James Woods | Photo Credit: Tommy Pyatt

14 March 2017

BSS catch up with GB Park and Pipe's James 'Woodsy' Woods

It was a fantastic week for GB Park and Pipe’s James ‘Woodsy’ Woods last week as he added an X Games Bronze medal to his collection. He finished in third place at the X Games in Norway in the slopestyle competition. This, together with his Big Air Gold that he won at Aspen X Games, and his Silver at the Quebec City Slopestyle World Cup earlier this year, has made for a very successful season so far for the 25-year-old skier from Sheffield, who started out on dry slopes!

We caught up with Woodsy when he popped into the office during his fleeting visit back to the UK last month:

 

Congratulations on your X Games Gold medal! Can you talk us through your victory in Aspen?

X Games has always been at the forefront for me, the pinnacle of what we do in the action sport side of things - it’s huge! It’s been what I’ve been gunning for since I’ve been a little kid. I’ve never done Big Air before at X Games, because I openly said before that I wasn’t prepared enough to do it - I wanted to focus on slopestyle and give my best effort for that. It’s such an insane week if you’re doing more than one event. This year I dropped an email and was like I feel like I’m ready to do the Big Air now - with no expectation of being let in, but they did! It’s a great comp – I love competing, I love skiing under the lights, big crowds – it was all good fun.

What did you win?!

I won a guitar, which I sent home to Sheff (ield), back home to mum and dad, and loads of crazy stuff. I’ve won a bunch of guitars now – that’s the 3rd guitar that I’ve won as a trophy.

Do you play guitar?

No, I play ukulele though.

What’s been the best thing you’ve won?

Lots of money, really. I nearly won a car – I was devastated, I missed it by half a point, that sucked!

                                           Aspen X Games                                                                                      Lillehammer X Games

 

You’ve just been out in Quebec for the Slopestyle World Cup – you must be stoked on your podium out there. What were the conditions/set-up like?

Conditions were good – a little bit of flat light and it did start snowing, but it wasn’t bad. It was a good course, no surprises. On the course, it really came down to you and what you were going to do, versus survival. It was all down to you to be creative and to make the course sing - rather than survive down it and hopefully get some tricks under your belt.

Quebec Slopestyle World Cup | Photo by Sam Mellish

 

When you were in the UK for your Only Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour, what was the reaction/reception like from the local riders you met on the way?

It was awesome! Everyone was so nice. A whole bunch of the young kids came out to see us - it was just really wicked to see them, see where they’re at and see that they’re so motivated to ski and snowboard. It was great to also see some of the kids that I skied with as gromies as full grown adults - that was strange!  It really was quite special. What I’ve been saying about the tour, is that it was very much a two-way window. It was bringing the big dogs back to the UK, showing them where I skied and for those guys to appreciate where I came from. Then showing all the kids the big dogs and for them to be stoked about it. I think that the feeling was very much mutual. These guys were fired up, those guys were fired up – it made for a good trip.

Woodsy meeting Delancey Ones to Watch and Pathway athlete Kirsty Muir (right) on his UK tour | Photo by Brian Moore

 

How did you fund your skiing when you were starting out?

I ran away and slept in a lot of train and bus stations. I was lucky enough to get skis from Salomon since I was a grommer. I ran around with those – got stuck in a lot of places, learned a lot of lessons. Shared a caravan with 5 friends to keep accommodation costs down.

 

BSS set up the British Snowsports Fund at the beginning of this season. This initiative asks the UK’s recreational skiers and snowboarders to make a small donation to the country’s future Olympians when they make a purchase from one of our confirmed industry partners, e.g. Crystal and Ellis Brigham.

How important do you think it is to have funding support for younger developing athletes?

 

I think any support is fantastic and it’s amazing for getting people out there and helping. I also feel that support from those around you is vital – it’s great to see kids with the confidence that they’re chasing their dream and that they’re supported through that, that’s the big win.

 

Woodsy is now in Sierra Nevada, Spain with the rest of the GB Park and Pipe team for the World Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championships. He’ll next be competing in Slopestyle qualification on Friday 17th March, with finals on Sunday 19th March.

Action from the Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships can be seen on the BBC red button and website, as well as on Eurosport.

 

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