Catching Up With Olympic Gold Medalist Skier Jonny Moseley

Apr 11, 2024
Catching Up With Olympic Gold Medalist Skier Jonny Moseley

In addition to being a legendary skier, JAMBAR athlete Jonny Moseley keeps busy as a freestyle skiing analyst and the face of California’s Palisades Tahoe. We appreciate him taking a break from spring turns to answer some questions for us!

What advice do you have for skiers who dream of turning pro? Any advice for the parents of kids who have that goal?

In skiing, there can be a slight difference between going pro and being a competitor. I usually try to explain the difference to both athletes and parents to help them clarify their goals. Winning events in most of the skiing disciplines usually leads to some sort of sponsorship but many times the most successful pros were not necessarily the champs in their discipline. Unlike most sports, in skiing there is no salary for being part of a team. Much of a pro’s time is spent convincing companies that they can help sell a product. I think understanding what being a pro means is step one.   

Do your two sons share your passion for skiing? Do they still ask dad for tips?

They do love skiing and have both become quite good although they have now gone deep into baseball (which I love too.) They don’t ask for tips but they get them anyway and they have become gracious about receiving them. I feel they have learned to analyze mechanics in skiing and all sports which is what I was after.

What role has music played in your life, both on and off the slopes? Can you tell us some of your hype songs through the years? 

I listened to Bob Marley before my Olympic gold and for most of my contest career. I enjoy skiing with music occasionally but I never competed with it as I felt it blocked out one of the senses. However STP, Pearl Jam, Sublime, Smashing Pumpkins, OffSpring, Pennywise, Weezer, were the soundtracks to my career. Mostly due to ski movies and  extremely long bus rides. When I hear that music now, it transports me. Growing up, my parents listened to old country like Merle, Willy, and Waylon on the drives to Tahoe so I still love that music and some of the derivatives. My brothers (who got me into freestyle)  were strictly into ska and punk and I think those influences led them to skating and surfing and eventually freestyle skiing. Of course moguls were always set to music in the late 80’s… think  Van Halen, AC/DC, Zeppelin, Def Leopard, Boston. I have a special place in my heart for classic rock.  

Nearly 25 years ago, you ignored an International Skiing Federation policy by competing in the X-Games (at the time, US Team athletes were not allowed to participate in professional events). Not only did you become the first skier to medal in both the Olympics (gold) and the X-Games (silver), but your actions resulted in a change in policy. The last few years of college athletics has seen a real sea change with the new NIL rules. Have you followed that closely, and what are your thoughts?

I have followed the  NIL rule change. I remember the aggravation I felt when I was restricted in my rights to earn and make moves that I knew were in my best interest financially and strategically. I know the frustration that the NCAA athletes felt and I am glad they were able to prevail. Beyond the ability to earn, I remember feeling under-appreciated by the NGBs. Of course I was young and in hindsight did not understand the whole picture- but even now I believe, particularly in a sport like freestyle, the athletes are the ones constantly iterating and the NGB’s would be smart to take their lead from the top competitors and follow them in the direction they are headed. 

Your former coach and agent Cooper Schell said that you have "this level of confidence that I’ve never seen in anybody before" and that you are as "unflappable in show business as you were on top of a moguls course." Have nerves ever been an issue for you? What are your techniques for staying calm and in the moment?

Interesting to hear a Cooper quote. I always felt that my confidence was derived from the skills he helped me develop. I always get nervous. Arguably the stress of competing is why I finally stopped. However, I was always a pretty good competitor. I’m not sure if that was something I was born with or something I developed by competing a lot in everything. I certainly didn’t always win - I blew up a lot as well and tried to learn from that. I used to wear a heart rate monitor and try to gauge what my ideal heart rate should be right before I pushed into a mogul run. Being too flat or over-amped was always an issue in bumps.  You really don’t have time to get up to speed… you need to be perfect from the first turn.  One mistake and you’re pretty much out. Regarding public speaking and show business, they never felt as stressful as competing. There was a drama teacher at my high school who always pulled me into plays so I learned to cheat towards the audience and all those basics for TV hosting but I also dug into it and learned  a lot on the fly. I learned to speak in front of an audience because after I won the Olympics, there were companies offering me more money than I earned from some of my ski contracts in a year to speak for 15 minutes so figured I better get up there and figure it out! Eventually I got competitive and wanted to do a good job so I spent some time trying to get better. To Cooper’s point,  I’ve never been afraid to try to something new. As far as staying calm… the most important thing is to be prepared, and after that pick a couple things to focus on that you can control. My youth coach Ray always used to tell me  to just think about those first three turns…  you  can forget about the rest.. it’s autopilot by that point. I used to keep a small piece of paper in my pocket with a list of  skills.. eg.... hands, weight over the outside ski.. every time my brain would run I would pull out the list and it would calm me…. I’d say to myself… "I can do that.”

Last year, you made a great series of workout videos for us to help people get ready for the ski season. Are these year-round exercises for you, and what does your training look like in the off season? 

In the fall, I start to get ski specific with a lot of high intensity circuits and intervals including lateral plyos and sled work. I also add in hot power yoga. In the winter, I’m just surviving between travel and skiing.  I hit the foam roller,  some light gym work and mobility wherever I can fit it in. In the spring and summer, I run, ride my bike, wing foil and lift. I lift every morning at home even if I only have ten minutes. I squat, bench, lunge, dead lift, whatever gets the heart rate up, the joints loose  and the endorphins flowing. 

What is your philosophy when it comes to nutrition? How has it changed?
It’s a work in progress. Mostly my philosophy is  to eat whole foods as much as possible and I have been trying to get a little more plant based and keep fiber top of mind. 

What's your favorite JAMBAR flavor and when do you eat the bars? 

Malt Nut Melody all the way but I mix in the Jazzleberry and Mango. I usually eat them mid-morning, especially on the hill when I'm skiing, shooting, or on the microphone. I also eat them before I go watch my kids play sports so that I can keep the cortisol spikes in check!  It works. 

Want more Jonny? Keep up with his latest adventures @JonnyMoseley on Instagram.