Zoe Oksanen: Life as a pro snowboarder’s wife

Then there’s the time I woke up from a simple knee scope to find out I’d had a far more serious surgery and would be on crutches for three months and stuck on a machine on my bed for four weeks with two little boys to look after. Jussi was leaving a week later for an extended trip… I could tell you these stories all day long, but needless to say, my mom is on speed dial in England.


Probably the toughest part of all of it, though, is this: “Isn’t it dangerous? Aren’t you frightened something will happen to him?” I get asked this question a lot more frequently than I’d like. Of course I am frightened! My husband jumps off 60-foot cliffs for a day job! I’m not worried that he’s going to miss the 6pm train home… I fear avalanches, rocks and snowmobile accidents.

But this is our normal. It has been for over 10 years and however insane your normal is, it becomes just that: Normal. I vaguely remember Jussi calling at the end of a day of filming one time talking about a “little slide” he had been in (Finns are famous for understatement). I probably said something like, “ Oh, that’s nice. The kids drew all over the new doors today. When are you coming home?” It wasn’t until the end of the season when I saw his video part that I realized that my husband, the glue that bonds my family together, had been buried in a real avalanche that day and was very fortunate to escape unscathed.

But before I send any potential Mrs. Snowboard wife running from the altar, let me tell you about the beauty of our life.  I have snowmobiled side by side with my husband to the most beautiful peaks of Alaska and seen him perform feats that should defy nature right before my eyes; the gift of long summers of freedom and the means to spend them well has translated into incredible experiences and exceptional family time that most people can only dream of; my children have been inspired to believe that nothing is impossible, that anything short of pursuing your wildest dream is a cop out; and they have glimpsed in to worlds of excitement and success that will hopefully propel them to achieve their own greatness one day. After all, how many four-month-old babies can say they got to fly back from Aspen in a private jet with their dad’s X Games medal round their neck?


You see, there are many things I’d change if I could, like having a husband who comes home every night or not looking like the single mom to my son’s soccer team, but at the close of every winter season we all take a deep breath, thank the Universe for giving us the gift of mountains and a life less ordinary, crack open a pack of beers and have a summer that dreams are made of.

Yes, ours is a journey of extremes. But then again, isn’t that the very nature of the sport?

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