Olympic Skier James 'Woodsy' Woods | Adventure-gram
The social side of skiing on top of the world
Main photograph by Tommy Pyatt/GB Park and Pipe,
British Olympic skier James ‘Woodsy’ Woods is the most successful ever freestyle planksman this island has ever produced. His creaking trophy cabinet contains medals - many of them gold - from the very pinnacle of world’s freestyle skiing competitions, from FIS World Cups to X-Games, and many more in between.
He currently sits fourth in the FIS world rankings for Ski Slopestyle, and represents one of Great Britain’s best medal chances at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.In virtually any other sport, a man of his standing would be a pampered primadona, hermetically sealed from the rest of the world, save for the occasional photo of him draped over a sports car. But not Woodsy.
Take a look through his Instagram, and it quickly becomes clear he’s just a normal 20-something who’s found himself doing that he loves. In fact, scrolling through Woodsy’s photos isn’t too different to scrolling through those of any young bloke that’s found themselves in love with action sports - assuming you overlook the occasional X Games invite and the fact he looks a touch more chiseled when skydiving in his pants than your pizza-loving pals.
"In most sports, a man of his standing would be a pampered primadona, but not Woodsy"
It’s not uncommon for British snowsports athletes to find their way to the slopes in unusual circumstances, owing to the fact that opportunities to ski mountains in the UK are limited to say the least. For Woodsy, there was no natural link to skiing.
None of his family or friends had an interest in the sport. It just so happened that Sheffield Ski Village - now destroyed by a fire - was just up the road from the skatepark he used to ride at. Of course, he’s come a long way since those first snowplough turns on the dendix ‘carpet of death’ in Sheffield.
When he’s not posting photos of snowy ski resorts around the globe, Woodsy’s out skating, surfing, riding trails on his bike, and generally smiling his way through life. In fact, it’s almost unremarkable, if it wasn’t for the fact that he is so remarkable. The lank-haired Sheffield lad is fourth best in the world, and when he stands at the top of the Olympic Slopestyle course in Pyeongchang later this month, he’s no more than five runs away from glory.
Four years ago in Sochi, he narrowly missed out on adding an Olympic medal to his collection, finishing agonisingly close to the podium in 5th place. It’s remains the best place finish a British skiers has achieved at the Olympics since Gina Hathorn took 4th in Slalom at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.
Of course, Woodsy will be looking to improve on his Sochi finish by at least a couple of places on Sunday 18th February when the gongs are handed out for Olympic Ski Slopestyle. But whatever happens in Pyeongchong, don’t expect it to change Woodsy.