We recently caught up with Australian Pro Skier, Bailey Johnson about what inspires him to get outside into the Elements..
Let’s start at the beginning, where did you grow up, and where are you based now?
I grew up in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, currently I am based in Jindabyne, NSW which is a small town located at the bottom of Thredbo and Perisher ski resorts.
When did you first start Skiing?
I first started skiing when I was 3 years old at Mt Hotham, Victoria. My Dad used to be a ski Instructor so I was never in ski school, he just dragged me round with him until eventually I could ski on my own. Me and my family would drive 5 hours to and from the snow every weekend during winter.
When did you realise you could make career out of Skiing?
When I started winning competitions at my local mountain, at about 12-13 years old. Although the prize money wasn’t much, I realised that I was pretty decent for a kid my age and that maybe I could be like the pro’s I watched competing in the X-games.
We saw you are training for your first world cup events, tell us about the preparation that goes into planning for this type of competition against the world best?
Trying to ski as much as possible, and push myself to learn new tricks and improve my skiing. However, being a skier from Australia has its challenges as we are not blessed with glaciers and long ski seasons like other countries are. So, trying to stay as fit as possible and find different ways to improve such as acrobatic work on trampolines.
What are some of your favourite books and podcasts that have inspired you along with way?
A great podcast that I have been listening to recently is “Ascension with Simon Dumont”. It consists of Interviews with pro action sports athletes and gives a good insight into what it takes to be successful not just in sport but in life.
One of my Favourite books is a memoir by the co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight called ‘shoe dog’. It details how Phil Knight went from selling shoes out of the back of his car to running one of the biggest companies on the face of the earth. It shows the power of having complete faith in your vision, and never doubting yourself.
Park or Powder?
It’s great to have a mix of both, when you have been skiing hard in the park for weeks straight it’s so nice when it finally dumps and you can go ski some pow. But if I had to choose, I would probably take a perfect day in the park.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Favourite album at the moment would have to be ‘The unseen’ by Quasimoto. I also listen to heaps of Kanye and Skepta as well.
Freestyle skiing is extremely hard on your body, have you had many injuries?
I have definitely had my fare share haha. Most notable ones would have to be a dislocated hip when I was 14, and a torn ACL when I was 17.
Favourite tricks right now?
Double cork 12 tail grab would have to be my favourite at the moment
Part of our mission at PYRA is to inspire people to reconnect with outdoors, especially those living the city life. How do you feel when you’re in a concrete jungle in comparison to up in the mountains?
Growing up in the city, and only being able to ski on the weekends made me realise pretty quickly that all I wanted to do was be in the mountains. While my friends socialized and went out on the weekends, I skied from first chair to last Saturday and Sunday and would spend the next 5 days waiting till I could do it all over again. Although I enjoy being back in Melbourne from time to time, I find myself counting down the days till I’m off to the mountains again.
You have been lucky enough to travel and Ski the world, where has been your favourite spot?
My favourite spot would probably be LAAX ski resort in Switzerland. The Swiss Alps are world renowned, and for a good reason.
What do you miss most when you’re away from home?
The usual stuff, Family and friends, social events. But I know it will all still be there when I get home, and I just try focus on how lucky I am to be able to spend so much time in the mountains.
How important is networking and building a following in your industry?
It’s very important. Without sponsors there is no way I could do what I do. I personally find it hard to promote myself super hard on social media, but It is something that I need to work on. The ski industry, especially in Australia is very hard to get paid sponsors, so I find myself working full time in-between ski seasons.
Professional freestyle skiing seems like a competitive space. How do you prep your mind and body when it comes to preparing for a heat?
Drink lots of water, eat good food, stretch, and make sure I do a good warm up at the start of the day. On the day of competition I just try to stay relaxed, and focus on what I need to do to get to the bottom of the course and get a good score.
Describe your Skiing style in 3 words…
Confident, technical, relaxed.
I have heard arguments that skiing and snowboarding has lost its style with the evolution of spin to win with Triples and quads cork spins, what’s your thoughts on this?
I think its natural for people to want to do bigger tricks, otherwise it would become boring very quickly with everyone doing the same tricks. As long as people keep being creative and trying to do tricks in their own unique way then I think our sport is moving in the right direction.
What does the next 5 years look like for you?
The next winter Olympics is in 2022, so the next couple of years will be preparing and trying to qualify for that. I am also studying Business at university, so I would like to finish that degree over the coming years. Hopefully I will still be skiing competitively and travelling the world in 5 years time.
What’s your day-to-day look when you’re not up the mountain?
Days off the mountain I like to have a bit of a sleep in, ill usually cook up a nice breakfast and do some uni work in the morning. I love to skate as well so ill usually head down to the skatepark with some friends, and end the day off with a gym session.
What styles from Season 2 do you have on rotation of late?
I’m loving the zip hooded jacket and the Black 3M Balaclava, they go together perfectly for an all-black kit on.
What’s one activity on your bucket list?
Heli-skiing is something I’m really eager to do, its one thing in skiing that really appeals to me that I haven’t been able to do yet.
Lastly finish this sentence: I like getting back outdoors into the elements because….?
It’s where I feel most like myself.