Interview by Jeff Schmuck
So another successful year of Jon Olsson Super Sessions is in the books. How do you feel now that it’s all over?
Well for me it’s not over yet. The event might be over, but getting everything online, paying invoices, etc and all the follow-up work is still hanging over me. Besides that though I feel great, I created this concept as I was nervous as an organizer for bad weather, and this year we got it pretty much as bad as it gets and the teams still managed to produce amazing videos, so now I can keep organizing JOSS without being as nervous for the weather which makes it a lot more fun and enjoyable!
How do you feel the event as a whole went?
Great. Everything ran smoothly and worked according to plan (besides the weather). The idea of running it in two different places was a bit of a bigger mission than I thought, it was basically like doing the event twice, and adding JOI on did create a bit of extra stress for me during the planning period which was during the most hectic winter months.
photo: Dan Brown
Looking back, is there anything you would have liked to change or made different about this year’s event?
There are always things, I have already done a list of things I will improve for next year. But the tough thing about events is the more you do them the better you get, and the better you get the more things you see that you can improve, so because of that I never feel satisfied. But here are the main things I will look to improve for next year:
It is really hard to set rules for an event like this, and that is what I will put the most energy into for next year. It is so hard to know what should be the most important thing in the video, this year we did put a lot of weight on the skiers' best seven tricks, to make sure that this stays a serious ski event, but after seeing the segments I realized that I think that belongs better in a individual ‘best skier’ ranking rather then letting that be such a key deciding factor of the JOSS winner. Bottom line, I am trying to keep it a serious ski event and not a comedy/skit event, but I need to find the right balance, because a good video needs both! But I do think that Team Norway had the best video, so I guess that the right team won which is the most important thing!
2. Music rights
Getting this worked out before the event starts will be key next year, it is a nightmare.
3. Movie release dates info
I know a lot of people want to see it all the movies right away, but the only thing I can say is that it is not as easy as it seems, and I hope that if people are ok with waiting 1 year for a ski movie, then waiting 1 week for a JOSS hopefully is ok. I think everyone would be more ok with this if the release plan would have been communicated better. Spreading them on Vimeo and YouTube is not an option as we lose track of views, numbers and info, and in order for me to sell the sponsorship for this event next year, I need that info. No sponsors, no JOSS.
So my plans for next year will be to release the first video on the Monday eight days after the JOSS awards, with one video being released every day (I will buy some mega crazy servers for this to work).
4. But I guess the biggest improvement I can do is to set date and location before this summer. This year we struggled all fall and on the 1st of January I still had no location or a single sponsor dollar, so I have been planning this event during the winter when I should have been skiing and not in front of my computer. But we are already very close to locking down a location and a few sponsors for next year so that should make the planning period a lot easier! And make the event even better!
As most everyone knows, you’re always striving for your events to get bigger and better every year. Do you feel you accomplished that this year, and what are your plans for JOSS 3?
The event grew and the videos got better, but I feel far from satisfied. To me the development of JOSS has just begun, there is so much to learn and improve. Just look at Big Air, it is a much easier format and it is still being perfected 10 years after the first few events popped up, so to expect such a complex format as JOSS to be perfected in two years is not realistic, but we are getting closer in every event we do!
I do have lots of plans for next year and just because I am in a good mood, I will release two of the new details for next year!
1) Team Newschoolers! A team created by the NS crowd by voting on your favorite skiers.
2) Three skiers in every team, and the third skier has to be a rookie (making less the $10,000 USD in sponsor money).
But that’s all that I will reveal at this point, I think it will be great, giving young up-and-comers the opportunity as well as making sure that the people who watch this event get to see their favorite skiers in it!
photo: Jeff Schmuck
What was the most challenging part of this year’s event?
Being an organizer and competing at the same time, there is just not enough time.
And what was your favorite part?
One of the days in Trysil on the Trickbuster, every trick I did worked out perfect. I managed to disconnect the organizer in me and just ski, and it felt great! And also getting back into some urban stuff, I have not done it much in the past few years, but that’s not because I don’t like it, it’s just that when the other kids are doing that I am on the computer. But seeing how fun it was I am going to try to figure out a way to spend less time on the computer and more time on my skis.
photo: Erik Wibaeus
Today you're releasing Team Sweden’s video a day early to keep everyone stoked. How do you feel it turned out?
I thought it turned out great, I had an amazing time skiing and I hope it shows in the video. I was stoked to ride to a hip hop beat again, sort of taking it back to the old days, and I guess that song represented a time in skiing when I was the most stoked, and now I feel like that all over again. We did not make it all the way to the top with our video, but I guess that’s hard when you try to organize as well, but for next year I am not going to let the organizing come between me and a good video, I am going to plan it so well that there will be nothing for me to do during the event besides ski! I’d also like to thank my team for putting up with me being inaccessible during the event, they all did a great job!
You just started a new goggle company YNIQ which there was a lot of talk about at JOSS. Let's hear all about it.
Well for the last five years I've been wanting to start up my own brand and a couple of years ago I had the idea to start this up and I came really close but never ended up doing it because I didn't feel I had the right crew to do it with at the time. And then YNIQ contacted me and we came up a good concept together and we've be spending the last couple of months trying to get a rideable prototype as soon as possible. And pretty soon here we'll be releasing more models.
So did YNIQ start it up and then come to you to put it together or did you get it going on your own?
It was it a little of both. I was thinking about doing it and had the idea for it and some friends that were into it so everything just came together at the same time. I'm really stoked to be able to do something like this because I always have a lot of ideas on how I want to do things with events, so I started doing events, but now its time to look into products. The whole idea behind the brand is that I feel like there's a lot of great, high-end sunglasses out there but there's not any high-end goggle brands, and considering how filled every airport in the world is with dark classic looking high-end shades I am sure that a few of those customers would want the same look on the hill.
YNIQ: the one & the three
So what market are you looking to go after with this?
It'll be the more exclusive market. They'll start around 230 Euros but then you get an extra lens so you're basically paying the same as the other brands for the start-up version. At the moment the guy who's driving a new SUV to the mountains is buying the same goggles as the lift operators, so I believe there's a big market for a goggle company that's a bit more exclusive. Just look at every other market, that’s how it is, there are low-end and high-end brands, but for some reason that has been overlooked in the goggle market. Saying that we are doing ‘fashion’ inspired goggles might mislead a few people, we are doing goggles inspired by exclusive watch design, mixing in different materials as well as looking at retro sunglasses, but this does not mean that we don’t have the ambition to also make the best products for the hardcore skier. I really like the look we came up with and I've been working really hard on the technical features. Especially the visibility angles so people can see out of it better. The ones I have been rocking during JOSS are definitely going to be the most retro, out there, crazy goggles and the other ones will be much more dark, neutral with different sorts of materials.
photo: Jeff Schmuck
What are your immediate plans for the future for the brand? Like will there be more riders, when will it be available, etc?
It'll be available in limited numbers in selected stores and on the internet next winter, and we actually do have another team rider already, and it's Chris Sörman, the top Scandinavian snowboarder. So even though it is a high-end brand I still want to have more core riders, and I want it to be a snow brand for someone that might want a little extra. In the end though I just want to make a damn good product, and I won't stop until it is. Just like how I won't stop shoveling until the jump is good, I won't stop working on this until the product is perfected.
Team Sweden: Jon Olsson, Jacob Wester, Johnny Decesare, Drew Lederer & Mattias Fredriksson