Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Dan Brown
How are you Jon?
Well I would have said pretty good on this question about two hours ago, but then I just accidentally deleted all the answers to this interview so I had to start all over again. So now I’m actually kind of pissed to be honest. It’s not like my inbox is empty (laughs).
What have you been up to lately?
I just finished the Nor Ams in Sunday River. I sucked up there but I’m still in the lead in the overall Nor Am title so it’s been pretty good, but I definitely have some work to do before Nor Am finals if I want to stay in the lead! Before that I spent New Year’s Eve in Miami and had a great time. I’d by lying if I said that I left rested, because that place is way too much fun to chill and rest in! And then just before that I was at CMH Galena for a week of heli skiing with TJ…best time I’ve had in a long time!
Are you finding it difficult to juggle the racing and freeskiing?
It’s actually not too bad. I’m still learning how to work out the scheduling but it’s coming along. I guess the most important thing is that I am having more fun than ever on my skis, because the variety I get is truly awesome.
What are you plans for the rest of the winter racing-wise?
Racing-wise I’ve been doing all the Nor Ams and have one more left, and then I’m going to do a few FIS races and get as much training in as I can fit in my schedule. I’ve been spending a lot more time than I use to trying to figure out what to do with my winter, so scheduling is definitely one of the hardest parts of what I do at the moment.
I can only imagine. On that note, what about on the freeskiing side of things? What competitions will you be doing, who will you be filming with, etc?
I’m heading to Trysil, Norway to reshape one of their kickers and work on my big air game in time for the X Games, and then I’ll be flying out to Aspen to compete in that. After that I have not really decided what to do freeskiing-wise until JOSS and JOI, but I obviously like going places to build kickers and session them, and by the look of the stats from last year’s videoblogs when I did that it was very well-received, so I might just do that instead of hitting up more comps. It also gives me time to ski race in the morning, which is awesome.
X Games. photo: Nate Abbott
So speaking of freeskiing competitions, following your announcement of the first three teams for JOSS 2010, speculation has been rampant over the past month regarding the details of this year's installment of your event, which is always one of the most anticipated of the year. Give us the scoop.
Well it’s hard to get it all out in a few sentences, but I will give you the biggest differences between this year’s event and previous ones...
This year’s JOSS will have three skiers on each team (two pros and one ‘rookie’…someone who’s never been invited to X Games) and two filmers, and it will be taking place over two weeks in Åre, Sweden. There will be more focus on jibbing and urban features, and there will also be a new judging format. I think that last year we might have promoted technical tricks a little too much, so this year we have changed a few things to optimize the judging. It hasn’t been an easy task to figure out the judging format, but I believe that we have a great formula for this year…
-Style tricks (16 points max)
-Tech Tricks (16 points max)
-Urban (16 points max)
-Filming (16 points max)
-Overall (32 points max)
The event will also be taking place from April 5th - 17th, which is later than it's been in the past. The reason for the later scheduling is that having it two weeks later means better sunsets and more slushy conditions as opposed to hard landings.
All in all I think this year’s event will be better in every way! Last year we were hurting with location and sponsors until the 1st of January, where as this year our budget is already met and most things are already done, which gives us three months to perfect all the details and do all the things I have always wanted to do. It feels great!
What prompted you to remove the Norway leg of the event for this year and bring everything back to Åre again?
Norway was great and I was happy we did it last year, but it meant twice the work for me as an organizer and we all know that time is precious, and we wanted to eliminate the riders having a full travel day in the middle of the event, so we decided to have it only in Åre this year.
The legendary town of Åre, Sweden, home of JOSS 2010.
Can your describe the features you're planning on building in Åre?
This year we are even more prepared for bad weather, as three of the four features are going to be under the lights, so I don't care if it rains for the full two weeks! (laughs) Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the fact that we have the event slightly later this year means that it will be warmer and less chance of the weather turning the hip landings into ice last like year. So I feel we’re going to have the best set up ever…
-JOI jump. Identical to the one at JOI in 2007.
-Two huge hips on the side of the JOI jump. They’ll be separate from the jump, unlike the one in Trysil last year.
-Stepover kicker. This will be the only feature we’ll have on the higher terrain, and it’ll be the banger if we get the sunsets we usually get that time of year.
-Jib Garden. Seeing how everyone loved doing a lot of urban last year we are going to build a few special things to offer the teams to play around on.
