The view from the other side: Pro Skier Jossi Wells gets on board

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

Say what you will about the dueling worlds of skiing and snowboarding, Jossi Wells can ride.

Born and bred in Wanaka, New Zealand, Jossi is an incredibly well rounded skier, landing himself an impressive slew of podiums in a trifecta of disciplines: slopestyle, halfpipe, and big air. Well known as one of the most stylish skiers in the game, Jossi finished off last season by adding yet another medal to his collection, snagging a silver medal in slopestyle at the 2013 X Games in Tignes, France. Clearly, Wells has got this skiing business dialed.

What most people don’t know, however, is that this twin-tipper can shred. Trading in his poles for a board, Jossi has proven that his skills on skis translate pretty nicely into a sweet little bag of tricks on a snowboard. He’s no stranger to the snowboarding scene either, taking on Torstein Horgmo in a game of ‘In Your Face’ back in 2011, and recently filming an edit with Diaries Down Under- aptly titled “Jossi Wells Shreds Everything”- where he proves that he can hold his own from park to powder; just put this kid on snow, and he’ll make it happen.

When, and where, did you learn to snowboard?
I spent about a week on a board 3 years ago at SnowPark, NZ. It was bad weather for a week so I jumped on a board.

Do you think it was easier to learn, given your background on snow?
I think it’s skateboarding that’s helped the most. I skate a lot and when I get on a board it’s pretty much the same thing, if not easier because it’s strapped to your feet. That coupled with the hours and hours I’ve spent on snow, on skis.

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Off snow, on board: Jossi honing his snowboarding skills | Photo: Stef Zeestraten

How often do you go snowboarding?
I go through waves with it. I’ll spend about a week or so each season where I get really into it. I’ll ski in the mornings and then snowboard in the afternoons. For the rest of the season I’m too busy traveling and competing on my skis.

What is your favorite trick to throw on a board? The next trick you’d like to learn?
I enjoy jibbing the most. I’m slowly getting more into jumping now though. As my general riding gets better, jumping has become a lot less scary haha. I don’t really know what tricks I want to learn next. I progress quite quickly right now because I’m such a beginner, so I’m just hyped on trying something new every time I’m on a board. I’d like to have a Back 7 Melon eventually though. Tightest trick.

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Filming for Diaries Down Under | P: Nick Hyne /Diaries Down Under

What would you say (besides the obvious) is the biggest difference for you between skiing and snowboarding?
I think at a lower level, skiing is more difficult to pick up. You have a lot more going on. I like how you’re completely locked in on a snowboard. Once you start getting into tricks though, it changes a bit. On skis if something goes wrong, you can spread your legs out to regain balance. On a snowboard, once it starts going wrong, it’s all over and you get rolled. I think at the top level they are relatively the same thing though. We’re all doing the same type of rotations on mostly the same features; of course each sport has its differences, but as a whole I see top end skiing and snowboarding to be very similar.

Would you ever consider competing as a snowboarder?
A rail jam with the homies? For sure! As far as trying to make my way down an X Games slope course, I’m going to need a few more hours of riding. Tricks haven’t been too hard for me to pick up, but the actual fundamentals of snowboarding are what I need to work on. That just comes with time, which I don’t really have because I need the time on my skis, haha!

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Halfpipe domination, no skis required | Photo: Beau-James Wells

Do you think snowboarding has helped your skiing in any way? Does it push you, or has it helped you hone any skills that translate into your skiing?
For sure! I grew up skiing with snowboarders and skaters a lot, so I’ve always had that influence. Being able to go out on a board myself and really learn to understand it, it’s definitely helped open my eyes to new possibilities on skis.

Are there any tricks you can throw on a snowboard, but not on skis?
Methods, haha. That’s the best thing about switching it up. There are little things that you can and can’t do on both skis and a board. So riding both you get to experience it all. I highly recommend anyone reading this gives the other sport a go. You’ll have a blast.