Cover Photo: Christian Raguse
Jake Mageau, or Mista Mango as he's otherwise known, is celebrated first and foremost for his unique way of having fun on his skis. But most don't know that much about him and I had so many questions: why did such a creative skier choose halfpipe? How did someone that was born in Maui even end up being a pro-skier? Why Mango? Here's a bit more about the creative mastermind.
“I was born and raised in Maui, I moved to Bend, Oregon when I was seven and that’s when I started skiing.“
Jake grew up skiing with his dad, Timo, he obviously had a talent and just got better and better. “I just love skiing so I kept doing it!”
Then in 2014 he started skiing with the US Ski Team, the past couple of years he has been competing in halfpipe:
“That’s been super interesting because it’s always so different. I like skiing halfpipe but I also like skiing everything else so much. So I’ve never really skied an insane amount of halfpipe, which has always kept it fresh and interesting, also a little scary!
In the start, it just felt good, I was doing a bunch of little competitions when I was young and the halfpipe has this crazy feeling, that nothing else I’ve found in skiing provides. It’s just a lot different, you’re working with so much of transition and a lot of speed within small distances. With so much transition, it can be totally impact free, it’s way different from hitting a jump.”
Skiing for the US ski team has kept Jake in the halfpipe. That is no longer happening so this is the first year, in quite a while, that he won’t be fully competing in the halfpipe.
“That gets me excited because I haven’t had that before, when I’m skiing in the halfpipe I have all these other ideas of what else I want to do. I think it’s going to be super epic, just having that freedom.”
Portrait: Christian Raguse
“Mango came a while ago between friends.”
Jake said his nickname was first used when people struggled with the pronunciation of his last name. It stuck and is appropriate for a bunch of reasons:
“It goes hand in hand with people saying my last name wrong. It makes sense in different ways though, because I grew up in Maui and loved my mangos!”
“I want to focus pretty much all of my time on filming. I have the most epic filmer, Oliver Hoblitzelle.”
Mango’s main goal is a pretty natural progression when a pro skier lives with a filmer:
“He’s one of my best buddies, who I’ll be living with, he just makes everything so much more epic. I’ve been working with him for the last couple of years.”
And while he may have stopped competing in the halfpipe, but that doesn’t mean Jake is finished with competing:
“One competition I really want to do is, X Games real ski, I would obviously do that along with Oliver. That’s been on both of our minds for a while.”
While the dream is to do it in 2019, he says he’s in no rush and he just wants to film as much as he can this winter.
Standing out at Kimbosessions - Photo: Adam Klingeteg
I love seeing things I haven’t seen before. I think that’s human nature, you see something that’s cool and you’re just like ‘WOAH!’
“For me, stuff like that stands out, I don’t necessarily think that the sport needs it to stand out, but it helps and it progresses skiing in a new way. I think it’s important to be able to ski on whatever you’re given to ski I just love skiing so much, so if I only have a kerb, I want to have as much fun on that kerb as I possibly can. I don’t need to have Breckenridge park to have fun, I think that’s where a lot of my creativity comes from. Just the smallest aspects and converting them.”
He's most known for creative butters and lines, but Jake wants to explore every aspect of skiing:
“When you do something for so long, it’s easy to get bored or not have as much fun. But when you know how to ski powder, you love to ski the park and have buddies that will film you in the street at night-time. All those things are so different and just having different people around and have different feelings, that helps to keep things fresh. Obviously, people in certain locations are more limited to ski powder or ski street or vice versa. Or it’s just personal preference, some people just don’t like one aspect or another.”
Photo: Pete Alport
“I don’t actually know what people back in Hawaii think of my career, a lot of people just don’t understand freeskiing.”
For obvious reasons, skiing isn’t exactly hugely popular in Mango’s birthplace, Hawaii.
“They’ll think it’s cool but they’ll still call it snowboarding or something. They’ll think it’s awesome but it’s not so relatable.”
He’s only been back once or twice so he admits that he doesn’t really know what the locals think. But his big ambition is to appeal to everyone:
“I would like people who don’t ski or are not around skiing, to still watch or be intrigued. If it’s not relatable, I want to try to somehow make it relatable. Even if you can’t do it or you live in a place where you can’t ski just think: ‘woah that is beautiful. ‘That is a cool sport.”
The X Games has always been the long-term goal, I never really thought that I would be on the film side of things, But for sure that would be the competition of a lifetime. Every year is changing so much I just want to keep skiing and stay healthy. I want to maintain strength and be able to do everything else in life as well. I want to be able to ski for as long as possible and I think filming in the long term, is going to be something that I lean towards.
“I’d like to do something for a cause with skiing, but I haven’t quite figured it out. I want my skiing to be for a bigger cause than just skiing.”
Many athletes lend their names to charitable causes, but Mango’s desire to use his talent to do good was pretty obvious, throughout our chat. Pinning down a cause may be a bit of a challenge though:
“Something like POW, something like that or even something not as related to skiing as that. I fish all the time, the rivers are so important. I still don’t know exactly how but maybe something to do with water and the environment or cancer awareness, anything to help. I haven’t nailed it on the head yet, I probably won’t for a bit because there are so many ideas, but something yeah. Pretty much anything that feels right.”
But for the moment he plans just continue frying minds wherever he skis, be it pow, park or in the streets. He's come out swinging already this season with some heaters from the Bonezone at Brighton, and we're stoked for more.
Trip: Japan. It's the dream. I don’t know exactly where in Japan or what. I really want to experience the culture, ski in those trees and just the pow.
Trick: Either a nollie or a one footer on a rail.
Track: Chronixx and Kabaka - Mi Alrighty