Iconic New Zealand freeskier Jossi Wells made his annual homecoming to Wanaka even sweeter this year by hosting his own big air event, The Jossi Wells Invitational. Held at Jossi’s stomping grounds of Cardrona Resort, the event’s maiden voyage was blanketed by sunny weather, blessed with what many called the best jump they’ve ever hit, and some of the best freeskiers in the world in attendance. And when the contest had come to a close, Monster Energy’s James Woods not only emerged victorious, but he did so in convincing fashion..
“I’m fizzing my brains out mate,” exclaimed Woodsy about the win. “I’m really pumped. I’m in my favorite place to ski at Jossi’s event—-one of my best friends—-with all my other best friends around.”
The format for the big air was best-two-of-five, meaning that each athlete got five attempts, with their best two tricks counting. The caveat being that the two tricks had to be markedly different from one another. Woodsy, who has been coming to New Zealand for years and considers it his home, stamped out all hope of anyone else winning by jump three. With his first attempt he dropped a triple cork 1440, a somewhat stock trick for big air skiers, but upped the ante on runs two and three with switch triple cork 1440s, the latter with an octograb.
“I’ve had my sights set on the switch trip 14 octo for a while now,” James explained. “Obviously a massive thing for me in my skiing is to keep progressing. I’ve always put a lot of weight onto the grabs and positions of my tricks, so rather than just doing the trick I want to do the most outrageous thing I can.”
The first year of the Jossi Wells Invitational seemingly went off without a hitch, but how did the man behind the event feel?
"I’m thrilled how [the event] is going. It’s a perfect sunny day. The jump is running perfectly. All the riders are riding really well. It’s a real huge honor. I feel humbled to hold an event where I grew up. I’ve been up here since I could walk and I wanted to put on a great show for all the people and form the feedback we’re getting, people are really amped so I couldn’t be more happy. I’m really excited for the future of this event." - Jossi Wells
The event also included snowboarding, as well as men’s and women’s divisions. Rounding out the men’s ski podium was Jossi’s brother Jackson Wells in 2nd and X Games competitor Noah Morrison taking 3rd. Mathew Cox won the men’s snowboard division while Margaux Hackett and reigning X Games champ Spencer O’Brien won the women’s ski and snowboard categories, respectively.
A number of platitudes have been said about the greatness of the jump and the weather and this or that. But in the end, Woodsy succinctly summed it up. “This was the very first Jossi Wells Invitational and It couldn’t have gone better and I think everyone else is just as fizzy.”
For more on Jossi Wells, visit his visual story on Instagram.
Monster Energy would like to thank Cardrona Resort, Dragon Alliance, Mons Royale, Skydive Wanaka, Oxbow Adventure and AJ Hackett Bungy.