Know Your Athlete: Camille Vibert

A mountain undergoes several rounds of deterioration and decay over time. Piece by piece, the cliffs chip away and the rocks weather, but when the snow settles and the trees fill in, the mountain, continues to stand strong. Such is the spirit of Camille Vibert, a second-year alpine skier from Orillia, Ontario, who is a natural-born athlete and a symbol of fortitude to those around her. The RSEQ Rookie of the Year has faced and conquered several hurdles over her career, and when it comes to the question of her legacy, she is only just getting started. 

“I didn’t really have high expectations for [skiing] last year,” Vibert said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “I just kind of wanted to continue [skiing] and have fun with it, just love it again. [But] then I ended up having a pretty solid season, so yeah, […] the ceiling’s pretty high.” 

Vibert credits her confidence and success, in large part, to the many obstacles that have shaped her competitive personality over the years. 

“[I] would always get mad at card games,” Vibert said. “[I was] just always fighting for everything. I wanted to be the best at everything. But when I was 13, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I had to be independent, even more so than I already was. It was difficult, of course, but it made me more responsible as a person. So, that was what really shaped me as a personnot wanting to give up, ever.”

Vibert maintained this drive throughout high school, excelling in several sports. Her talent in skiing eventually earned her a spot on the provincial ski team. Her time with the team was tumultuous, however, as she suffered a career-threatening ACL and meniscus tear in her very first race. 

“I didn’t really mesh well with [the coaches] and [then] […] there were also all the injuries,” Vibert said. “After a while […], I [realized] that I wasn’t really [skiing] for me but for others and their expectations.” 

Vibert worked her way back to health, ready to take her next big step. With the aim of rediscovering her passion for skiing, she chose to continue her career at McGill. 

“I wasn’t really enjoying skiing for a while but wanted to rediscover my love for it,” Vibert said. “McGill has a competitive skiing program plus […], I’ve always wanted to explore in Montreal, [..] so it was a no-brainer really. My grandpa would be proud that I’m practicing my French, though.” 

As for her life outside of sports, McGill has been quite a ride for the skier. 

“Oh, it’s so busy,” Vibert said. “I am a very social person, and […] I just love going out and enjoying all the events like Hype [Week] and Carnival. But it’s obviously hard to balance with everything. Skiing, I find, helps me manage my time. The added pressure just forces me to keep things in check, and I sort of just need to keep going, going, going, or […] else I just shut down.” 

With a month remaining before the RSEQ championship at Mount Stoneham on Mar. 13 and 14, Vibert remains calm and composed. 

“I have a bit more expectations for this year [and] just a little more pressure, but honestly, I just want to have fun with skiing,” Vibert said. “It’s just really fun, and I’m happy to be able to be doing it while studying.” 

Life after graduation remains an open-ended question. She has professed a love for psychology but has promised to remain an active sportsperson. Despite the lingering uncertainty, one thing seems clear: Vibert will continue to conquer every obstacle in her way. 

“It’s kind of funny because my brother, when I first got diagnosed with diabetes, he [came] to me and he [said], ‘Your pancreas is a quitter, but you’re not,’” Vibert said. “So, that’s sort of my motto. If life knocks you down, you just gotta keep getting back up.”

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