James Woods: 25 years of skiing

The same season that Fall-Line was born, so was Britain’s first truly world-beating skier. James Woods looks back on his journey from Sheffield dryslope to multiple FIS World Cup winner and X-Games medallist

I really couldn’t tell you a most memorable moment or accomplishment that stands out. There’s so much, and I’m just incredibly proud to have achieved all my dreams. I have to pinch myself that all the hard work has paid off, and that I’m living this life, having come from a non-skiing background in Sheffield.

I remember seeing videos of the X-Games, and thinking: this is what I want to do! And that feeling has never stopped. But it’s such a long way away, when you’re in that environment (miles from a traditional ski resort).

The Sheffield boy’s done good… | Monster Energy

The Sheffield boy’s done good… | Monster Energy

Sheffield Ski Village was a huge help, which opened in 1988, and was in its prime by the mid-’90s with eight slopes, including a halfpipe and moguls course. It was the UK’s premier slope, with lots of records: biggest, first Dendix,
first Snowflex… And you could see it from the city, as it’s on a hillside, so it was exciting and inspiring.

Just as importantly, all the people involved there were really nice, and it was as much a social scene as a skiing one. That was a second family right there, and that’s why Sheffield has so many really strong skiers (with the city also producing Paddy Graham and Katie Summerhayes). It was a wonderful city and crew, and I just loved being involved in it.

The past 20 years have been insane, and it’s incredible the talent now within freeskiing – and the huge potential. There’s no one trick or progression I’d pick out as a highlight or game-changer; for me or the sport. But there is a diversity now in courses and judging, and that is another way of keeping things fresh and creative. This must not change. We must hang onto our individuality.

I’ve loved being a skier – it’s my life and my passion. In another 25 years I hope to be a rad dad skiing at 50 with my family.

James Woods was speaking on his Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen UK Tour, supported by Monster Energy

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