SEP 30, 2020
A friend, brother or business partner, when you know someone for twenty years, they change a lot. They bloom, break, rebuild and switch up their style a thousand times. Especially if they’re the fashionista of the skiing world. As their trusty sidekick, your job is to empower, enable, laugh at their tiger print shirt and go along for the ride. And what an epic ride it has been.
Twenty years ago, a cheeky kid from small-town New Zealand pulled on a pair of Atomic skis and never looked back. Today, Jossi Wells is a name that goes far beyond his trophy cabinet, carving a path through fresh New Zealand tracks to create the global identity of freeskiing as we know it.
From racing and freestyle through to backcountry, Atomic and Jossi’s stories are intertwined, each chapter marked with a new set of skis.
Nine to fifteen
Alpine Ski Racing on Atomic
The young protegee picked up and thrown into Alpine Ski Racing is not a new story, though most are lined with fur coats and Range Rovers, not second-hand skis and homemade shin guards.
Jossi’s pathway to the ski gates was made possible by his dad Bruce, an ex-surfing hippy turned ski patroller at Cardrona Alpine Resort. Bruce created Jossi’s first pair of shin guards from a roadside reflector cut in half, with a couple of Velcro straps. He skied on whatever hand-me-downs he could get his boots into and over the years he started to turn heads, attracting the attention of big wigs.
At nine years of age, Jossi received a scholarship from the local ski shop. With a brand-new pair of race skis for the season, his relationship with Atomic was born. Through his early teens, Jossi continued to race Slalom and Giant Slalom successfully, winning the New Zealand National Championships at the ripe age of fifteen.
Although he showed a lot of promise in lycra, something was calling him beyond the gates. When Atomic created a twin tip ski, his entire life changed course and Jossi became totally obsessed with the creativity and freedom of freeskiing.
Fifteen to Twenty-five
Freestyle Skiing on Atomic Infamous
Jossi’s freeskiing career is unparalleled. Over the course of a decade, he has stood on the podium in every freeskiing discipline at every major competition in the world. There are too many accolades to mention, but if we had to name a few; five X-Games medals, countless Dew Tour podiums, the 2010 AFP World Champ and a fourth at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Over this time, Jossi collaborated with the team at Atomic to craft a custom set of skis aptly dubbed ‘Infamous’. A name that summarises his distinct style perfectly. Unlike his competition, Jossi doesn’t care so much about what he’s doing on skis, but the way it feels and looks. Every meticulous detail comes together to create his unique stamp, from how he talks and the clothes he wears, to his ability to effortlessly flow through his bag of tricks and finesse every detail harder than anybody you know.
His style on and off the skis is a constant evolution, forever changing yet always timeless. You’ll see threads of skating and motorcycle culture, fashion and art blending into how he presents himself. Somehow, the young, home-schooled boy from small-town Wanaka became the global fashionista of skiing.
Another one of Jossi’s unique skill sets is his understanding of film and photography. Amidst his competitive career, he filmed multiple ski segments for the best ski production companies in the world, along with starring in two feature-length global documentaries. What other freeskier has Warner Brothers on their resume?
Twenty-five to thirty and counting
Backcountry Skiing on Atomic Benchetler
Backcountry skiing was a natural evolution for Jossi. Though injured at first, he never officially retired from competitive freeskiing. He enjoyed touring through rehabilitation and his journey into scrog munching country was born.
Jossi now spends his time making feature-length films in the backcountry, exploring the world of ski mountaineering. He admits, the learning curves have been steep. The craft that he has worked on for twenty years now has to change and he is once again reshaping how he sees the mountain.
For Jossi, backcountry skiing has limitless potential to express creativity. He’s just beginning this chapter but expect to have your head turned soon enough. With Jossi’s talent, relentless attitude and mental strength, there’s absolutely no doubt that he will continue to innovate in his chosen slope.
From his first new set of skis to backcountry antics, this twenty-year marriage between athlete and brand is something incredibly rare and unique. Jossi wouldn’t be where he is without Atomic’s support and Atomic wouldn’t be the company it identifies as today without the influence of Jossi Wells.