interview by Jeff Schmuck
So this year you've begun a videoblog documenting your life, travels and skiing that can be seen on our site and at http://www.jon-olsson.com. What prompted you to begin this project?
Well I guess the main reason is that I love to do all I do as well as I can, so I realized that doing a three minute video part was great but I thought it was sort of a shame not to show way more of the stuff we get during a winter, and really be able to show more of what I do. Because I know that I would have been stoked to as a kid if I could have seen what JP, JF and those guys were doing that week, and not watch a fragment of it eight months later in a ski movie. So that’s basically how it all started out.
You're one of the most well known freeskiers in the world today and have no shortage of exposure. That being said, what is your overall goal with doing this?
Hmmm, good question. I am not sure if I have a specific goal with it, I think its the "trying to do everything as well as I can" thinking that has created it. I have had a lot of different goals over the years, but in all the goals the main thing sometimes got a little lost, as it is easy to start thinking too much about media, sponsors and all that stuff. But now all my focus is on being the best skier I can be and I try to put all the other stuff lower down on the priority list, cause if I ski good everything else will follow.
photo: Oliver Maccabez
What are some of the things we can expect to see this winter from you in the blogs?
We are still getting better and better at it, it’s hard to get out of the ski movie way of thinking and show a different view on it that people normally don’t get to see, but I feel that we are improving with each post. I try to show as true of a picture of my life as possible, showing how I train, travel, live and so on. The other great thing is that people can watch all the super sessions we do the same day instead of the winter after. Actually the days when I decided to do this blog was in Stryn, Norway. We had been there for eight days of straight rain and I decided that if the weather was not good the next day I would leave, but luckily the sun came out and we eventually had a sick session. But all people see is the beautiful shots, not what it actually took to get them, so I decided I wanted to give a more true picture on what actually happens before we get the shots we get.
I've talked to a handful of people who are confused in thinking that the only filming you'll be doing this winter is with your crew. Which companies will you be shooting with?
I will do the videoblog and put that material into a documentary at the end of the year, because the most common question I get in interviews is "how does a year look like for you?” But that is not all I will do, I am stoked to say that I just talked to Johnny D and I am fully committed for a segment in PBP’s new movie. And having a filmer around all year will hopefully give me five times the footage I normally get in a season, so I am very stoked going into this season.
photo: Rom Marcucci
As everyone knows, you came up with the Kangaroo Flip two years ago and then pioneered numerous other double corks last winter. Because of that, you've been receiving criticism lately from some of our readers along with fellow pro skiers such as Mickael and Laurent who've said that doing those style of tricks is taking the sport in the wrong direction and making it too aerials-like. What are your thoughts on that?
It’s too bad that people have that opinion, I think that that is one of the things that makes this sport so unique, you can do whatever you want, and you can push the sport is so many different ways. I think Laurent is killing it with his super smooth style and I love to watch him ski, and that’s the way he wants to progress the sport and I’ll just do what I like and what keeps me happy and motivated. But when it comes to competitions it is pretty inevitable that tricks will become more difficult, and it would be impossible to judge events if difficulty was not a main factor, as how good of style a person has is so personal, so in order for comps to work I think difficulty needs to be a factor. So that being said, I don’t think you can ever score well on a difficult trick with bad style, I think whoever can do the most difficult trick with great style is a worthy winner. Just look at TJ, he can do a switch 1440 and still hold the grab better than most other people can in a 360. Tricks will evolve, and we just need to make sure that we are ready for it and really work on the format that prevents it from turning into aerials, with style and variation also being very important factors.
photo: Ruedi Fluck
You and Simon have told me in the past that you prefer skiing park and pipe and want to take the sport to new heights in that area, which is evident with what you've done with the JOI and the MSP jump you orchestrated in Whistler. Because of that, are you planning on continuing to take your skiing in that direction by building bigger jumps and innovating more doubles, or do you want to go a different route?
I love jumping and innovating tricks and will keep trying to come up with more crazy stuff. Plus to me hitting a huge perfect kicker is the thing I love the most about skiing, not to mention how much I love building jumps, I love to think about how I can change angles to make them smoother and bigger but safe. But at the same time I love getting out of a heli and skiing lines, but in this part of my career I just love the feeling of learning something new.
photo: Rom Marcucci
Speaking of which, in Seven Sunny Days everyone finally got to see some of your big mountain skills, an area you've excelled in for years but hasn't been well documented. As your career goes on, do you see yourself eventually going in the direction that skiers like Tanner and others have by turning away from the park and spending more time skiing powder and big mountain and incorporating your freestyle skills in that arena?
I don’t think I will ever quit park skiing, but I do see myself finding some more time to get to go on nice heli trips. I fully respect and love what Tanner is doing and I think it’s great, I just feel like I have so much more to prove on park jumps before I spend more time in the powder, but who knows that might change…
photo: Annaleah De Masi
So you recently signed a six-year deal with Cross outerwear after leaving J-Lindeberg, a brand that you helped put on the map in the ski world and who many people had begun associating you with. What brought on that decision?
I had a great three years with J-Lindeberg but I felt that I wanted to work with a company that had skiing as its main focus. I had discussions with a lot of clothing brands but finally decided that Cross was the best fit and I got along really well with all of the people in the company. I also chose Cross because they let me in the closest on the marketing, design and team decisions, and now I really have the opportunity to design my own stuff exactly the way I want it, so I am very excited!
In the your most recent videoblog, you announced your aspirations to hold a JOI in New York City in the future. What's the latest and greatest on that becoming a reality?
I cant say anything right now, but I am having great dialog with a few exotic locations such as New York, Monaco and Dubai. I have not decided where the next JOI will be held, as I would rather wait and make sure we get it 100% right instead of compromise just to make it happen quick.
Speaking of waiting, I know you want to hold off on announcing official plans for the Jon Olsson Super Sesssion in Sweden later this year, but for the time being, can you give everyone a little hint as to what you have in mind?
Less riders, more features, more days, more filmers, more photographers, bigger parties and take the hospitality to a new level, but most important, giving the best riders in the world the opportunity to push limits ever further!
And lastly, we were all wondering at the office the other day…are you leasing that Lambo or did you just buy it?
I walked in to Lamborghini in Monaco and bought it, was a little hard to get their attention when I first walked in, but when I asked if they could have it ready by lunch that changed (laughs). It now has a new paint job in winter camo and a ski box.