In the latest of our Slopestyle Interview Series, we present to you James Woods, aka Woodsy.
Notorious for his convivial personality, big dreams and even bigger talent. We caught up with James Woods just weeks after winning a place on the podium at The X Games in Aspen. Fresh from winning gold in the Freeski Slopestyle event at the FIS World Championship, James was happy to give a glimpse into the life of a professional Freeskier.
How did you first get into skiing? And then what enticed you to go into slopestyle?
I grew up in Sheffield, U.K. I didn’t even know what skiing or snowboarding was. I went to the local skate park a lot and it was the people, the lifestyle feel that I was into the most. It just so happened there was an artificial dry ski slope, Sheffield Ski Village very close by. I remember the thrill of watching skiers and snowboarders just fly by me while watching from the side of the slopes... no jumps or rails, just flat skiing and the first time I saw it (aged 10) I need to have a go. “Slopestyle” is such a new term, I remember the jumps and rails section of the Sheffield ski village being built and back then it was called the “Fun Park”. I used to race, do moguls, slide metal pipes and when jumps were on offer I’d fling myself off those too - I love it all.
What would your advice be for someone looking to start skiing?
My advice for anyone doing anything would simply be... find something you love and put your heart and soul into it. No matter what if you’re passionate about what you do then you’ll be passionate about your life and the people in it. It’s the most important thing for quality of life in my opinion, finding your thing.
You seem to have an absolute passion for what you do, how do you maintain this and keep such high spirits when you're having bad days or when injuries occur?
Injuries are a natural part of extreme/ action/ free and any sports, however everyone can relate to good and bad days. I’ve had bad days I’m not proud of and good days that I’m very proud of... I try my best to take the good with the bad and learn from it all.
You're in such an exciting and extreme sport, do you ever get scared when you're trying any new jumps?
Absolutely you’d be a dummy not to be scared. My philosophy on fear is when I’m scared it’s usually a really good time to concentrate.
Do you plan all of your moves or will you throw a few impromptu shapes in if you're feeling lucky during competitions?
Unplanned and impromptu is basically how freeskiing and all free sport have been born, so I do tap into that for learning new tricks, however for contests I have a plan. I also I have plan B and just in case things go totally sideways I do happen to be pretty epic at on the fly decisions so I sometimes have to rely on that too.
You seem to give off great energy when you're on the slopes, are you living the dream right now or do you still have more you want to achieve?
I am certainly living the dream. Every day a wake up and can’t believe what’s going on around me. I love what I do - I will continue to do what I do until that statement fails. As far as the next Olympics goes, who knows, as far as I know I love skiing, I love learning new tricks and competing so I’d imagine I’ll be in Beijing yes.
You’ve already achieved two medals from two of the most significant competitions in the past few weeks, what has the rest of 2019 got in store for you?
Well I do need to give my body a rest. No actual injuries but the body is taking the strain which is unfortunate. A couple of weeks off before the next events and then it’ll be back to Europe for all of the springtime mountain fun that is in store!
Do you ever go back home to Sheffield or do you move around with the seasons for the best snow coverage?
Honestly I just move around. This life is insane and I have the means and reasoning to be traveling to a fresh location every few days, I’m making the most of this gift now as I know it probably won’t last for ever. I do get back to Sheffield to visit friends and family as much as I can though.
What do you owe all of your success to? Do you have gruelling training regime or is it just love for the sport?
I love what I do. I live for it. I’m passionate beyond belief to be the best I can be at everything life throws at me. I've always set myself unreachable, impossible goals and stopped at nothing to achieve them. Honestly though, without those little bits of luck here and there, people coming out of the woodwork and helping out, little things going my way, I wouldn’t be where I am - thanks everyone!
From everyone here at Blacks, we wish James the best of luck with everything and we hope to see him being his adrenaline junkie self for a long time!
Check out James' YouTube channel to see what he gets up to!