New Zealand ski star: Jossi Wells

Classed as the world's best freeskier, New Zealander Jossi Wells has jumped off more mountains and stood on more podiums than most other sportsmen of his age.

Born in Wanaka, in the heart of New Zealand’s premium snow sports territory in the Southern Alps, Jossi Wells has never been far from the ski slopes.

At the age of two, when most kids can barely climb a tree, little Jossi was already learning how to ski. He first came to notice at the age of nine, rising to become the toast of the international freeskiing fraternity.

Renowned for versatility, Wells excells in slopestyle, halfpipe and big air disciplines, and shares his world-class expertise with younger brother Byron, also rated among the world’s top freeskiers.

World Heli Challenge

Jossi Wells first showed his exceptional skills when - at the tender age of nine - he was dropped off the top of a mountain by helicopter, skied back to the bottom, and wowed the judges at the New Zealand Rip Curl Heli Challenge.

By age 16, Jossi’s early dedication had won the 2006 NZ Snow Sports Person of the Year, a great achievement considering that there were Olympians in the running.

By 2007, Wells was competing internationally and was the youngest skier at the 2008 Winter X-Games in Aspen, Colorado - and the first New Zealander to win silver at the games. As well as podiums for nearly all the major events at the X-Games, the young Kiwi also won the European Open Superpipe against the strongest field ever registered.

Jossi Wells was named New Zealand Athlete of the Year in 2008, and again in 2010.

Wanaka ski ace

By the age of 19, the young ski ace from Wanaka was winning almost every event he entered, notching up half-pipe, slope-style and open titles.

In February 2010, Wells claimed freeskiing’s most coveted trophy, the Dew Cup, during the final of the Dew Tour in Vermont - the best freeskier in the world.

In 2013 Jossi was named Snow Sports NZ Freeskier Athlete of the Year. He has claimed podium spots in major competitions in every year since, including bronze in Big Air at the 2012 X Games in Aspen and a silver medal in slopestyle at the 2013 X Games in Tignes.

Wells represented New Zealand at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi where he placed 4th in Halfpipe. He went on to take out third place in slopestyle at the 2014 AFP World Champs and was named 2014 Snow Sports NZ Freeski Athlete of the Year.

Best in the World

Jossi Wells is one of four brothers who were coached by their father Bruce. His parents have said that from his childhood, his long term goal had always been to be the best in the world.

While many of the world's best freeskiers specialise in one of the three disciplines, critics say Wells’ overall skiing ability shines through and his versatility gives him a major advantage.

Wells’ impressive career has not been without some uphill battles. Along with knee issues, he has been hampered by injuries suffered in action including a broken ankle that took him out of the entire 2010 southern hemisphere season.

In September 2014 Jossi sustained a broken neck whilst training but was back on the slopes five months later at the X Games 2015. By February 2015 he had earned a fourth place in Big Air at Air+Style event, then took out first place in slopestyle at the European Open in March 2015.

Jossi Wells has a large following on social networks with more than 36k likes on his Facebook page  and 19.6k followers on twitter [May 2015].

Wells spends most of the year training and competing in the northern hemisphere. When he’s in New Zealand, he can be found skiing at Cardrona Alpine Resort, skateboarding, riding motorcycles, taking photos and playing music. He is married to Hannah.

In the words of his mother Stacey, Jossi Wells "is living the dream".