watch it just to get it in my head, so I don’t have to think twice before I have to do another one.”

Although he is starting what he hopes will be a long and decorated career in freestyle skiing, Fontaine is still just 18 years old, and finishing his education remains a priority. He is currently taking courses online and allocates a few hours a day on his schoolwork despite his hectic schedule. 

With the biggest competition of his life on the horizon, everything else is an afterthought right now. Fontaine will be an Olympian next month and is solely focused on making his dad, and country proud. 

“Four years ago I was still this young kid going to these competitions. So going to [the Olympics] is going to be pretty special.”

In a week's time, the kid from Magog will be an Olympian.