A noticeable change to this year's format is that there's going to be no photographers on the teams. What made you decide to remove photographers from the format?
It was always very hard to find the balance in the teams with film and photo, so we decided to try something different for this year. Instead of having photographers as a part of each team, we will invite a few photographers who will be able to shoot all the teams at all times, as that will make the event more valuable for them as they can get shots of all athletes as opposed to just focusing on the ones they’re on a team with. And the best part is that they will give us around five shots each per day to put online, which will give us a ton of sweet shots everyday, which is something I felt we have been bad at providing over the last few years.
Can you confirm what the other teams will be country-wise, and which athletes will be on them?
-and a rookie to be determined by a video contest on freeride.se.
-and a rookie to be determined by a video contest on friflyt.no.
-and a rookie to be determined by a video contest on downdays.eu.
-a teammate to be chosen by Shinji.
-and a rookie to be chosen by the team.
-a teammate to be chosen by the team.
-and a rookie to be chosen by the team.
Team Down Under
-and a rookie to be chosen by the team.
Have any of the riders from any of the teams already selected their filmers for this year's event, or will that be announced later on?
That will be announced later on, as I usually find out when we pick them up at the airport! Email and pro skiers do not go well together! (laughs)
As you announced a few weeks ago, you will not be participating in JOSS this year as an athlete. What's your reasoning behind that?
Well the main reason is that I feel the need to always progress the event and show something new, and in the past it’s been very hard for me to be a part of a team as I kind of hold them back with my limited time during the event. It also gives a few younger Swedes a chance to show what they’ve got, and I think Henrik and Oscar will be a great team, especially since they grew up skiing together! But really the biggest reason is that trying to organize the event while being on a team made me extremely stressed, and I was not able to enjoy the event as much and have as much fun with all the boys when they came to Sweden, and it’s very important for me to be able to do that.
On to one of the main tasks at hand. At the end of last year’s event, you announced that in conjunction with us, there will be a Team Newschoolers at this year's JOSS to be decided via a video contest on NS. Let's give everyone the details on how that's going to work.
Beginning today, you can upload a short video (must be no more than 1 minute long) of yourself to the JOSS Team Newschoolers contest page, and then the members of Newschoolers get to pick who they want to send to JOSS to represent them. Plain and simple!
Does one of the riders have to be a 'rookie' (meaning they've never been invited to X Games before) like on all the other teams, or will Team Newschoolers be open to anyone?
The same rules for the other teams apply to Team Newschoolers. Three skiers, and one of them must have never been invited to X Games, and it obviously can’t be any of the already invited athletes.
A month ago there was a lot of chitter-chatter and suggestions being thrown around in the forums about who the members think the filmers should be, but tell everyone why you and I have decided that opposed to doing a 'best edit' contest to determine the filmers, why we've come to the conclusion that it's better to allow the riders of Team Newschoolers to pick their own filmers like all the other teams do.
Working as tight as the teams do at JOSS, it’s extremely important that everyone gets along super well and works well together, so therefore I let the skiers choose their own filmers, and it will be the same way for Team Newschoolers. And I’m sure that whoever gets picked will choose great filmers who they’ll work well with.
When will the contest begin, and end?
The contest begins today and runs until February 22nd, at which point the winners will be announced on Newschoolers so they have enough time to pick their filmers and arrange travel to Sweden and music rights.
The riders of Team Newschoolers will be completely, 100% decided by the users correct?
Anything you want to say to all the riders out there who will be taking advantage of this amazing opportunity and entering this contest for their chance to be at JOSS?
If you like getting picked up at the airport in helicopters, hitting perfect kickers and meeting Swedish girls I would recommend you not miss this opportunity! And if you have any complaints while in Sweden, I will personally make sure that it’s all taken care of and ensure that you have an amazing time at JOSS!
Any last words or things you want to say about JOSS 2010?
I would not put on this event if I did not think that I could step up the level from last year, so I promise this year’s installment will be bigger and better than ever before! And I am super stoked to have Newschoolers involved, as NS has grown to be such a big part of this sport.
To enter for your chance to be on Team Newschoolers at JOSS, click here, and for more information on this year's Jon Olsson Super Sessions as it becomes available and to keep tabs on what Jon is up to this season, check out josupersessions.com and jon-olsson.com.