Jossi Wells is one of the versatile freestyle skiers on the planet. He came fourth in the half pipe at the 2014 Olympics, and has five X Games medals across Slopestyle, Big Air and Superpipe, including Slopestyle gold in 2016. But this Jossi Wells interview is not about his skiing exploits, it’s about fear, freedom and frenchies…..
After recovering from a neck break in 2014, Jossi found he had a fear of heights. To overcome this he headed into the mountains for a spot of slacklining and other extreme adventures with the Flying Frenchies.
Following his journey, The Free Man extreme sports documentary was made. It is a moving, toe curling – particularly if you don’t like heights – and inspiring documentary. Check out the trailer below:
Having watched the documentary we were chuffed to conduct this Jossi Wells interview. To delve a little into his psyche and ask questions about fear, freedom and frenchies. The Freeman is now out on DVD, you can pick up a copy at: www.amazon.co.uk/Free-Man-DVD-Jossi-Wells
Jossi Wells interview
Before we get into the questions, a few thanks to be made. Of course cheers to Jossi for taking the time to answer talk to us. But also to Mark Pawlak for putting the questions together and Simon Bell for transcribing the interview. Without you all this Jossi Wells interview would still be at the idea stage…..
Is there something The Free Man teaches us that we can apply to our lives?
I there is, I would hope when people do see the film they’re inspired to live their lives to the fullest. You don’t have to go up onto a tightrope to feel free, that’s just one avenue that people can do, but I think that the film’s a lot deeper than trying to walk across a slackline.
As a film, it’s about living free and I think no matter what you do in your life. Being free is the ability to live your life 100%, and do whatever it is that you choose to do 100%, and I think this film explores that and I would hope that it’s motivating for people in all different aspects.
We’re increasingly tied to technology, is adventure the antidote?
It’s quite a tricky one, because on the flip side you have people who do adventure so that they can get their instagram photo… People are going to spend time in the mountains regardless of if there’s technology or not. Everyone has there own reasons, some people like to get away from everything, and some people like to get out and document it, so that they can show people how cool it is out there.
With my job a big part of it is the social media and filming side of things. So when I get to go out in the hills I really enjoy being able to just relax and whether you’re skiing or out on a highline you’re not on your phone, and you’re switching off and really living.
What exactly attracted you high into the mountains and the slackline?
I’ve grown up in the mountains my whole life, my Dad ran a ski patrol in the mountains from when I was born, so I love it up there. With this film, I wasn’t sure what I’d be doing but knowing my background, I knew it would involve the mountains in some way, and I would be into it.
Being in Chamonix was really special for me, because Chamonix is a huge Skiing link all over the world, it has such a big reputation, and even just going there and getting to be in those mountains was really special. Anyone who’s ever been there knows the magnitude of those mountains and how small it makes you feel. So that was amazing and a great place for reflection.
I’ve always had to walk to the edge and look over, is it the same for you?
Oh yeah! Yeah, there’s something about overcoming some scary stuff – and trying to make it look good while you do it – that sort of makes me tick. I’ve always done stuff that I could really get hurt doing, I don’t know why, it’s something I’ve just been drawn to since I was a child. Yeah, I’m into it.
Your freestyle skiing is pure solo, what was different with your time with the Flying Frenchies?
I actually found it quite similar, I am out on the mountains by myself a little bit, but most of the time I’m out there with a crew that I ski with. We all feed off each other and everyone’s super motivated and we’re all competitors so we all compete with each other. We all realise how blessed we are to be living this lifestyle that we live, which is really motivating.
So that was very similar to the family vibe that The Flying Frenchies had when I met them for the first time and started kicking it with them. I got on really well with them, because even though they were doing different things to me and my crew, there was the same kind of dynamic.
And I even think that The Frenchies were even tighter than me and my crew would be, because with what they do, they’re really living on the edge. and the consequences of what they do, that draws them closer to each other, which was really cool to experience.
Just seen a great shot of you out on your bike in New Zealand. Have you got a favourite place you return to?
My home mountain Cardrona Alpine Resort, it’s my where I grew up and learned how to ski. I know that place like the back of my hand, and there’s nothing like ripping around my local hills. I come back for the winter every year. It’s amazing getting to go to all the different mountains around Europe, but there’s definitely nothing like ripping around your home mountain.
One sport, one location you’ve never done before – what’s it to be?
Oooo… I would love to surf pipeline in Hawaii, that would be unreal!
We hope you enjoyed this Jossi Wells interview as much as we did. If you want to pick up a copy of The Free Man extreme sports documentary head to: www.amazon.co.uk/Free-Man-DVD-Jossi-Wells