By: Colin Bane – Freeskier Jossi Wells is the Dew Cup points leader coming into Mount Snow this week for the Toyota Championships. He beat Simon Dumont and Peter Olenick for the top spot in the Superpipe last month at Snowbasin and finished 2nd on the podium between Mike Riddle and Xavier Bertoni at Breckenridge, and he’s been holding his own in the Slopestyle contests, too (currently in 8th place overall). We caught up with the kiwi after a training day on the mountain at Breckenridge, getting ready to close out the Dew Tour season.
You brought the place down at Snowbasin with a 900 one, straight into a 900 the other way and then a double flip to right 720 into a switch 720 shifty, and closed things out with an alley-oop flatspin 540. It’s pretty damned crazy what it takes to get on top of a podium these days.
You have to land a solid run. It seems like a double cork is a must-have to make the podium, and you have to keep it solid top to bottom. It’s crazy, but I’m having the time of my life. It’s so exciting to see where it’s all going from one contest to the next.
The point spread was so close at Snowbasin between you, Simon, and Peter. When it comes to the heat of the moment in Finals, how much rivalry is there between the top skiers?
We’re all pretty much best friends, is the funny thing, but everyone is going for it. Simon Dumont will definitely be going all out when he comes out, so it should be a pretty good show. Personally? I like winning. It’s a great feeling, and I’m trying to get on top of that podium, just to keep it all going.
What’s your frame of mind coming into a big contest like the Toyota Championships at Mount Snow?
My frame of mind will be the exact same as the first two stops: I’m just going to go out there and land the best run I can, try not to worry about the placings and what the other athletes are doing. I’ll just do the best I can and leave it in the judge’s hands. I’m in the running for that Dew Cup and I’d really like to take that home, so I’m going to go out there with the best runs I’ve got and hopefully it all works out well. The Dew Tour’s brought a series of really high caliber events to our sport and I think it’s been great, so I’d love to win the big one.
I know you love the Slopestyle comps, too. Is it tough to be training and prepping for both, and to have your mind in two different places going into a contest?
I actually like the Slopestyle contests a little bit more, but I’ve been having a better year in the pipe. I’ve been a ski racer since I was 15, and it definitely helps with edge control in the pipe. To go big you have to control your edges, and to get these tricks these days you have to be going big and then some. But I don’t see it as my mind being in two different places at all. My main goal is the same in the pipe or in the park: Just to try to be as smooth as possible.
Where have you been riding when you’re not on the contest circuit?
In New Zealand my home resort is Cardrona Alpine Resort, and over here in the States my home resort is Breckenridge. I’ve been really lucky to get some days in all over the place this season.
What else is coming up?
After X Games it’s straight on to the last Dew Tour stop, and from there to the European X Games, European Open, Austrian Open, the Dumont Cup, JOSS (Jon Olsson Super Sessions) in Sweden, and then a bunch of filming on top of all that. It’s a pretty packed schedule, from the first Dew Tour stop until the end of May. It’s pretty much just “go, go, go!” It works for me, though.
I’ve been asking everyone this: What do you think of freeskiing and the Olympics? Do you think it’s coming?
I would love for freeskiing to be in the Olympics. I can’t wait for it. It’s the top sporting event around the world for winter sports, and it would be cool to get that recognition, have it legitimize the sport a little more. I think it’s a given, but I’m also glad they’re not rushing it in there. It has to be done right or it will suck. I hope when it does happen, they’ll look to what’s happening on the Dew Tour, look to what’s happening with X Games, and take the time to learn and respect what freeskiing’s about.