The Freeskier

Mad­die Jones

Chill Factor - - Chillfactor Recommends - By Reg­gae El­liss Pho­tos by Jake McBride

Mad­die Jones grew up in the re­gional NSW town of Bathurst, the ski­ing seed planted by an­nual fam­ily trips to Per­isher from the age of six. Af­ter leav­ing school, the moun­tains called and Mad­die ended up in­struct­ing in Per­isher. That path led to the ter­rain park and freeski­ing. And now Mad­die is a reg­u­lar stand­out in the Per­isher parks.

CF: How do you see your­self as a skier – what mo­ti­vates you?

MJ: I hon­estly see my­self as a skier who has a long way to go and a lot of room to grow. But also, one who has a lot of fun. I’m for­tu­nate enough to know some in­cred­i­ble peo­ple in the in­dus­try, they all push me and I learn from them ev­ery­day. Shout out to all the homies!

Just ski­ing in gen­eral mo­ti­vates me. Women’s ski­ing in gen­eral mo­ti­vates me. We have a lot of room to grow and a lot to prove, so crews like Di­a­mond An­nies and Lost Girls (look them up!), and other ski girls in gen­eral mo­ti­vate me to push my­self and get out there more.

What about comps and events – is that some­thing you’ve been in­ter­ested in?

This is some­thing I dis­cuss quite of­ten. There is a kind of seg­re­ga­tion in the ski world – comp skiers and ev­ery­one else. Comp ski­ing is where the money is, and un­de­ni­ably it draws some of the big­gest tal­ent we have in the in­dus­try. But I rarely watch com­pe­ti­tion ski­ing. Watch­ing peo­ple ride the same course, two or three times, quite of­ten tak­ing bails, I find that hard to watch. I watch some of our best skiers, push­ing them­selves to the limit, for an ar­bi­trary num­ber given by a judge, and it doesn’t seem like the most re­ward­ing path. Not to me at least.

But give a skier free reign to travel where they want, with who they want, film what they want, how they want – that’s where you see the magic of freeski­ing. Events like B&E In­vi­ta­tional, Cre­ation Na­tion, etc., that’s where you see the pas­sion, the love, the ded­i­ca­tion, the fun, the cre­ativ­ity, the spirit. How can comp ski­ing com­pare with that?

How did you get into ski­ing?

We used to go on fam­ily hol­i­days, the rest of my fam­ily got over it pretty quick, they were never very good at it (laughs), but it al­ways stuck with me. I have friends who can re­call me say­ing very early in high school that that’s what I wanted to do. I even skipped out on some year 12 classes to head down to Per­isher for a ski in­struc­tor re­cruit­ment course.

What path led you into freeski­ing?

I was ac­tu­ally an in­struc­tor for a few years at Per­isher and one sea­son th­ese two English boys moved into the locker room and it went from there. They pushed me into the park and I fell in love. I had be­come pretty sick of in­struct­ing and would have given up ski­ing for good if I hadn’t wan­dered into

the park. So shout out to those two boys, Ai­dan and Brad, they hold a spe­cial place in my heart! Also, side note, Ai­dan just beat cancer and is get­ting his ski legs back, which is in­cred­i­ble.

You’ve just spent an­other win­ter in the US. What did you get up to, where’d you ski?

I’ve been based out of Breck­en­ridge, Colorado, but been lucky enough to travel to Utah and Oregon and ski some other re­sorts. Oregon was a to­tally new ex­pe­ri­ence for me, and it was in­cred­i­ble. One of the most beau­ti­ful places I’ve ever been! I’m lucky enough to have friends spread all over USA, so trips tend to just pop up, which is awe­some.

I hear you’re into shoot­ing and edit­ing videos?

Ha, yeah I’m into it, but that def­i­nitely doesn’t mean I’m any good at it! I made a lit­tle web series last sea­son in Aus­tralia for newschool­ers.com, which did al­right. There are some amaz­ing ed­its and series out there, which is al­ways so in­spir­ing, but def­i­nitely makes me re­alise I have a lot to learn.

How do you sup­port your­self so you can ski?

Dur­ing the Aus­tralian win­ter I work at the Bowl­ing Club in Jind­abyne, which is the ul­ti­mate set up. I’m never work­ing too late, and don’t work days, so I get so much time to ski. I only get a three month visa for Amer­ica so I usu­ally spend Oc­to­ber to Jan­uary work­ing a re­tail job in Syd­ney sav­ing for my trip, and then April to June I’m back at said job pay­ing off my ac­cu­mu­lated debt (laughs). My bank ac­count fluc­tu­ates more than the tide, but it’s def­i­nitely worth it to be able to ski seven-to-eight months of the year! This last year I got picked up by Ar­mada skis, Full Tilt boots, and Son­timer gog­gles. That sup­port has been in­cred­i­ble and made ev­ery­thing so much eas­ier.

What con­sti­tutes a per­fect day on the hill for you?

Sun­shine, a good park, a good crew, and a back­pack with some beers. Bliss.

“Give a skier free reign to travel where

they want, with who they want, film what they want, how they want – that’s where you see the magic of freeski­ing.”

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