words and photos by Jeff Schmuck
The Jon Olsson Super Sessions is complete. Now that it’s all said and done, the event will surely be considered the best and most progressive competitions in the history of freeskiing until someone (likely Jon himself at next year’s installment) tops it. In a sport full of one chance slopestyle, big air and pipe contests where perfect tricks need to be thrown every time, this event was both a breath of fresh air and the most unique contest skiing has ever seen. With its format and length, the JOSS proudly and successfully did two things that most every other ski event has failed to accomplish…it took the pressure off the athletes and gave them, along with their filmers and photographers, the opportunity to be as creative as possible.
The 10-day long event saw eight days of some of the most top notch skiing ever seen complemented by amazing weather and the beautiful backdrop that is Are, Sweden. And when the sessioning stopped each afternoon, the nightlife kicked into high gear and was as intense as the skiing with some of the wildest parties imaginable.
Simon Dumont, Blake Jorgenson & Riley Poor arrive at the awards ceremony
Colby West & Damian Cromwell
After eight days straight of shredding and a day off for editing, the event culminated last night with an equally amazing production of an awards show. Complete with a red carpet arrival via Cadillac’s and helicopters, a 2000+ crowd and a 60-foot tall screen broadcasting the 10 teams’ finished products, it was a perfect way to end a perfect event, and hats off to Jon and his entire staff that helped make the Jon Olsson Super Sessions what it was and will surely continue to be for years to come.
Jon Olsson and his team arrive via helicopter
After many a grand entrances, photoshoots and hype from MC extraordinaire Luke Van Valin, it was time for the moment everyone had been waiting for all week long: the videos. As the lights dimmed for the first segment, there was a goosebumpy feeling in the air reminiscent of the first big ski movie premiere each fall. Last night felt no different, and in fact…it felt even better. While the process of making ski movies is normally behind the scenes, this event gave anyone and everyone the opportunity to see all of the skiing first hand over the course of the week, and then watch the filmers, photographers and athletes tirelessly work their asses off editing the films in time for the deadline. So needless to say, it was a big pay off to see the final results.
Jon and Luke kick off the show
the capacity crowd
The 10 teams had to produce a five-minute long video comprising their best footage and photos. Some took the standard and expected route of having the video segment go first followed by a slideshow, while others mixed it up and interjected photos into the film. The films themselves were truly as amazing as any full-length segment filmed over the course of the year, which of course only added to the impressiveness of it all considering everything was done in only 10 days.
Sammy Carlson, Dom Janiszewski & Nate Abbott
The first video to play was courtesy of an athlete that is no stranger to opening segments, Sammy Carlson. With his team of filmer Dom Janiszewski and photographer Nate Abbott, Sammy decided to simply let his skiing do the talking as opposed to inserting a storyline into his film. In short, it was straight ski porn, and it worked. With some stellar footage of Sammy skiing outside of the features themselves both in the terrain park and on urban rails around town, the gorgeous photos we’ve all come to expect from Nate and wish we could see more of, and the cherry on top, Dom’s paragliding follow cam shots of Sammy on the JOI-jump, Pasty C and his team emerged as the early favorite and remained that way for quite some time.
Following Sammy was Oscar Scherlin, whose team added a unique and enjoyable twist to their segment by having filmer Marcus Hansen edit the first half of his video without music, and instead had Oscar mic’d up as he jostled with other athletes and hit the jumps. It made for a cool inside look to the sights and sounds of what it’s like to do what the boys do, and photographer Johan Ståhlberg’s shots made for a nice end to the piece.
One of the funnier yet serious videos of the night came from Mike Clarke and his team of Drew ‘Fatman’ Lederer and Annaleah De Masi. Mike had just about everything go wrong that could go wrong over the last week, from the airlines losing his skis to having a loose toepiece on his bindings once they did show up and then slicing his hand to the bone on the edges of his skis. Mike and his team had been extremely disappointed and frustrated all week, but much to the surprise and delight of everyone who knew what they were going through, managed to pull of a great and extremely entertaining video while explaining their woes and being able to laugh about it. Kudos to the three of you.
Jacob Wester and Henrik Harlaut’s videos followed suit, but unfortunately were not able to be judged as formatting issues with their filmers’ computers prevented the teams from submitting their videos in time for the deadline. The judges were as disappointed as the teams but the crowd ate it up, as Jacob’s video was beautifully done and appeared to be very fitting for him…plus he threw down the most badass and huge double cork 12 on the JOI jump that anyone had ever seen. Henrik’s video was equally sick, as his style oozed off the screen and into the jaw dropped mouths of the crowd. Like Sammy, he also spent some time cruising around Are in search of urban rails, and proceeded to make every one he found his personal bitch.
Perhaps the funniest video of the night came from Peter Olenick, who after nursing a sore knee all week didn’t come up with a ton of skiing footage, prompting his team of Erik Simard and Charles Spina to get creative. The crew developed a hilarious and (of course) fictional storyline that Peter had decided to stop partying before arriving in Sweden. Complete with entertaining reactions from his friends and industry figures, the film made for more than a few thousand laughs and was finely complemented by some sick skiing that Pete managed to get in between icing his knees. Special mention needs to go out to Charles Spina for his absolutely exquisite and creative lifestyle photos of Pete. Keep your eyes on 19-year-old Spina, because he’s going to be around for a long time to come.
Rivaling the hilarity of Pete’s video was skiing’s favorite comedian, Colby West. Before kicking into the intensely calculated and fantastic skiing that makes him the true shredder that he is, Mr. Colby James West decided to have some fun and pleased everyone in attednace with both some lifestyle and skiing imitations of Jon, Simon, Candide and Pep. His filmer Steve Rosendaal, who is no stranger to making an awesome ski flick and Damian Cromwell, who is as great of a photographer as there is now-a-days, helped pushed Colby’s video to become one of the most memorable of the night.
Following Colby was arguably the most anticipated segment of the night, Simon Dumont. Dumont, along with his team of filmer Riley Poor and photographer Blake Jorgenson, showed up in Are with a fire in their eyes that told how bad they wanted to win this event…and it never left. Simon was skiing harder than anyone all week, mixing up his tricks, being at each session from start to finish and just all around sending it. With Blake's stunning photos intertwined with Riley's crisp shots and editing, the result was the most beautifully crafted film of the night (which some people then considered to be the new front runner), complete with a storyline about how much Simon loves skiing opening things up.
Andreas Hatveit’s video was scheduled to go next and almost wasn’t shown due to some technical problems. Luckily the bugs were worked out at the last second though, and it was a good thing they were, because Andreas’ film, much like every segment he’s ever produced, was mind-boggling. The insane follow cams courtesy of his brother Jon, who hit every single feature at the event, and the majestic photos from Vegard Breie, helped give Andreas one of the sickest videos of the night.
Johnny Decesare, Jon Olsson & his girlfriend Olivia
And last but certainly not least, the host of the event Jon Olsson and his super team of filmer Johnny Decesare and photographer Mattias Fredriksson presented their film. Jon, who hurt his knee early in the week, didn’t get as much skiing in as he may have liked, but Johnny and Mattias showed why they are two of the best in their respective fields by putting together nothing short of a masterpiece, complete with a humorous intro poking fun at Jon’s bronze medal streak, cameos from Jon’s two ladies, his girlfriend Olivia and his Lamborghini, and a Rolling Stones song.
Once the presentation was complete, it was time for a few awards to be given out. The first was for the fastest man on the hill. All of the competitors were given GPS devices as the start of the week that would record their speed amongst other things. The prize for fastest man on the hill: a 12-liter bottle of champagne. So being that Dom Janiszewski is from France, and therefore shreds faster than anyone you probably know, and loves champagne, he took home the coveted prize and proceeded to share it with everyone until the wee hours of the morning.
The second prize of the night was for the people’s choice award, which was determined by a decibel reader that was recording the crowd’s applause all night, and in the end, Simon Dumont’s video scored the loudest cheers.
Riley Poor, Blake Jorgenson & Simon Dumont accept the people's choice award
It was then time for the judges, including Philou Poirier, Candide Thovex and PK Hunder, to announce the decisions they had made earlier in the day when they initially watched the films.
Because Jacob and Henrik’s video didn’t make the deadline, they were not judged. In 8th place was Mike Clarke, followed by Oscar Scherlin in 7th, Peter Olenick in 6th, and Colby West in 5th. Because there was a tie, the top three were both Andreas and Jon’s videos in 3rd (ironically continuing Jon’s streak of 3rd place victories), followed by Simon Dumont in 2nd and in 1st place, Sammy Carlson and his team of Dom Janiszewski and Nate Abbott.
As Sammy and his team erupted louder than the fireworks that were going off onstage, the rest of the teams swarmed the stage to congratulate them. However as big and amazing of a win as Sammy, Dom and Nate so deservingly achieved, the biggest star of the show this week had to be the man himself, Jon Olsson, who has helped push the sport of skiing again and again throughout his illustrious career and has likely achieved his biggest accomplishment yet with this event. Thanks for being the man Jon.
NS would like to take the time to give a huge, huge thank-you to the following people for their incredible generosity and hospitality over the last 10 days and for all their hard work in putting on such an amazing event: Jon Olsson, his girlfriend Olivia, his agent Fredrik Jonsson, Linda Wasell at SkiStar, Peter Sidebo and his partners in crime Jacob and Tobias, all the staff at the Tott Hotel, Holiday Club and Bygett nightclub, and all the beautiful ladies in Are, who helped make the trip that much more memorable.
And of course, we know how much you're all dying to see the videos, so be sure to stay tuned to NS as we'll be posting all of the final edits for your viewing pleasure as soon as they become available over the next few days.